Note: If you came to this page expecting to sign up for a website, then head to the login page and follow the instructions. You’ll be set up in a few minutes. If you need more information and help, read on!
UNF Faculty Domains is a project at the University of North Florida managed by the Center for Instruction and Research Technology (CIRT).
It is a full featured web hosting solution that offers the opportunity to create academic publishing spaces using modern web applications. This project is one of many “Domain of One’s Own” projects happening at institutions of higher learning across the country. As part of UNF’s version of Domain of One’s Own, UNF faculty receive their own subdomain (web space) to install the available applications, as well as easy to use management tools.
WordPress, Omeka, and Scalar are currently available.
These faculty domains can function as hubs for professional presence. The service provides both simple templates for common needs and more sophisticated tools and support for faculty who wish to experiment.
If you are not sure what a domain is, the “What is a Domain?” article may help.
1.1.Signing Up Vs. Signing In
If you are brand new to the world of UNF Faculty Domains, you may not know what you need to do to start using it. So to begin, you first need to select a domain name that will look something like yourdomain.domains.unf.edu. That is what we refer to as signing up. After you have signed up and have selected your domain (you only sign up ONCE), you will subsequently sign in. To sign up or sign in you will go to https://domains.unf.edu and click on the Sign-in/Sign-up (Dashboard) link in the menu bar (upper right corner of that page). After you have selected your domain name, and you sign in, you will see what is known as the Control Panel or cPanel screen.
Before you get started, we recommend that you take some time to think about choosing your domain. Your domain name will be unique, but all of the domains on UNF Faculty Domains will take the form of yourdomain.domains.unf.edu. So, an example might be andyrush.domains.unf.edu. You can choose any domain name that is available, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Your Domain Name Must Be Available – The most common choice for UNF Faculty Domains will probably be your first and last name. Choosing a domain that includes your name may make it easier for you to achieve higher rankings in search engines when someone queries your real name. This is not a requirement, but also realize that there might be more than one John Smith for instance. Be prepared with another option.
- Choose a Domain You Can Live With: You should choose a domain name that you feel you can live with for quite some time.
- Pick a Domain you Like: At the end of the day, your domain should reflect you. Pick a domain you like and are proud of. If not your name, your domain can reflect your interests, the name of a project, or a hobby. Or it could just be your name. The “right” domain for you is the one you’re comfortable with.
- You Have the Option of a Personal Domain Name – Once you create your space, you can use a more personal domain name, like andyrush.com. You will need to purchase it for about $15/year, and continue to renew it each year if you want to keep it. We have more information on Registering a Domain.
Once you’ve given your domain name some thought, you can go to https://domains.unf.edu and click on the Sign-in/Sign-up (Dashboard) link in the menu bar (upper right corner of that page).
If you are logged in to myWings or another UNF web service, you will be brought directly to the Chose your Domain screen. Otherwise, you will be redirected to login where you will use your UNF username and password to login.
After you log in with your username, you will be brought to the Choose Your Domain page.
Type in the domain name you would like to use. Just enter your domain name in the field and the system will take care of the rest. Again, it will take the form of http://yourdomain.domains.unf.edu – Click the Continue button.
If the domain has already been taken, you will get this message on screen and you’ll need to try another domain name:
If the domain is available, you’ll see
Click on the Sign Up button if you want to keep the domain. Click on the Start Over button if you’d like to choose a different domain name.
IMPORTANT! Press the Sign Up button once and then be patient. Things are happening…
You’ll eventually see a Congratulations screen which will count down from 10 and then redirect you to your domain’s control panel.
If it all worked correctly, what you’ll see next is what’s known as the Control Panel or cPanel. From now on when you sign in at https://domains.unf.edu (by clicking on the Sign-in/Sign up (Dashboard) link), you will see the cPanel page.
Go to https://domains.unf.edu and click the Sign-up/Sign-in Dashboard link in the upper right corner.
You will be directed to login using your UNF username and password.
Note: You can also access Faculty Domains through myWings. Click on Faculty Resources, then Faculty Tools, and then select Faculty Domains.
Clicking on the Dashboard link will bring you directly to your cPanel.
If you see a screen that asks you to choose a domain, you haven’t signed up yet, so you need to Get Started with a UNF Faculty Domain.
1.4.Understanding Accounts & Passwords
One aspect of UNF Faculty Domains that users may find a bit complicated at first is understanding the different accounts (and associated passwords) that you can manage as part of your participation in the project. This article outlines the types of accounts that you are likely to have, what they are for, and how you go about resetting passwords on each of them.
Your cPanel Account
When you first sign-up for your domain and hosting, a Control Panel, or cPanel, account will be generated that provides you with access to your slice of the Faculty Domains web server. Your cPanel account is automatically associated with your UNF account. Therefore, your UNF account credentials will grant you access to your cPanel account. Your cPanel is used to manage your domain and all of your web applications.
