Trying to carve off a directory

I’ve sort of been thrown into adminstering an account (the fellow died unexpectedly) that has several directories, each directory containing files for a separate website. I am trying to “carve out” one of those directories so I can give someone FTP access just to that directory, which has all the files for the existing website “” Uggh.

I created a new user “johndoe” and gave john ftp access. I’m not understanding what I’ve done. I can log onto as johndoe with his password, and it shows a root directory with nothing in it yet. Fine. I guess I can copy all the files from the directory that holds the files for “” to this new root directory?

The instructions I received say that this ftp address is only temporary and “Once your domain is working on the web you should begin connecting directly to “”” I don’t know what that means? There is already a working domain, “”, so what does it mean “once your domain is working”? Also, I have no idea what it means to connect "diredtly to “”.

Any help MUCH appreciated.


Each user gets set aside disk space called their “home directory”. For example the path to this user’s home directory would be /home/johndoe. Inside the home directory is several files and directories for management of services and programs (like the shell, or SSH and other programs)

Ultimately hosted web sites must be stored in the disk space of one of the users on the account. You get to tell DreamHost which user and directory the files are stored in when setting up the domain or “Edit”. DreamHost calls it the “web directory”. The DreamHost web panel works like this:

First you specifiy a FTP user / CGI runs-as user. This is the user that you login as to manage files for the web site.

Second you specifiy the web directory. This is specified as a subdirectory of the user home directory. ie, /home/johndoe/

Then the DreamHost web server will know to look for files in this particular directory for that web site.

Root is relative term. Again “home directory” is the user’s top-most directory. The web site is served from a “document root/web directory” and this must be a subdirectory within a home directory of the “FTP/CGI user” for the domain.

You cannot specify a home directory as a web directory. If you are on a Windows computer, this would be like telling your word processor to write documents in the same directory that all your programs store settings and application files in - not a good idea at all.

:cool: -//-

Thank you for the reply. I can’t say I understand it all yet, but I’m declaring progress!



I’m in the same boat and unfortunately, there isn’t any clear documentation on how to do this and which route to take. I just sold domain along with its content and database files and I agreed to have the new owner stay on dreamhost for 3 months. I need to let the new owner access only data pertaining to that domain. THat’s it. Still can’t get a straight answer.

I posted my Q again when I thought I had it figured out and wanted confirmation. This separate post tells you how to do it; pretty easy.