How to use your personal webspace

Your sphinx shell account includes personal webspace, which you can use even if you do not have your own domain hosted with us. The address for this space is:


You can put files into your webspace by placing them in a sub-directory called public_html. To create this directory, log in to your shell account and type:

mkdir public_html

You will also need to adjust the permissions so that the web server can read files in this directory:

cd ~
chmod a+x .
chmod a+x public_html

You can then put your HTML files in this directory.

Uploading files

You will probably want to develop and test your pages on your own computer before uploading them to the web server. The prefered way to upload files is using Secure Copy (SCP). SCP is part of SSH, but not all SSH clients support file transfer. As a result, we also allow FTP access, but this is discouraged as it requires your password to be sent unencrypted over the network.


If you have OpenSSH or SSH on a Unix-like platform you can upload files by typing:

scp -C * username@sphinx.mythic-beasts.com:public_html/

PSCP is a Secure Copy program for Windows, available from the PuTTY home page. You can upload files by typing:

pscp *.htm username@sphinx.mythic-beasts.com:public_html/

pscp.exe must be in the current directory, or in the path.

A graphical front-end for pscp is also available. Secure iXplorer is available for download from here. This gives a Windows Explorer-style interface, and allows you to upload files by dragging and dropping. Another graphical SCP program which has been recommended to us is WinSCP.


There are countless "pretty" FTP programs available for various platforms, as well as command line FTP clients. Take your pick from your favorite freeware/shareware archive. The FTP host is:


You should log in using your shell account username and password.

CGI scripts

Your shell account gives you full CGI access. We use Apache's suExec extension, which means that your CGI scripts will be run under your user ID, rather than the user ID of the web server. Whilst this improves security in some respects, the use of CGI still has serious security implications. If you are unsure of what you are doing, then email us and we will be happy to advise you. We reserve the right to inspect any scripts or programs in your CGI directory.

To use CGI scripts, create a sub-directory called cgi-bin inside your public_html directory. All files in this directory will be treated as executable CGI programs.

Apache's suExec is very picky about the permissions of CGI files. If you are having trouble you should check the following points:

  • The script must be readble and executable by all.
  • The script must not be writable by anyone but the user. Suitable permissions are 0755, or -rwxr-xr-x.
  • The script must be owned by your user and group
  • The directory containing the script must be readble and executable by all, but not writable by anyone but the user. Permissions 0755 (drwxr-xr-x) are suitable
  • The directory containing the script must be owned by your user and group.

If you are still having trouble, please email us