Your Application Administrator Accounts
Every time you install a new application in cPanel, an Administrator Account for that application will be created. You will likely use these accounts very often – every time you need to login to your application to manage the associated Web site, you will use this account.
For example, if you install WordPress to manage your Web site, every time you need to add content to WordPress, change your theme, approve comments, etc. you will use this account to login.
Usually, you will be given the opportunity to choose the userid and password for that account. We recommend choosing something that you are likely to remember but that is strong and secure. Do not use your n-number and password as the administrator account for an application.
Upon installation, you will receive an email confirming the user-id/password combination you chose. It will also have information about how to access the login page for that application. You may wish to keep this email.
You can always review and reset the account credentials for an application’s administrator account in Installatron (in cPanel):
Login to cPanel through https://domains.unf.edu/dashboard.
In the Applications section, click on the My Apps icon.
Applications you have installed will be listed here.
Click the Edit button (the blue wrench).
Scroll down to find the Administrator Username and Password.
In addition, most applications should have some kind of password reset link on the login page.
Other Types of Accounts
In addition to the account types outlined above, there are a few other kinds of accounts you may have as part of UNF Faculty Domains:
FTP: If you set up FTP on your account, you will need to set up an account.
Application User Accounts: In addition to the Administrator Account that you set up when installing an application, most applications will also let you set up other user accounts.
1.5.What Can You Do with Your Account?
Your ability to do things on UNF Faculty Domains is dictated to a large degree by the limits of your imagination. That said, you’re now staring at a bunch of unfamiliar icons and you don’t know what they do. So let’s take it from the top and install a web application.
Install a Web Application in Your Space
UNF Faculty Domains makes it very simple to install certain web applications in your web space. Web applications are just special software that run on a web server. Usually they allow you to build and manage a web site. The kind of site you can build depends upon the type of application you install. Here are some examples of applications that you can easily install within the UNF Faculty Domains web hosting interface:
WordPress: WordPress is a blogging application. While it allows you to quickly and easily set up a blog, it also comes with a set of features that really make it possible to set up any kind of basic Web site without much difficulty. We have resources available that are focused on installing and using WordPress. We strongly recommend that you use WordPress, if this is the first time you are installing an application on a domain.
Scalar: Scalar is a free, open source authoring and publishing platform that’s designed to make it easy for authors to write long-form, born-digital scholarship online. Scalar enables users to assemble media from multiple sources and juxtapose them with their own writing in a variety of ways, with minimal technical expertise required.
Omeka: Omeka is a good choice if you’re looking for a way to publish digital collections in your web space. It’s also a quick install through Installatron in cPanel onto your UNF Faculty Domains web space.
Organize Your Site with Subdomains and Folders
You are able to install more than one application on your domain. You can even install multiple versions of each application. One easy way to organize your domain is to create subfolders for your site (which can also have their own application installed in them).
If you decide to purchase your own domain, you would have the option to subdivide it using subfolder OR subdomains. Here’s an example of how you might organize your site (using the subdomain vs. the subfolder approach):
- Install WordPress, Scalar, or Omeka as your “main site” on the root, or top level of your domain – for example andyrush.domains.unf.edu
- Install WordPress, Scalar, or Omeka in a subfolder – for example andyrush.domains.unf.edu/blog
- If you purchased your own domain you could install WordPress, Scalar, or Omeka as your “main site” on the root, or top level of your domain – for example andyrush.com or…
- You could install WordPress, Scalar, or Omeka in a subdomain – for example scalar.andyrush.com or… in a subfolder – for example andyrush.com/omeka
Map Your Domain
If you already have a digital presence that you’d like to pull into your UNF Faculty Domains space, domain mapping is an option you may wish to explore. This allows you to assign your domain to another service. Some services that work with domain mapping are:
When you map a domain, users who visit your URL will automatically see your space on one of these services. It’s a great way to incorporate your activity elsewhere into your domain, and it might be a good first-step if you’ve already established a presence somewhere else and just want to point your new domain to that space.
1.6.Registering a Domain
UNF Faculty Domains currently utilizes subdomains of domains.unf.edu for the initial signup, however after using your space you may decide you’d like to register a top-level domain (a .com, .net, .org address). You can do this by registering a domain with a service provider (we make a recommendation below, but any domain provider should work) and adding it to your space as an Addon Domain.
To start you’ll need to get the domain registered. When choosing a domain we recommend keeping it all lower-case, avoiding hyphens, keeping it short, and of course it will need to be a unique address. Our service provider, Reclaim Hosting, has made the process of registering a domain quite simple, and the domain will work with very few additional steps due to the integration they have with our hosting system. To register a domain you would go to https://portal.reclaimhosting.com/cart.php?a=add&domain=register and type in the domain you’d like to purchase:
After ensuring the domain is available for purchase you’ll be prompted to select whether you’d like to protect the contact information associated with the domain. All domain registrations are required to have valid contact information publicly available, however a proxy service to protect your identity is available when you register with Reclaim Hosting. You can read more about this service, ID Protect, at http://docs.reclaimhosting.com/FAQ/ID-Protect-FAQ/.
