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In my root folder on my school account I have a bunch of files and folders, e.g.,

$ ls
foobar.txt    Private    Public    www

By default, all the files in Public/ and www/ are viewable on the web via myschool.edu/myusername/Public and myschool.edu/myusername/www. But how do I make foobar.html viewable? I want myschool.edu/myusername/foobar.txt to return the actual contents of foobar.txt, instead of a 403 error.

I tried setting permissions on foobar.txt (chmod 755 foobar.txt, and I even tried chmod 777 foobar.txt, so that the current permissions are -rwxrwxrwx), but I still get a 403 error.

If it matters, it looks like my school uses Apache/1.3.41 Server.

Reason I'm asking

I have no idea how, but I had a "stuff" folder in my home directory, and Google somehow managed to index and crawl its contents. So "myschool.edu/myusername/stuff/grr.html" now appears in Google's search results and cache, even though I still get a 403 error if I try to access the file myself.

So I want to verify ownership of my root folder on Google's webmaster tools, so that I can request removal. But to verify ownership of my root folder, I need to put a verification file "googlef197bd7510bd452a.html" in my root folder that doesn't return a 403 error.

[I've already deleted the damn folder, but I want to speed up Google's removal process.]

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Why not copying the file to the Public folder? If you are not sure about ownership and permissions, you can look at the other files in Public folder. –  Khaled Dec 3 '10 at 7:01

1 Answer 1

up vote 0 down vote accepted

I think you'll have to bring this to the attention of you school's Sysadmin. The reason what you're attempting doesn't work, is that the Apache configuration has lines in it that dicatate that (for instance): Any folder found matching /home/*/Public, should be made available as /username/Public. Those rules tend to match speific folder names inside each home directory (In your case, Public and www)

Files that don't match that pettern will never be visible, which is usually a good thing as you don't want the private contents of you home directory shared with the world. Only the admin can change those rules.

I've never tried Google's removal procedure, though. Do they insist that the file has to be in the root of the website? ( myschool.edU/googlef197bd7510bd452a.html ) or can you specify where they should look for the file? If it's the former, then it looks as though they're trying to check ownership of the domain rather than your area of it. If that's the case, then you're probably stuck.

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I believe the file just has to be in a "higher-up" directory. For example, if I want to use Google to control myschool.edu/myusername/myfolder, I just need to place the file in myschool.edu/myusername, not necessarily myschool.edu –  grautur Dec 4 '10 at 18:44

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