Redirecting a webpage

There is a very simple method of redirecting webpages in html. In the <head> element you simply need to add the <meta> tag <meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="0; URL=http://www.somedomain.com/page_to_redirect_to"> to the contents of your html between your <head></head> tags. Lets look at the tag in more detail, http-equiv="Refresh" tells the web browser to refresh the webpage with the following variables content="0; URL=http://www.somedomain.com/page_to_redirect_to". There are two variables in content seperated by a semi-colon. The first, in this case 0, tells the browser how long to wait in seconds before reloading the webpage. The second, in this case URL=http://www.somedomain.com/page_to_redirect_to, gives the browser the url to redirect too. So for the above we have told the browser to load the page http://www.somedomain.com/page_to_redirect_to immediately. If we had set the first variable to 60 then the browser would wait 60 seconds before loading http://www.somedomain.com/page_to_redirect_to.

So say you want to redirect your main website at http://www.mtheory.co.uk/name straight to your blog then you would replace the code in your index.html file in your Website folder with the following:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
<html>
	<head>
	<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="0; URL=http://www.mtheory.co.uk/name/wordpress/">
        <title>My Blog</title>
	</head>
	<body>
	<!--<p>This page should automatically redirect you to
       <a href="http://www.mtheory.co.uk/name/wordpress/">
       http://www.mtheory.co.uk/name/wordpress/</a></p>-->
	</body>
</html>

You should replace the name parts of the urls with your name which is the part before the @mtheory.co.uk in your email address. The paragraph in the <body> has been commented out with <!-- -->. You may want to remove the comments so that the browser displays a link that people can click on if for some reason their browser fails to redirect them. You may also wish to change the title from My Blog to anything else you wish.

Wikis and more

Wikis

A wiki is a web page or set of web pages that can be edited by the users rapidly and collaboratively. Wikipedia is probably the most famous of all wikis and their underlying engine is called MediaWiki. It’s open source and available for install on mtheory.

Wiki’s allow easy edits to webpages and enable many people to collaborate, however they are a prime target for spammers and unless you expect a largish number of people to contribute we would suggest you avoid a wiki. Either that or you need to lock it down quite a bit to eliminate the spamming problem. This somewhat negates some of the benefits of a wiki. The support pages on the old mtheory site were based around media wiki and suffered from large numbers of unwanted edits never mind the creation of hundreds of unwanted pages by spammers. In saying that, if you are willing to monitor and have multiple contributors you can make it work.

More

In general most web based things can be installed and made to run under mtheory. SQL databases can be readily generated and custom frameworks and platforms can be installed if required and you have a genuine need. If you’re looking to do something unusual just ask.

Web logs and web analytics

Web logs are logs from your website turned into useful statistics. More commonly people use web analytics these days which provide more detailed information on who is actually visiting your site. Traditionally people used web logs which are derived from the server logs (in most cases Apache) and converted into graphs by programs like Analog. However in 2005 Google launched Google Analytics which relies upon tracking code being inserted into the web pages to register the visitor with the tracking system (this isn’t the same as a cookie, which is left on your machine). This allowed much more sophisticated, including real time, analysis of what visitors were doing on your website. As a result it was a massive success and some estimates suggest that half of all web sites use Google Analytics.

A variety of open source alternatives now exist which attempt to compete with Google Analytics, one of which is called Piwik. This is what we use to track web site stats and because it relies upon code being embedded into web page in question you can use it to track any website you want and not just ones hosted on mtheory.

Why not just use Google Analytics? Well there are potentially good reasons not to use Google especially when it comes to privacy concerns. See the Wikipedia page on Google Analytics for an explanation of potential concerns. Personally we like having control over data we generate.

What about web logs? We also run a traditional stats system using Analog and the server logs for domains hosted on mtheory. Generally these will be made available to anyone who wants to look at them, they are much harder to derive useful information from however.

You can login to our Piwik install at https://mtheory.co.uk/logs. (Note you’ll need to request a username and password first).

Sub-domains

A sub-domain is a domain that sits underneath the main domain name. It is anything before the ‘.’ before the main domain name. In the case of mtheory, mtheory.co.uk is the main domain name and tippingpoint.mtheory.co.uk is a sub-domain of mtheory.co.uk.

Sub-domains are useful as they can often be easily remembered and can redirect traffic somewhere else whilst appearing to stay within your domain. For instance tippingpoint.mtheory.co.uk is actually a Tumblr blog and mailboxes.mtheory.co.uk is actually hosted by our ISP, Dreamhost. They can also be used as a shortcut to some deeply nested part of your site that may otherwise require a very long URL.

If you need or want a sub-domain from mtheory for some particular use please get in touch with the administrator.

Other CMS systems

Apart from WordPress several other content management systems (CMS) are available as straight forward installs for your use. These are:

If you are interested in using any of these for your own projects then please ask for them to be installed into your user space.