You’ll also be prompted for nameservers for the domain. If registering the domain through Reclaim Hosting you can leave these with the default. If registering the domain elsewhere you’ll want to point the nameservers to ns1.reclaimhosting.com and ns2.reclaimhosting.com in order for the domain to work with our system.
Once you’ve completed the checkout process with payment information the domain will be registered automatically. The last step is to add it to your existing account here at UNF Faculty Domains. To do that you’ll log into your account at https://domains.unf.edu/dashboard and in cPanel navigate to Domains > Add-on Domains.
Here you will type in the domain that you registered previously to host it within your space on UNF Domains. cPanel will also setup a subdomain to store the files for the domain (typically a folder inside of root folder named public_html). A checkbox with the option to create an FTP account is present, but it’s not necessary to create one. Once the domain is entered click Add Domain to add the domain to your hosting account.
At this point the domain will now be hosted in your account and you can use it to install software, upload files, and any number of other actions available to you in cPanel.
2.1.Introduction to CPanel
Your web hosting account on UNF Faculty Domains is managed through a control panel interface called cPanel. cPanel is an industry-standard tool for managing your domain and hosting. Using this tool, you can do all kind of thing with your web space including the following:
install web applications
create email accounts or create subdomains (if you purchase a personal domain)
view and manage files in your space
create and configure FTP accounts
review access logs for your site
manually manage and configure databases
All you need to do is login at the top right of the page at domains.unf.edu (with your UNF N number and password) and your website’s cPanel will automatically be displayed upon login. If you don’t see the cPanel you need to sign up.
The cPanel interface is divided into sections, making it easy to locate the different tools and services available to you.
Many of the tutorials on this site walk you through particular tasks in cPanel, but we encourage you to explore on your own, as well.
2.2.Installing Applications with Installatron
Installatron is a script installer that allows you to quickly and easily install Web applications in your web space. By default, when you use Installatron, the application you add will be automatically upgraded whenever a new version is available (and a backup will be kept, just in case).
Installing Applications Using Installatron
To get started you’ll need to login to your control panel by going to https://domains.unf.edu/dashboard.
Here you’ll login with your UNF username and password.
Once logged in you’ll be at the homepage of your cPanel (control panel). At the top of the page you will see a section labeled “Applications.” Within this section you will see icons that link to the Installatron page for the different applications available (at this time WordPress, Omeka, and Scalar). “All Applications” lists the applications that available to install. “My Apps” are the applications you’ve installed.
When Installatron page for your desired application opens, you will have the opportunity to start the installation process.
We anticipate that the most common application that will be installed is WordPress. We have step by step instructions for Installing WordPress.
WordPress is an open source blog application. Today WordPress is the most used blog application powering millions of blogs and being used by tens of millions of people every day. If you would like to try out WordPress, we have a document on Installing WordPress. If you are just beginning with WordPress, we have a WordPress section on our FAQ (frequently asked questions) page.
3.1.1.WordPress General Settings
Title and Tagline
Now that you have your WordPress installed and running, it’s time to look at some basic settings for your site. The place that you will access the settings for your site is called the WordPress Dashboard, and it provides the starting point for accessing all of your sites dials and knobs.
The setting we will look at here is your blog “title” and “tag line”. It is located under Settings > General. Once you’re on the General Settings page, you can give your blog any title you want. You can also give your blog a tagline, which can be a short description of the blog.
When you change the Blog title and tag line, they will show up at the top of your site. Depending on what theme you use, the title and tag lines will show up in various places. In the case of some themes, they might not show up at all depending on whether they allow custom configurations. We won’t worry about that for now. If you use the default theme (currently “Twenty Seventeen”), the blog title and tag line are both in the lower left of the main page.
There are more settings on the General Settings page, such as setting the administrative email account, time zone, date format, etc. Change those to whatever is appropriate for your site and geographical location.
The primary activity that you’re likely to be doing on your WordPress site is publishing content. The content could be text you write, pictures you take, videos or audios (which may be hosted on another site), or other media that you’ve found elsewhere on the Web. WordPress makes it very easy to publish media content of all types, whether hosted on your actual Web server or elsewhere.
Posts vs Pages
Out of the box, WordPress provides two primary content types for you two work with: posts and pages. If you read blogs or have ever written for a blog before, the concept of a post is probably a bit familiar. Posts often are content that appear on your blog in some kind of scheduled way. They usually are presented on your site in reverse-chronological order. Posts might be what you use to share your regular thoughts, reflections, or ideas about a topic. Posts make up a kind of “river” of content that you’re producing as part of your blogging activity.
