i6 Services: FAQ

Q. "I don't know whether my CIMS account was set up correctly/is working properly. How can I check?"

A. We have a flowchart outlining steps you should take to check your account located here.  Please follow the steps as shown, and do not contact our help desk directly.

The most common problems are:

  1. account activation email went to your NYU email spam folder: try going to the link you would have been sent, which is https://cims.nyu.edu/webapps/password 
  2. you had an account from a previous semester (in which case you do NOT get an account activation email) and have forgotten the credentials: see "I forgot my password..." below
  3. you are trying to connect to the CIMS servers using Cyberduck, Fetch, or some other SFTP client and are not succeeding: test with a simple SSH client  such as Terminal (Mac, Linux) or PuTTY (Windows) first; see the flowchart linked above or your instructor if you're unsure how this works

Q. "I forgot my password, what do I do?"

A. Visit our password reset page for instructions to reset your password.

Q. "I already know my password, but how do I change it?"

A.  You may find instructions for changing your account password and other useful account management tips here.

Q. "I think I have the right password, but every time I try to connect to i6, it says permission denied."

A. If you're on a Mac or Linux, be sure that you are including your NetID in your ssh command: ssh NETID@i6.cims.nyu.edu.  We capitalize NETID in our documentation for emphasis, but you need to type it in all lowercase.  Secondly, make sure that you're connecting to i6.cims.nyu.edu and NOT access.cims.nyu.edu. If this still fails, attempt a password reset.

Q. "When I try to access my site, it tells me 'Access forbidden!'."

A. 99.9% of the time this is a Unix permissions issue that you can resolve yourself.  See our Interact page for a brief look at setting permissions, as well as a hint to get you started with the permissions of you index.html file. This issue can also arise if you have content in your public_html directory that isn't structured correctly (e.g., with an index.html at the top level) or if you mistakenly move, rename, or delete and incorrectly recreate your public_html folder. Your public_html folder is actually a symlink to a different directory -- see the next FAQ for more information.

Q. "I accidentally deleted my public_html folder.  What do I do?"

A. Your public_html "folder" is actually a symbolic link in your home directory to your web directory.  If you've deleted this link, you can recreate it by SSH'ing to i6, and running the following command: "cd; ln -s /web/NETID public_html" where NETID is your NetID in lowercase letters.  If you've inadvertently created public_html as an actual folder, you can delete the folder and its contents (you will be prompted before deletions), and recreate the link, by running "cd; rm -ir public_html; ln -s /web/NETID public_html". 

A correctly working public_html folder will be in /home/<username>/public_html, and look like the screenshot below. You can get this view while ssh'ed to your home directory on i6 by running the "ls -l" command. Notice the "l" at the leftmost position of the folder permissions, and the arrow pointing to the location to which the symlink goes:

screenshot of what a public_html folder with symlink looks like from a Linux terminal

In comparison, the image below is what you would see if you made a public_html folder that is NOT correctly symlinked. The "d" in the leftmost position of the directory permissions indicates that this is a directory rather than a link, and there is no symlink arrow:

screenshot of what a public_html folder without a symlink looks like from a Linux terminal

Q. "When I attempt to SSH to i6, I get a big scary message about a public RSA key problem, and can't connect."

A. If you connected to i6 in a past semester, it's possible the i6 hardware has changed since then, which could have resulted in a new RSA key.  An RSA key is essentially something to identify a remote machine so that you know you are connecting to the machine you intend to, and not a machine that has hijacked the hostname of the machine.  You can confirm the legitimacy of the machine you're attempting to connect to as actually being i6 by checking our Secure Connection Verification page and looking at the current fingerprint value for i6: https://cims.nyu.edu/webapps/content/systems/userservices/netaccess/secure_verification

To get around this error, you will need to open up your "known_hosts" file and delete the lines relating to i6.  The known_hosts file is usually found in the ~/.ssh/ subdirectory.  On Macs it's usually something like /Users/your_local_username/.ssh/known_hosts; Linux is similar. So from a window in the Terminal application on Mac or Linux, you could execute the following (all commands require hitting "Enter" to complete) to find the .ssh directory, open known_hosts, and delete the outdated RSA key entry:

cd ~
(you should now be in the home directory of whatever user account you've logged in with on your computer)
ls -lah
(you should now see a directory called .ssh in the output, which contains the contents of your home directory)
cd .ssh
(for the next command, vim is a text editor: you can edit known_hosts in any text editor of your choice, which may use different commands)
vim known_hosts
(using the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard, move to the line that starts with i6.cims.nyu.edu)
dd
(you should have just deleted the line with the i6 server RSA key)
:wq
(this writes out the updated file and quits vim)

If you don't connect to other services besides i6, it is safe to remove all the content of this file to start fresh. You can also delete the file entirely; a new one will be generated the next time you ssh to the server.

Q. "Despite all the settings being correct, my SFTP program such as Fetch will not connect."

A. See the above question and check for an RSA key in your known_hosts file, and delete the lines regarding i6 if they exist, then try again.

Q. "My site itself (not my i6 account) has a password on it and I forgot what it is."

A. Your site most likely has a .htaccess file in place.  A .htaccess file is one which allows you to control who can or can't access the site.  This .htaccess file would most likely be located in your web directory accessible via /home/NETID/public_html/.htaccess.  If this file exists, you can modify it to your liking, or just delete it.  Please consult Google for basic .htaccess usage.

Note that some instructors include the existence of an .htaccess file as part of your curriculum.  When in doubt, ask your instructor if it is important to him/her that your website be restricted by a .htaccess file.