Recommended web platforms

There are different options for hosting your website at the University, depending on the nature of your content. This page explains which platform is best for you.

On

Within an existing site in the CMS

Why

If you just need a small number of pages of information for external audiences, then these could be part of an existing department, faculty or research website.

How

You’ll need to discuss this with the respective website owner. Visit the section owners directory page to see who this is. 

Support

The website owner of the site your pages are published in will be your first point of contact for support and updates.

Example URL

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/department-name/section-name/page-name 


A new site in the CMS

Why

The CMS is suitable for external-facing University websites where the subject matter is related to the University's core activities.

These activities include student engagement, research, projects and networks, where the University is a lead partner and beneficiary.

If your content does not fit into an existing site on the CMS and you have a lot of information, then you may need your own website.

How

You can request a new website using the new website request form. If you've not been trained on the CMS, the request will initiate your enrolment onto an online CMS training course. This needs to be completed before you can build your website. 

Support

The CMS is a supported service, so help is available from IT Services and Corporate Communications. Your first point of call should be our tutorials and guidance on all aspects of the CMS, followed by contact information.

Example URL

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/site-name


Google Sites

Why

The permissions options on Google Sites make them useful for internal-facing websites that have a select audience, as access can be restricted to specific people, both within and outside of the University.

A Google Site can also be used for hosting external-facing content (such as student societies and projects), as long as they do not duplicate or replace core external-facing content on the main CMS University website.

Google Sites can address functionality requirements the CMS cannot meet, as it is possible to embed your own widgets and connect seamlessly to G Suite applications and plugins. 

How

These sites can be set up quickly by anyone with a University Google account by clicking the dots at the top right of your Google Drive account and choosing 'Sites'.

Support

Google Sites is not a fully supported service but there is lots of information out there on how to use it. 

LinkedIn Learning for Google Sites is available to University staff and students through MUSE.

You can also attend a Digital Drop In session with any questions, although there is limited expertise within the University on how to manage Google Sites.

Example URL

https://sites.google.com/sheffield.ac.uk/site-name


cPanel web hosting

Why

The cPanel service is only appropriate under very specific circumstances, when bespoke functionality is required that is not available in the CMS.

How

We review all applications for new cPanel accounts to ensure they are only created for the correct purposes, and that owners have the skills and provisions in place to maintain the account and website files throughout their lifecycle.

Applications must be approved by the cPanel project, Information Security and the applicants HoD or faculty before an account is provided. 

Support

Unlike sites hosted on the University CMS and on Google, cPanel sites incur development, maintenance, hosting and domain costs for the site owner. 

Other considerations:

  • cPanel is not a supported service. You will need to maintain your files yourself and will not receive assistance managing your site
  • Account holders must ensure their files are constantly maintained in accordance with the Regulations on the Use of Computing Facilities, the IT Code of Practice, the Guidelines for Web Providers and the Guidelines for use of the cPanel web-manager service.
  • You will be responsible for ensuring your cPanel website is compliant in terms of the latest accessibility legislation
  • You will be responsible for ensuring your cPanel website has an appropriate privacy and cookie policies and adheres to any relevant data protection regulations.
  • You may be required to move your files to better-assured platforms in the future if the University asks you to, due to changes to the service
  • You will be accountable for ensuring that all day-to-day maintenance as well as annual reviews of your cPanel web pages take place.
  • Failure to maintain the cPanel website and follow rules and regulations will result in the account being suspended.

Example URL

http://site-name.group.shef.ac.uk/


Summary

Platforms

CMS

Google Sites

cPanel

Purpose

Publishing University-related information and activities, including collaborative work with other institutions

Publishing content for a specific set of users (including colleagues outside of the University)

Widgets and plugins for bespoke functionality

When bespoke functionality is not possible with the CMS or Google Sites

Audience

Public

Public, internal or restricted

Public or restricted

Central approval required Yes No Yes

Support available

Yes

Limited

No

In-house training available

Yes

No

No

Costs to website owner

No

No

Yes

Technical maintenance required

No

Some (may be required when embedding or integrating with other systems)

Yes

Google Analytics available by default

Yes

No - can be added by owner

No - can be added by owner

Get in touch

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