Pages usually correspond to our more traditional concept of what makes up a Web site. Pages are presented outside of the “river” of content that are posts. They are more likely to stand alone and be organized according to a traditional hierarchy. Pages might be content that is less frequently updated or changed.
If you were using WordPress to build a business Web site with a lot of information content, you would probably use Pages. If you added a feature to that site where you started to advertise special events or news, you would probably use Posts.
A few other things to know about Pages vs Posts:
If you want your content to be accessible to your users via RSS/syndication, you’ll need to use Posts. By default, Pages do not appear in a site’s RSS feed.
Categories and Tags (which are used in WordPress to help you organize your content) are ONLY available on Posts. Page organization is done through customizing your site’s menus.
WordPress, by default, also creates “Category Pages” and “Tag Pages” that display all the Posts in a category or tag. These are NOT related to the regular Page type.
Upon occasion, you will want to include media (images, audio, video) in your site’s posts and pages. There are generally two approaches to handling media in WordPress:
Uploading: You can upload the files into your site’s Media Gallery and then link to them in your posts/pages. This works very well for images, and when you take this approach for images you have the added benefit of being able to make use of WordPress’ built in (albeit rudimentary) editing tools. Also, when you upload images to WordPress, it automatically creates different sizes that you can use, as needed. When it comes to audio and video, we only recommend uploading small/short files. Video file especially can take up lots of space on your server, so use services like YouTube for your video needs. If you want to have your media (audio or video) files actually show up in a “player” (with controls for stopping, pausing, etc.) you just need to add them to a post or page using the Add Media button in the editor. How people view/listen to them will depend a bit on the setup on their own computer and in their own browser. They may, for example, have to download the media file and then open it in another program on their computer.
Embedding: You can embed media from other sites easily in WordPress. Embedding an image just means providing a URL to it’s location elsewhere on the Web. Instead of uploading it to the server, WordPress grabs that image from the external source and displays it on your post/page. However, with this approach you lose your editing capabilities as well as the resizing feature. Embedding audio and video from external sources becomes easier with every version of WordPress it seems. These days, you can embed video and audio from many external services (YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, etc.) by simply placing the full URL of the audio/video location on it’s own line in your post/page. There is a complete list of supported external services, and you can learn more about embedding from external sources at the WordPress site. Our general advice is to use externally hosted media whenever it makes sense and works. This is usually the case when you need to use audio or video.
Recent versions of WordPress have built out a new “post format” feature which, if you are using a theme with the feature enabled, will style post formats differently depending on what they are. The formats that are built-in to WordPress (and are available for theme developers to use) are the following:
aside – Similar to a Facebook note update.
gallery – A gallery of images.
link – A link to another site.
image – A single image.
quote – A quotation.
status – A short status update, similar to a Twitter status update.
video – A single video.
audio – An audio file.
chat – A chat transcript.
Those of you familiar with Tumblr may recognize this approach to post formats.
For the most part, post formats are designed as a way to style a site (and customize styling depending on the kind of content that is being displayed). They have no special functionality, and their use depends entirely upon the theme you are using. Many older themes, for example, do not recognize post formats.
Reading Settings – Front Page
WordPress is a very flexible platform for creating full-blown websites, not just blogging sites. This page will show you how to change the “front page” of your website.
As we have said before, WordPress provides two primary content types for you two work with: posts and pages. Posts, as in blog posts, are a somewhat complex form of webpage. Each blog post gets published in reverse chronological order, on the front page of a WordPress site. You write a new post, and it gets published at the top of the front page. Pages, are a more static form of content. They are additional areas to put information that doesn’t change much. So what if you would like to make the front page of your WordPress site based on a page instead of your blog posts?
Start at the Dashboard.
Navigate to Settings > Reading.
Normally, the front page displays your latest blog posts. What we want to do instead is select a Page from the website. Obviously this page has to exist before you can select it. Select the “A static page” radio button and choose the About page from the Front page drop-down menu (an About page was created for you when you installed WordPress).
OK, great. Click the Save Changes button and now you will have the About page as your Front page. Edit it as you see fit and provide a good welcoming page for your visitors. But wait. What will happen to your blog posts? Most people will want them as the “dynamic” part of your site.
First, create a new Page and title it Blog (you can title it whatever you want but Blog is common and descriptive). Leave the page blank (don’t type any text in the edit box) and Publish it. Now go back to Settings > Reading. Under the static page area choose Blog from the Posts page drop-down.
Click the Save Changes button. Now your “home” page will actually display the About page. You will also have a Blog item in your menu (depending on your theme, you may have to customize your page display to see pages).
If you click on the Blog menu item, you will then see your blog posts. Notice the /blog added to the web address.
