Web Hosting and Publishing

Several web hosting options are available to campus, with different levels of complexity and configurability. Below is a collection of options available.

Creating a website to showcase your research doesn't have to be complicated. We've collected the top free (or affordable) resources across campus that are at your disposal.

Stock Image of Computers and People Writing

News, blogs, and latest updates: WordPress or WebTools Blogs

WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems for blogs and news sites.

Publish.Illinois.edu is a multi-site WordPress installation maintained by Technology Services which offers semi-customizable templates to choose from. All the patching and maintenance is taken care of for you; all you need to do is provide the content.

cPanel Self Service Web Hosting can host WordPress sites and other site types as well. If you’re looking at WordPress but find Publish’s restrictions too confining, you can install your own WordPress instance on cPanel, and you’ll also have responsibility for patching and maintenance.

The WebTools Blog service allows University members to create blogs or lightweight websites.  These can then easily integrate with other WebTools such as calendars, newsletters, forms, surveys, and more. 


Collaborative spaces with collective editing: Illinois Wiki, Google Docs, Office Online

Public-facing websites, news, and blogs are helpful when you have results to announce. However, when you want an internal collaboration space for your workgroup as you work on your project, you may want a solution more like a wiki or shared document spaces.

Illinois Wiki is a vended wiki solution called Atlassian Confluence, and is used extensively for class collaboration and help documents. Wiki spaces provide the large-group shared editing and version control capabilities of a system like Google Docs, but also offer web-like navigation and organization rather than storage-folder-like organization.

Google Apps @ Illinois include Google Drive for shared storage and Google Docs for collective editing of files. If you don’t need to present a web-like navigation structure, Google Docs is one of the most convenient options for large group editing of shared documents with stored version history.

Microsoft’s Office Online tools allow you to collectively edit Microsoft Office document formats that are stored in a variety of locations, including U of I Box, OneDrive, and more. The experience is similar but not identical to editing on a desktop application; if version history and comments are important to you, you’ll find the desktop version valuable.

Scholarly publishing on the Web: IDEALS, IDB, Omeka, Scalar, PWW

One key difference between “web hosting” and “web publishing” is how much the end result resembles a book or journal.  Most “web hosting” offerings are for sites that are regularly updated and change frequently.

However, sometimes you want the digital equivalent of publishing a book: a fixed object that will be available in the same form at the same place for a long time, without regular edits (and sometimes without any changes at all). This is where “web publishing” comes into play.

Many of the resources for web publishing are offered through the University Library’s Scholarly Communication and Publishing unit.

IDEALS is a digital repository for research and scholarship, including published and unpublished papers as well as other content types. 

The Illinois Data Bank is a public access repository for publishing research data from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The IDB can host data sets that supplement papers stored in IDEALS or other journals around the world.

Publishing Without Walls is a digital press that produces book-scale digital works that can include multimedia components. It is a digital scholarly publishing initiative that is scholar-driven, openly accessible, scalable, and sustainable.

If you’d like to produce the digital equivalent of a museum exhibit, with objects on display paired with descriptions and annotations of the resources, you may be interested in either the Library’s offering of access to Omeka.net or installing your own Omeka copy on cPanel.

The Library also offers access to the University of Southern California’s Scalar installation, for long-form narratives with interconnected multimedia experiences. 

Need more help deciding what system could support the type of website you need? Check out the Web Hosting Finder, where you can compare several types of web hosting options at once.