Replacing Lanfiles

Lanfiles, the service that among other things provides personal web pages for people at Williams, will be turned off in the beginning of December.  At 10 years old, it’s not only reaching an age where it has become difficult to support, but it’s also used by fewer and fewer people.  As a result, OIT is planning to retire it, and remove or relocate the web pages that it is currently serving.

In addition to serving web pages, Lanfiles also allows people to access their Hector, Helen, or Achilles file space from off-campus by FTP, and on campus it allows people to share files through their public.www folders.  A couple of months ago, we sent an email to everyone who had used the service in the past six months, asking how they were using it.  We compiled the responses, and have come up with a replacement service that will cover all of the needs that people have expressed.

  • The on-campus sharing of files is a service that will continue unchanged.  The Lanfiles service serves web pages from the files that are stored on peoples’ public.www sites.  When Lanfiles goes away the websites will no longer be available, but the public.www folders and the files they contain will not be moved or removed. Everyone’s public.www folder will remain, and the files they contain will continue to be accessible on campus.  In the future, the public folders for newly created accounts will be called “public” rather than “public.www” to reflect the fact that they’re no longer available on the web, but the folders themselves will continue.
  • Personal web pages will be available on a new server at the address This site runs a multi-user version of the popular lightweight content management system WordPress.  When you first login to, a website will be created for you at the address  You can then configure your site and upload your content through an online menu system, without the need to know any html or web development skills. This site can also be used if you need to transfer small and medium sized files to people off-campus. This service is available now, but still in the beta phase. There may be an occasional unannounced outage or change as we continue to work on it and incorporate feedback and requests.
  • Off-campus access to Hector, Helen and Achilles will be replaced by a web-based file management system at the address Once you login to this site, you will be presented with a list of the files and folders available on your Hector, Helen or Achilles space, and the ability to upload, download, or rename files.
  • A few people had their old Lanfiles addresses permanently listed in scholarly publications or other places such that it was highly desirable that they be able to maintain their old websites at their old addresses.  For those people, we have a new server that will enable us to keep the old addresses intact, albeit without the convenience and ease of maintainability of the new WordPress system.
Screenshots of the WordPress administrative tools

We will be sending out notifications once more to people that we know have used Lanfiles recently asking if we can help with the migration. But in the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns please contact Jonathan Leamon at, or your Instructional Technology Specialist.

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