Part of the popularity of WordPress is how easily it makes a website functional and yet attractive. One of the smaller details that you might want to adjust is how the addresses to your blog posts are structured. Permalink is the name given to the address of an individual blog post because they are “permanent links”. For example, the web address for this sample blog is https://andy.domains.unf.edu. The link to the first post (you’ll have to scroll a bit to see it), titled “Hello World” may be structured in many ways.
So https://andy.domains.unf.edu/?p=1 or https://andy.domains.unf.edu/uncategorized/hello-world/ both get you to that blog post, but the first example is not a very informative link and the second one is a bit long. With WordPress, you have many options to form the links to posts, and you can change them to make them more simple. To change the permalink structure, start by going to the Dashboard.
Next, go to Settings > Permalinks.
As you can see, there are several choices under Common Settings. A popular choice is to use the Post name choice, which is a bit more informative. So our post titled “Hello World” will have an address of https://andy.domains.unf.edu/hello-world/.
If you want to have the date as part of the address, you can choose Day and name or Month and name. You can also change the structure of category and tag names under the Optional section.
Finally, when you write a blog post, you have the option of editing the permalink for an individual post. Just click the Edit button (underneath the Title field).
Then type in whatever is appropriate (and hasn’t been used yet). Generally you want to make it as simple and short a word, or words, as makes sense. You could try https://andy.domains.unf.edu/welcome/
Building a Custom Menu
Start at your site’s Dashboard and choose Appearance the Menus.
In the Custom Menus interface that appears, type a name for your menu. This can be anything you want. It doesn’t get displayed anywhere; it’s used by WordPress to identify and place your menu. Once you’ve typed the name, click Create Menu.
You’ll now be presented with a screen that includes a section titled Menu Settings. This is where you’ll indicate where you want your menu to appear in your theme. The number of locations available depends entirely upon the theme you choose. In the example shown below, there are two areas available; we’ve chosen to place the menu in the Top primary menu area which we know corresponds to the header menu. You may need to experiment a bit in order to find out where your menu will appear in your theme. You can always change this location later by coming back here and clicking the Manage Locations tab.
Now that you’ve set up your menu and assigned it to a location, you can begin to add links to it. On the left-hand side of the screen, you’ll see what content is available to add. On the right-hand side of the screen, in the Menu Structure area, you can arrange and organize your links.
By default, you may not see everything that is available to you to add to your menu. For example, posts can be added to menus, but they’re not usually displayed by default. To make more content available, click the Screen Options tab at the top of your WordPress screen, and then click off the check boxes that correspond to additional content.
To add content to your menu, simply check it off on the left, and click the Add to Menu button.
Your new content will appear on the right, and you can drag items in the order you want them to appear. Drag items to the right to indent them under other items. This will usually make them appear as drop-down items in your menu.
You can add custom links to your menu by clicking the Links section on the left. In the short form that appears, enter your link’s URL, and a text for the link. Click Add to Menu to move it to the left.
Note that you can change the link text of any item you add to your menu. This can be helpful if you have a page with a long title, and you’d like the link to not take up so much space. You can abbreviate the title in the Navigation Label section, and that shorter text will become the actual menu link.
When you are done, make sure you click Save Menu.
Other Notes about Menus
When you add a Category or Tag to a menu, the link will take your readers to an archive of all the posts on your site that use that category or tag. This can be a very useful feature for organizing your content when you’re using posts to share your work.
In addition to assigning Custom Menus to theme areas, there is a default Custom Menu widget that you can put in the sidebar of your site. This is useful for creating smaller, customized navigation for your site.
If you forget to click Save Menu after making changes to your menu location or content, you will lose your work!
Widgets are a more advanced feature of WordPress that allow you even more control over the content on your site. In essence, widgets are small containers of content that can be placed in various areas of your site. Where you can place widgets depends entirely on the theme you are using. Many (most) themes include at least one “sidebar” into which you can place widgets. Some themes include additional “widget” areas. The best way to find out what areas are available to you is to go to Appearance > Customize > Widgets and take a look at the areas listed on the left. Each widget area will appear on your site as a box on the right. In the example of the UNF Faculty theme, it contains a widget area called Sidebar.
You will see a number of widgets available to you. WordPress comes with some default widgets. Other widgets might become available when you have a particular theme activated. Finally, some plugins provide additional widgets to you.
Widgets can present all different kinds of information. The simplest widgets allow you to add text to your site. But you’ll also find widgets with many options that you can set to display dynamic content or to interact with other services. Below is a list of the default widgets available in WordPress.
When you’re ready to start using widgets, all you need to do is go into the widget (such as Sidebar) and then click the Add a Widget button. Click the Widget you want to add and then click Save & Publish at the top. WordPress will then display your new widgets.
Archives: Shows a monthly listing of your posts.
Calendar: Shows a calendar view of your posts.
Categories: Shows a list of all of the categories on your site.
