30 January 2015

A CMS or cPanel website?

Do you want to set up a website but aren't sure whether it should be in the University Content Management System (CMS) or use our cPanel web hosting service? This post explains some of the differences between the two.

CMS websites

All academic departments and faculties are required to have their main website in the University's CMS. Many research projects, festivals and events also choose to.

CMS websites have a consistent look and feel, so you don't need to worry too much about the branding as this is taken care of. They're fully responsive, so work well on computers, mobile phones and tablets. You're free to create your own site structure and customise page layouts with text, images and videos. Google Analytics is built in and set up by default.

A CMS website is free and is part of a supported service, so there's help available for if you get stuck. You also don't need to worry about website security as this is dealt with by CiCS.

Any member of staff can be trained to update CMS websites.

Web address format for CMS websites

A top-level CMS website address would typically be something like:

www.sheffield.ac.uk/projectname

However, there are criteria outlining when a top-level address is appropriate. For example, sometimes it is mutually beneficial to have a project or festival website sitting deeper within the associated department or faculty website.

Book CMS training

Request CMS access

cPanel websites

cPanel is a hosting service, providing empty web space for your website.

Hosting the website on cPanel is free, but you'll need someone with technical and design skills to turn your empty web space into an actual website. The site's design, visual appearance and functionality are up to you.

cPanel websites are useful if you require functionality not offered by the CMS.

If you have money to commission an external agency to help design and build a bespoke cPanel website then Digital Engagement in Corporate Communications can give you some recommendations. To give you an idea, a fully bespoke website can cost thousands of pounds.

You could also choose to install free software on your web space to create a website, but you'll need to know what you're doing.

It's also not a supported service, so you need to be confident that you can look after the site yourself and can take on responsibility for its ongoing upkeep. For example, this would mean that if you have chosen to install software such as WordPress on your cPanel web space any security updates are regularly applied.

Web address formats for cPanel websites

There are a few options for cPanel web address formats. These would typically be something like:

projectname.group.shef.ac.uk
projectname.dept.shef.ac.uk
projectname.staff.shef.ac.uk
projectname.union.shef.ac.uk
projectname.postgrad.shef.ac.uk

Where appropriate, external domains (e.g. www.example.com) can also be purchased via CiCS and used with cPanel sites.

cPanel web hosting service

Contact the Digital Engagement team

Get in touch

If you have CMS questions or are stuck then get in touch and we'll do our best to help.