Personal Web Pages

There are three methods by which Sociology affiliates may establish a personal web presence at Duke.


Scholars@Duke (aka Scholars) is a web-based content management system (CMS) designed to receive information on research, publication, teaching, award recognition and service activities. Scholars is also a web application platform that reports this information in a variety of formats such as annual reports, biographical sketches, curriculum vitae and boilerplate web pages. Scholars interacts with other university systems, allowing it pull in course listings, teaching schedules and sponsored research activity.

Scholars is used by the Sociology faculty to web publish professional biographical sketches of their research interests and recent publications. Graduate students and staff are also included in Scholars and may use its capabilities for similar purposes.

Consultation on use of Scholars is provided by Jesse Riggan.

Sociology Web Space

For those wishing a more personalized web presence, the departmental Linux account is available for this purpose. Personal web pages developed under this account are linked at the URL:

where username is your Linux id and the leading ~ (tilde) is a shorthand denoting a personal web page.

The contents of a personal web page are stored in the subdirectory public_html, which is found under the home directory of each Linux account. It is customary to place a file named index.html or index.htm to index the contents of your page.

There are many tools for web page development. Dreamweaver and other relevant tools are available in Adobe Creative Cloud suite.

Departmental web space is intended for professional use to inform others of your interests and work. Content should be in accordance with the department's Acceptable Use Policy. Advanced graduate students find a personal web site a helpful job placement tool.

Duke Web Space

Your Duke NetID provides another option for a personal web page. A web page developed under this account is linked at the URL:

where NetID is your NetID.

The contents of a NetID-based web page are stored under the subdirectory public_html. You must provide an index.html or index.htm frontpage for a browser to open the page.

OIT provides details on developing self publishing websites with WordPress or Confluence.

How Do I Password Protect All or Part of My Personal Web Site?

You may limit access to all or part of your web site by setting up password access. This requires creation of two files named .htaccess and .htpasswd. These files, named with leading dots that cause them to be hidden, are a means for you to provide server access directives for your content. They must be world-readable (i.e.; have Linux permissions of 644) and be located in the directory you are restricting. To protect your entire site, place them in the public_html directory. To protect a subset of material, create a subdirectory containing the private content and place the .htaccess and .htpasswd files in this subdirectory. The subdirectory and all subdirectories beneath it are protected.

Here is a Sociology web space example to clarify the specifics.

  1. Create a subdirectory called restricted under public_html for the user bart. Into that directory place the following .htaccess file:

    AuthUserFile /home/utopia/bart/public_html/restricted/.htpasswd
    AuthGroupFile /dev/null
    AuthName "Private files for Bart Simpson"
    AuthType Basic
    <Limit GET POST>
    require user private

    You would replace bart with your Linux id and restricted with the name of the directory you created. The AuthName string is arbitrary and for display purposes, so can be anything you want it to be. The private specification, associated with require user, is an ID of your choosing that must be entered at the password prompt.

  2. Generate content for the .htpasswd file. There are numerous web sites available for generating this information. The 4WebHelp site has a good tool. For example, go to this site and enter private in the Name field and then the desired password in the Password and Password Again fields. The password used for this example produces the following string, where the portion to right of the colon is the encrypted password:

  3. Open the file .htpasswd for editing in the directory being restricted, paste the above string into the file and save it. This file must also be world readable.

  4. First access of the URL with a browser now prompts for the ID and password in a popup window.

Give the access information to those with whom you wish to share material. Omit links to this material in index.html, if you want to further obsure availability. Distribute the links by other means, such as email. Password protection is a good method of narrowing your audience, but is not a robust way of protecting anything that is highly confidential or sensitive. It does not encrypt network traffic or the files themselves and you do not have control over whom the access information might be given.

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