Custom Menu: Shows a custom menu that you’ve set up with WordPress’ Custom Menu interface.
Links: Shows your links.
Meta: Shows links to your RSS feed and your login.
Pages: Shows a menu of all of your pages.
Recent Comments: Shows the most recent comments on your posts.
Recent Posts: Shows your most recent posts.
RSS: Allows you to show content from an RSS feed.
Search: Provides your users with a search box.
Tag Cloud: Shows a “cloud” of the tags/categories on your site.
Text: Allows you to type text into the widget.
WordPress is a platform intended to allow you to share your thoughts and ideas freely and easily with the world. However, there are options to publish to a more limited audience.
The first way is to limit who can find your website. That is done by keeping search engines, like Google, from seeing (known as indexing) your site.
To do this, we’ll start at the Dashboard.
Navigate to Settings > Reading.
Normally the box next to Search Engine Visibility is unchecked. If you decide to check the box, it will “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.” It will depend on the search engine to honor your “request”. Some search engines will simply ignore it. Obviously this is not a sure-fire way of keeping your blog private.
You also have options on individual posts to keep them private, so that only people who are logged in to your site can view a given post. You can also password protect posts with a password you supply. Choose the Private radio button to keep a post hidden behind the login, or choose the Password protected button and then type in the password you wish to use. Click on OK when you are finished. Then be sure you click the Update button to save your post with the new settings.
There is a plugin called More Privacy Options that allows you to fine-tune privacy settings on your site.
What makes WordPress a powerful platform is that not only can you create a dynamic website, but you can also allow dynamic discussions about the content with your visitors. Comments, the bread and butter of the discussion, can add to the overhead of your website management. You have to keep up with responses to your commenters or they will think you aren’t paying attention. Comments also can come, unfortunately, in the form of Spam. We will give you some additional information about dealing with spam in another section. For now, here’s how to manage your Discussion Settings.
Start at the Dashboard.
Navigate to Settings > Discussion.
The two main forms of discussion on a website are enclosed – “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)” and “Allow people to post comments on new articles”.
Comments are self-explanatory. People come to your website, read an article, and as long as you allow comments, people can write whatever is on their mind. Commenters must leave their name and email address (if you leave that setting checked). You can also require users to be registered to your site to comment. They would then need to be logged in to submit any comments. By default you will get an email sent to the admin account of the WordPress site when someone posts a comment, or when a comment is held in moderation. You can uncheck those boxes if you do not wish to receive those emails.
A comment will appear on the article (post or page) only after you approve it. If you have approved a comment author once, they will be automatically approved the next time they leave a comment on your site. If you uncheck the box labeled “Comment author must have a previously approved comment”, then all comments will appear automatically. We don’t recommend this setting.
You also have some control over comment moderation regarding how many links a comment contains (spammers like to put links in their “comments”). You also can filter out words, URLs, email addresses, to hold them in moderation. You can then approve them, spam them, or trash them.
There are also forms of discussion called link notifications. Spammers like these too. Here’s an article on the What, Why, and How-To’s of Trackbacks and Pingbacks in WordPress.
Sometimes it’s nice to have visual representations of the people who are commenting on your blog. These are called Avatars and can be found under Settings > Discussion.
WordPress uses a common universal system of avatars called Gravatars (Globally Recognized Avatars). The system requires you to sign up with your email address. You can upload a graphical representation of yourself (a picture or other graphic). From then on you are identified with your Gravatar on any blog that you use that email address with.
In the WordPress Discussion Settings, you have a few options. Whether to show Avatars at all, the “rating” allowed to be shown, and what the default Avatar will be if a user does not have a Gravatar.
iOS & Android App
When it comes to WordPress, customizing the look of your site is relatively simple and straightforward. We have built a UNF Faculty Template which includes two UNF-styled themes. If the themes included in the template (UNF Faculty & Faculty Domains 2017) don’t meet your needs, you can activate another theme (such as Twenty Sixteen or Twenty Fifteen) on your site or install a completely new one.
Start at your site’s Dashboard.
Navigate to Appearance > Themes.
You will see thumbnail images representing each of the themes that you currently have available on your site. Simply mouse over any one of them, and click the Activate link.
That’s all you need to do to change the look of your site with a new theme.
If none of the themes that were provided when you installed WordPress are what you’re looking for, you can always search for and install other themes from the WordPress Theme Repository.
Navigate to Appearance > Themes.
Click on the Add New Button.
On the Add Themes page you will search for the type of them you want. There are a few menu items to help you see the various themes that are available. The choices are Featured, Popular, Latest, which are pretty self explanatory. If you have a WordPress.com account and have browsed themes there, and themes that you have marked as favorites will be available to select on your personal WordPress site. You can also check the “Feature Filter” to narrow down your choices. You can choose from different Layouts, Features, or Subjects.
