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My university provides a web URL and some hosting space and the URL is like http://homepages.iitb.ac.in/~pritampebam.

Almost all universities I've come across seem to use this structure where there is the '~' sign right in front of the username.

Other examples.

http://web.media.mit.edu/~mres/

http://users.design.ucla.edu/~reas/

Why is it so?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 17 down vote accepted

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/6252471/what-is-the-use-of-tilde-in-url

A unix convention that represents a users homedirectory. Some providers allow users to get content from a certain directory in their home directory delivered by the webserver.

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Cool, it's the same thing with cPanel –  Marco Demaio Jan 31 '13 at 9:02

In addition to what initall mentioned, having a standard for user directories would allow for URL pattern matching such as, "anything that starts with tilde, treat the remainder as a user's name, and see if they have a website". While I don't know if this is how any universities handle their serving of users' websites, it would be an option. If a user existed with the name "employment", but they wanted to setup university.edu/employment to load employment information, the tilde helps avoid conflicts.

(Obviously, if they're using a subdomain like users.university.edu/<username>, this isn't needed. Additionally, they could also use a more user-friendly URL like university.edu/users/<username>, but the tilde being preferred for reasons initall stated).

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