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Web Site File Guidelines and Directory Structure

Revised: June 20, 2016



This document provides file name guidelines, details what index pages are configured on the web server, and describes the default directories provided within all kinetic service web sites.

Important: Your web site is hosted on a UNIX server where the / character is used to separate directory and file names. That notation is typically used in FTP clients to show directory paths and is used within this document for the same purpose.

File Name Guidelines

Web publishers should follow these guidelines for naming files:

  • Watch for mixed-case names. Pay close attention to the capitalization of file names. A file named HelloWorld.htm is considered a different file from one named helloworld.htm. This is most important in <img> and <a> HTML tags that reference file names within their attributes. An incorrect file name in an <a> tag results in a "404- File Not Found" an incorrect file name in an <img> tag results in a missing graphic when the page is viewed. Many publishers find it easier to use all lower-case names and use the - (dash) and _ (underscore) characters to emphasize words within the names.
  • Avoid special characters. Avoid using spaces and special characters in file names. Instead, use the - (dash) and _ (underscore) in place of special characters. Special characters to avoid include:

    ! # $ % ^ & * | ( [ { ) ] } ? : ; < > ` (grave accent) ' (single-quote) " (double-quote) and ~ (tilde)

    Note: The / character cannot be used in a file name since this special character is used to separate directory and file names on UNIX servers.

  • Use .shtml or .shtm extensions for files with Server Side Includes (SSI). If you use SSI in your web site files, name them with an .shtml or .shtm file name extension so that the web server knows it should process the files for SSI instructions. Files without these extensions are not processed for SSI. For more information about SSI, see Apache Web Server Resources.

Default Index Pages

The default index page is the web page that is automatically delivered to a browser if a web page isn't specified in the URL. For example, when a viewer visits in a browser, a web page is not specified and the web server delivers the default index page. For a default index page to be displayed, the directory referenced in the URL must contain a file with one of the following names:

  1. index.html
  2. index.htm
  3. index.shtml
  4. index.shtm
  5. index.php
  6. index.cgi

Note: The web server is configured to use the precedence shown above if a directory contains more than one of these files. For example, if index.htm and index.shtm files both exist in the same directory, the index.htm will be delivered as the default index page.

If a file with one of the defined default index page names is not available in a directory, the web server will deliver an index listing. An index listing begins with "Index of /some-dir" (where some-dir is the name of the directory being listed) and then lists the file names, modification dates, and sizes of the files in the directory. Although this can be useful to present an FTP-style listing of files for download, it is often not what was intended. Create a web page with one of the names listed above to correct this.

If you do not want an index listing displayed by default, this behavior can be changed. You can use either a htaccess file, or request that MOREnet change this default setting for your web site.

Default Directories Within All Web Sites

The following subdirectories exist within the directory on the server for your kinetic service web site:

  • /logs
  • /data
  • /data/php_uploads
  • /data/php_sessions
  • /reports
  • /www


The /logs directory contains your web server logs. Your web site's HTTP requests for the week are logged and saved in the /logs/access_log.xx text files. The errors for the week are saved in the /logs/error_log.xx text files. The xx is a numerical file name extension to indicate the week of the year. For example, the log file for the first week of the year is named access_log.00, and the first error log is named error_log.00. The current week's logs are stored in the file with the largest numerical file name extension.

The logs are rotated once each week at 00:00 on Monday. Since the log files can take up considerable space on the server, weekly access and error logs are compressed using bzip2 once they are older than 5 weeks and these files have the extension bz2, such as access_log.01.bz2. Five weeks of logs are left uncompressed so that the software MOREnet uses to generate your Web Statistics reports does not have to uncompress the log files. Note that log files are only kept for one year.

Important: If you would like to use your own log analyzer, you can use FTP to download the log files. The files in the /logs directory cannot be modified.


The /data directory contains application data files generated by PHP or Perl applications running within the Application Server. These files are used by, but not a web-browser visible part of, your web site. This is a good place to put MySQL connection-string data so that your applications can use it, but web site visitors cannot see it.

The /data/php_uploads and /data/php_sessions directories contain application upload and session data files (respectively) generated by PHP applications running on the web site. These files are usable by any PHP applications you may have installed, but are not visible to a visitor with their web browser.


The /reports directory contains reports about your domain. This directory is mapped to the http://[your-domain]/ar/ URL so you can view the reports from the Web. Note that the files in the /reports directory cannot be modified. See Reports for more information.


The /www directory is the root directory for web site content. "Document root" is another common term for the root directory of web site content. Web publishers use FTP to save content to this directory and its subdirectories for viewing from the Web.

In addition to typical HTML content, you can place a file named robots.txt in this directory to control how web robots (such as search engines, HTML validators, etc.) index the content of your site. This file is used to request search engines honor certain spidering restrictions on your web site.