Under the thumbnail picture of each theme (when you hover your mouse over the theme) are three choices –Details & Preview, Install and Preview. Clicking Install will add a new theme to your site.
After you install the theme, it is still not active on your site. You will need to click the Activate button to use it.
Once activated, your site will be using the new theme. Visit your site’s homepage to view your new theme.
22.214.171.124.Using the UNF Faculty Template
With UNF Faculty Domains we have built a custom template, called UNF Faculty Template, that is selected by default. It consists of a UNF-styled theme and some recommended plugins. We highly recommend you choose the UNF Faculty Template because it will give you a great head start toward building your website and you will still be able to customize the theme and add plugins later.
When you install WordPress on UNF Faculty Domains, the option for installing the UNF Faculty Template is already selected for you. As you follow the WordPress installation process, you get to a section that has the following screen:
Notice that UNF Faculty Template is selected in the screenshot image above. There is no need to change this if you want to use the template. Refer to the Installing WordPress documentation for the full context of where the template selection step occurs.
Now that your WordPress site is installed, you can now start configuring your site. You need to be in the administrative area, also known as the WordPress Dashboard to make changes to your site and to add content. Again refer to the Installing WordPress documentation to get to the admin area of your site. The admin screen, again known as the dashboard, looks like this:
To see the themes that are installed, mouse over the word Appearance in the dashboard menu and then click on Themes.
You then see several themes on view including the two UNF themes. The UNF Faculty theme will be listed as Active.
If you hover the mouse over the Faculty Domains 2017 theme icon (the one right next to the UNF Faculty theme), you will see an Activate button. You can click that button to make Faculty Domains 2017 the Active theme.
Both of these themes have been customized with some settings and also the UNF logos. Whichever theme you choose, you can click on the Customize button of the active theme to modify them further. You can also choose the Appearance > Customize menu option in the dashboard.
A quick note about the other themes. The UNF Faculty theme is based on another theme that’s available in the template called Superhero. You can switch to this theme, but it won’t have the UNF style. The Faculty Domains 2017 is based on the Twenty Seventeen theme. Again, it’s the plain version of the theme without the UNF colors and logos. Those UNF themes are known as “child themes” and they are dependent on the “parent” themes (Superhero and Twenty Seventeen). In general, you can delete themes you’re not using, but DO NOT delete the parent themes of the UNF themes. They are required for the child themes.
There are two other themes listed – Twenty Sixteen and Twenty Fifteen. They are more plain but certainly can be configured in many ways. By the way, the “Twenty” themes are created by WordPress every year when they release a new version of the WordPress software. They don’t exactly coincide, but it’s close.
If you want to delete a theme (again DON’T delete the parent themes), the theme needs to not be the active theme. Hover over the theme thumbnail preview and click Theme Details. In the lower right corner you should see a Delete button. Click it and you will then be asked “Are you sure you want to delete this theme?” Click the OK button and the theme will be deleted (uninstalled).
126.96.36.199.UNF Faculty Theme
This theme is a child of the Superhero theme. Use it to give your blog a clean look with bright pops of color. It uses a UNF-styled header including a UNF osprey logo. It includes page templates where you can add a CV, as well as a course, research, and service page.
188.8.131.52.Faculty Domains 2017 Theme
The Faculty Domains 2017 theme is a child of the WordPress Twenty Seventeen theme. It features multiple sections on the front page as well as widgets, navigation and social menus, a logo, and more. It has an asymmetrical grid with a custom color scheme. It is a good choice to showcase your multimedia content with post formats. It works great in many languages, for any abilities, and on any device.
One of the first things you might want to do is change the background image of your site. The default image is a blue gradient background.
First, make sure that the Faculty Domains 2017 theme is the Active theme. In your WordPress Dashboard go to Appearance > Themes. It should be the upper-left most theme and it should be labeled “Active: Faculty Domains 2017“. If it isn’t find the theme and click on the Activate button. Once it’s activated, click on the Customize button.
Choose the Header Media menu item. You can follow the instructions here, but under the Header Image area, the Current header shows the blue gradient image. Click the button just below it labeled Add new image. You’ll be brought to the Choose Image screen with the Media Library displayed. To choose and image from your computer, select the Upload Files tab. Click the Select Files button in the middle of the screen. Note the suggested size for the image is 2000 × 1200 pixels. Select the file from your computer and choose Open. When the image finishes uploading, click the Select and Crop button in the lower right corner. Some or all of the image will be selected, indicated by a dotted rectangle. Adjust the cropping as you like, or just choose the Crop Image button if you like the selection. You should now see your image in full glory as the Current Header. Finally click the Save & Publish button in the upper left.
