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04-29-2003, 04:32 PM
When I got a free Web account from my ISP, my address ends with /~my_name, do anyone know why do I need that ~?

I signed up for a free host from a site, but this time, my_name for the address is in front of the URL. eg, my_name.freehost.com

I understand my_name at the end of URL means the server give an individual user a folder (eg, folder called my_name), but how does my_name at the front of the address works?

Thank you so much,


04-29-2003, 05:30 PM
The ~ means that it is a sub site, its a practice that isn't used too much now.

Having your name in front of the domain name is called a host header. You still have a directory on the server, and the host header just points there.

Some hosts do it that way others put it as a directory, it is just how they decided to set up their system.

04-30-2003, 05:22 PM
I think that's an old Unix convention. The ~ is meant to indicate a username and it gets treated as a virtual directory. In other words, there is no physical ~username directory under the web site root. Instead, the server maps it to a directory within the user's personal space.

You still often see it on sites for universities and schools. Presumably, since you have a large number of student accounts that constantly come and go, it's easier to maintain. You don't have to create and delete directories within the web site for each user, just set up an account and let the web server do the mapping.