Why does accessing directories only work when I include the trailing "/" (e.g., http://foo.domain.com/~user/) but not when I omit it (e.g., http://foo.domain.com/~user)?
When you access a directory without a trailing "/", Apache needs to send what is called a redirect to the client to tell it to add the trailing slash. If it did not do so, relative URLs would not work properly. When it sends the redirect, it needs to know the name of the server so that it can include it in the redirect. There are two ways for Apache to find this out; either it can guess, or you can tell it. If your DNS is configured correctly, it can normally guess without any problems. If it
is not, however, then you need to tell it.
Add a ServerName directive to the config file to tell it what the domain name of the server is.