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With your account comes the ability to set up a personal website, subject, of course, to the department's acceptable-use policy. This page collects some useful information for getting started.

Directories and Permissions

Web content is served from a directory called public_html, which must be located at the top level of your home directory.

The web server is only allowed to show files and directories that you create within the public_html directory, but you also need to set the permissions correctly on several directories before the web server can show others your content.

You need to set permissions as shown in the following table:

Directories in public_html755drwxr-xr-x
Files in public_html644-rw-r--r--

We have a Unix permissions tutorial that will show you how to set permissions from the command-line in Linux or Mac OS X.

Web Content

Web pages are created using HTML—the HyperText Markup Language—which uses tags to specify how particular pieces of text should be treated. HTML is a lot like LaTeX.

The World Wide Web Consortium is the group that sets standards for Web content. They have information about creating HTML and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) by hand, but you may prefer to use some tool (such as iWeb, KompoZer, or nvu (available on our Linux machines) to do the hard work. Many word processors, including Word, Pages, and even TextEdit, can create HTML from styled text.


We support the jsMath system for embedding mathematics in web pages. Instead of having to generate images, code MathML by hand, or approximate what you want, you can add a single line of code to the header of your file (inside the <head>...</head> tags) and then use LaTeX-style math in your page.

There are two options for embedding math. The first uses

$ ... $

for inline math, and

\[ ... \]

for display math environments, just as you would in a LaTeX file. Because it uses the dollar sign as an indicator, you can't use unescaped dollar signs to indicate prices. The second lets you use dollar signs for currency, but requires you to use

\( ... \)

for inline math. If you're using the dollar-sign variant, you can still use the parenthetical form for inline math.

Code for Header

For the dollar-sign inline math variant, add the following line between the <head> and </head> tags:

<script type="text/javascript"

Otherwise, use

<script type="text/javascript"

Some jsMath Examples

The Pythagorean theorem, $ a^{2} + b^{2} = c^{2} $ is well known. We can also talk about $x$, $y$, and $z$, or see some displayed examples, such as

\[ \int_{-\infty}^{\infty} e^{-x^{2}} \, dx = \sqrt{\pi} \]


\[ \frac{z^{d}–z_{0}^{d}} {z–z_{0}} = \sum_{k = 1}^{d} z_{0}^{k–1} z^{d–k} \qquad (T^{n})'(x_{0}) = \prod_{k = 0}^{n–1} T'(x_{k}). \]