Web Hosting Solutions

There are a number of options available to you for hosting a website at Georgia Tech, but the first question to ask yourself is whether you need an internal or public website:

Internal Website

An internal website is only available to a subset of the Georgia Tech population (or, at best, most anyone who has a Georgia Tech affiliation). These sites are well suited for sensitive information that shouldn't ever be shared publicly.

Several options are available for creating an internal website:

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is available to all faculty, staff, and students. Teams lets you create an intranet website for connecting a group of people and sharing information among them.  Members of a team can create wiki style pages and shared documents (including Word documents and Excel spreadsheets), post messages to a live chat area that archives everything much like a discussion forum, and create task lists and schedules. Teams also provides access to SharePoint if you wish to create traditional website pages, however, these pages will only be available to the members of your team.  Much more is possible through add-on tools that you can attach to your team once it has been created.

Please visit Microsoft Teams to explore it and learn more.

Canvas

The Canvas Learning Management System is primarily for supporting academic (course related) needs. Every teaching faculty member will get a site on the Canvas system for each course they are teaching, but additional Canvas project sites can be requested for academically related purposes.

Please see the Canvas Self Help page for more information on using Canvas.

Engage @ Georgia Tech

Student organizations have access to the Engage@Georgia Tech hosted service where they can create an online presence for their members with some publicly viewable features.

Public Website

A public website can be viewed by anyone anywhere in the world, and is best suited for general information websites describing the nature and activities of Georgia Tech units, programs, organizations, clubs, etc. Sensitive information should never be stored on a public website!

Professional Web Presence (PWP)

Professional Web Presence (PWP) provides users with a WordPress site without the headaches of setting one up from scratch and managing the technical backend needs of WordPress (e.g. patching, upgrades, etc). It is perfect for faculty professional presence sites, research project sites, and small unit websites. Please note that PWP is a multi-site system, so site maintainers are not able to install new plugins or themes to the system, but a variety of useful plugins and themes are provided on the system.

Please see the Professional Web Presence (PWP) handbook for more information.

OIT Web Hosting

OIT Web Hosting is not a website creation application, but rather a place to host one of a variety of supported web applications, the most common used being the Drupal Content Management System, which can be used to build larger, more robust websites. OIT provides a ready to use version of Drupal called Drupal Express to make it easy to build a new site with a Georgia Tech look-and-feel. 

You can run other applications on OIT Web Hosting, including Omeka, MediaWiki, and WordPress, but it is highly recommended that anyone interested in WordPress consider using Professional Web Presence as described above.

Please see the OIT Web Hosting handbook for more information.

Unit Managed Web Servers

Some units on campus may offer their own locally managed web hosting services and applications. Check with your local IT support staff to find out what your unit offers. Web services offered by and supported by your IT staff are perfectly viable options, but you should avoid trying to set up your own web server without the assistance and oversight of your IT staff.

Learn more about unit managed web servers and running websites on them.

Outside / Off-Campus Web Hosting [Not Recommended]

For several good reasons, units should avoid using outside web hosting, which introduces a number of unnecessary risks. This includes using commercial web hosting companies or commercial application vendors (e.g. WordPress.com or Google Sites), or using social media (such as Facebook) your primary web presence.

Learn more about the downsides and risks of using outside web hosting

Recommendations

The general rule of thumb for selecting a web hosting solution is to go with the solution that is the closest fit to the size and nature of your website. Specifically:

  • Try to use Professional Web Presence for any WordPress needs, rather than set up your own copy of WordPress in OIT hosting or on a unit managed web server. Once you set up a separate copy of WordPress, you then have to make sure it is getting all needed security and bug fixing patches.

  • Try to use OIT Web Hosting for any Drupal needs, as OIT hosting provides Installatron, which can handle Drupal security and bug fix patches for you. If you run Drupal on a unit managed server, you will likely have to handle all of these patches yourself by hand.

  • Only request a unit managed web server (or an OIT virtual machine, which will be charged back to your unit) for a non-standard web application that won't run properly on OIT Web Hosting.

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