Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Services and Scripts

Can I make my file's Content-Type not text/plain?

Our web server has the line

DefaultType text/plain

in its srm.conf file, meaning that HTTP responses from our web server will include the line

Content-Type: text/plain

unless the filename ends with a set of letters that are configured to do something different. text/plain is called a "MIME type". For example, filenames ending in .html or .htm have the MIME type text/html and filenames ending in .gif have the MIME type image/gif.

You may, however, want to override these default type settings for your own web directory. To do this, create a file named .htaccess in that directory. In that file, on each line have as the first field the string AddType, as the second field the MIME type, and as the third and subsequent fields a list of all filename endings that should be assigned that MIME type. For example,

AddType application/x-alphabetic abc abcd
AddType text/enriched txte

One type setting that some people find useful is

AddType application/msword doc

You should, however, keep in mind that in some circumstances there are risks (including those from Word Macro viruses) in automatically loading Word files obtained from untrusted web sites.

If you believe that our server ought to be changed to add a new default association between a certain filename ending and a corresponding MIME type (i.e., if you believe that this is the correct MIME type for that filename ending for essentially every user of the Athena environment), then please send mail to to let us know. (Note that some Athena filesystems have files in plain-text format with filenames ending in ".doc", so it is problematic to globally associate ".doc" with Word files.)

Incidentally, supports a configuration file similar to .htaccess, but the name is used instead. You should typically not, however, place AddType lines into files -- if you do so, client users who access that web directory will receive an "Internal Server Error" error message.

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