Customizing Your Web Pages

Policies, Guidelines and Resources

Before you attempt to customize web pages, be sure to read and understand the Web Page Policies and Guidelines for The University of Iowa and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Style and Design Guidelines

The web has a lot of information about web page design and style. See, for example:

Web Design
Web Design and Development
Style Guide for Online Hypertext

Using Authoring Tools

Many web authoring tools are available that let you create web pages in a wysiwyg interface. The CLAS Linux Group provides the Seamonkey HTML Editor.

Writing Your Own Pages

You can use a text editor to write your own web pages, using HyperText Markup Language (HTML), the language in which web documents are created. You may also want to learn about eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). There are many, many other languages and development platforms that you may want to learn about.


You can modify some aspects of the way that the web server presents your pages to browsers. In the directory or folder that contains the pages you want to affect, create a text file name ".htaccess". In the ".htaccess" file, you can include any of these kinds of directives:

Access Limitation

Allow, Deny and Order

Authorization Configuration

AuthDBMGroupFile, AuthDBMUserFile, AuthGroupFile, AuthName, AuthDigestRealmSeed, AuthType, AuthUserFile, Require, etc.

File Presentation

AddEncoding, AddLanguage, AddType, DefaultType, ErrorDocument, LanguagePriority, etc.


AddDescription, AddIcon, AddIconByEncoding, AddIconByType, DefaultIcon, DirectoryIndex, FancyIndexing, HeaderName, IndexIgnore, IndexOptions, ReadmeName, etc.

Once you have created your ".htaccess" file, you must set its permissions via the chmod command so that it is accessible to the web server:

chmod og+r ./.htaccess

For more information about overrides, see:

Apache Tutorial: .htaccess files
AllowOverride Directive
Apache Module mod_autoindex