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Creating HTML Home Pages for WWW

This document is intended only for the Berkeley Astronomy Department

With the rise of the Internet came the great rise in creating personal home pages. This memo outlines the steps necessary to do this, and also specifies some guidelines for form.

Guidelines for Department Home Pages

Because these home pages will be part of the department's public representation, and because our computers and disks were essentially paid for with public funds, the Powers That Be ask that you not include the following in your home page: advertisements or solicitations for funds, political statements, and generally speaking, information which isn't relevant to astronomy. We also ask that any links you make be limited to similarly relevant documents. The basic idea is that we are setting up these home pages in order to make certain portions of our work freely available to the community.

How to Create a Home Page

1. In your login directory create a sub-directory named public_html. In this directory, create a home page called index.html.  If you already have a home page with another name, make a link to index.html, e.g.:

 ln -s home.html index.html

Now the outside world will be able to access your index.html as:

or equivalently:

2. Notify central@astro that you are creating a home page. We will add a link from the departmental directory to your home page.

Editing Your Home Page

You can begin from scratch or by using one of the many popular HTML editors out there, such as NVu/Kompozer or Netscape/SeaMonkey Composer. Vast amounts of documentation on the HTML language used for writing web pages can be found online. Try searching at Google, or else just pick up one of the omnipresent HTML books at pretty much any bookstore.

Lastly, you can learn quickly by looking at the source code for other html documents. You can do this in netscape by choosing Tools > Web Developer > Page Source from the Firefox menu while viewing any document. To view the page source in Safari, select View > View Source.

Style Suggestions

  1. Under your html sub-directory, create further sub-directories for papers, images, etc. You can then either put copies of papers or images in these directories, or more efficiently, create symbolic links to these files. For example, if you had a paper ~yourname/, you could make a link as follows:
ln -s ~yourname/ ~yourname/public_html/papers/ 
  1. Remember that some readers will have very slow connections, so try to minimize the number and size of included images. Consider only using links--or small thumbnail images that link--to images, so that readers can choose whether to spend the time waiting for something to load. When you do use links, include a remark as to the size and file format of the image.
  2. Make certain that your papers and images are world-readable.
  3. Check that links which you make to documents outside the department do not duplicate links already in the department's home page. If you discover some document or WWW service of general interest, ask the web team to include it in the department's home page.


The department web server supports PHP hypertext preprocessing.  See for more information.  You may also wish to include Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to customize page fonts and layouts.

Questions which are more system-specific should go to the so-called pros

$LastChangedDate:: 2012-04-16#$

To suggest changes, additions, clarifications in this documentation, contact Central Services: central@astro.