The new site might look like this now:
WordPress has a lot of functionality built-in, but occasionally you might find a specific need that isn’t a part of the default software. To accomplish this, WordPress has a plugin architecture where developers can create plugins that add additional functionality to your site. From simple photo galleries to site statistics, to automatic Twitter and Facebook sharing of posts, there is practically a plugin for whatever you need for your site. To start using and installing plugins just follow these simple instructions:
While viewing your WordPress dashboard, click on the Plugins menu item.
You will be given a list of all your currently installed plugins.
From this menu you are able to activate and disable specified plugins by using either the single plugin options located under each plugin name. Or you may use the bulk action drop down menu to simultaneously activate/disable multiple plugins by checking desired plugins
Additionally you may also view the Active or Inactive plugins using the sorting options above the bulk action menu.
- To install a new plugin click the Add New button at the top of the Plugins page or from the sidebar plugin menu. You will then be redirected to the WordPress Plugin Repository where you can search for additional plugins. – For example searching “photo gallery” brings up various plugins from different developers.
- Once you find your desired plugin, click the Install Now button, which will automatically install the plugin and prompt you if you would like to activate it now or return to the menu.
After installing your plugin, be sure to visit the developers’ website if you have any additional questions about how the plugin works, as some plugins may require certain codes or other actions to be used properly.
Some plugins will have their own settings page located under the Settings menu, other plugins will break out their own menu item on the Dashboard. The best way to understand how to use a plugin is to make sure you’ve read the documentation available on the plugin’s website as every plugin behaves differently and sometimes it won’t be explicit how the plugin interacts with your website.
184.108.40.206.UNF Faculty Template Plugins
For the UNF Faculty Template WordPress installation we have selected a few plugins that will come in handy right away. Below is what the Plugin page should look like after you have installed the Template:
Descriptions of the installed plugins:
- Akismet – This is the standard anti-spam plugin and will help you keep your site tidy and relatively spam-free. This plugin will automatically recognize unwanted comments on your blog as spam and filter them out. Unfortunately, blogs are kind of like email accounts. People (spam-bots) try to add comments to your website so they can get more links to their site. Spam blockers like Akismet help to automate the management of blog spam. It will even learn from the spam you get and refine itself so you’ll more easily remove unwanted spam and let legitimate comments through – with your approval of course. You can read more about blog spam in the article How to Identify and Control Blog Comment Spam. Akismet is free to use for non-commercial purposes. You’ll need what’s known as a API Key (kind of like a license code) for to use Akismet.
- Cookies for Comments – This is a plugin that essentially checks to see whether a commenter on your website is a spam-bot or not. A spam-bot (spam robot) will look for an easy way to submit a comment. Cookies for Comments will help detect a spam-bot and immediately move the comment to the spam area. In concert with Akismet this plugin helps eliminate dealing with spam comments. For more information, read the article How to Reduce WordPress Comment Spam with Cookies for Comments.
- Limit Login Attempts – So not only are their spam-bots out there, but also bots that try to gain access to your site. They’ll try to guess your username and password multiple times to see if they get in. That is why you first need to use a strong username and password. Limit Login Attempts will then limit the number of tries you have to get the username and password right. So you might think, well if people are trying all sorts of usernames and passwords on my site this we’ll prevent me from logging in right? No, because it checks what computer on the Internet is trying to access the login. It checks to see what IP address (the unique computer Internet number – every one is unique) the login is coming from and allows a total of 4 tries before it locks out the ability to login. This plugin, along with strong usernames and passwords, Really Simple SSL (below), and the Wordfence Security plugin (also below) will keep you site very secure.
- Really Simple SSL – Hackers either try to guess at logins or they try to capture information as it travels over the Internet or WiFi connections. Really Simple SSL will add strong encryption to your site to make it secure. In other words hackers won’t be able to look at streams of data trying to find usernames and passwords (or credit card & social security numbers) embedded in that data. It sets up a private connection between your visitor and your website, that way the visitor can be confident that any information they submit won’t be intercepted. This is obviously most important for sites that are selling things and taking credit card and other information. It will also help your Google search engine ranking. Visitors must use a web browser that supports SSL and HTTPS, but all the modern browsers do. You can read more about Why HTTPS Matters and How to Use SSL and HTTPS with WordPress.
- Subscribe To Comments – Subscribe to Comments is a plugin that enables commenters to sign up for e-mail notification of subsequent entries. This allows you to be notified if there is further conversations about a blog post.
- Wordfence Security – This is a multipurpose security plugin. This free version provides basic protections from hackers and detects various security issues on your site. It notifies you which IP addresses are trying to gain access to you site, and allows you to block those addresses. The Introduction to WordPress Security article, and the WordPress Security Learning Center are great resources for keeping your WordPress site secure.
- WordPress Importer – This plugin will allow you to import WordPress content (posts, pages, comments, etc.) from one WordPress site to another. For example, let’s say you’ve had a WordPress.com site for a while, but now you want to take advantage of the additional capabilities that a hosted WordPress site offers. You would export your content from your WordPress.com site, and then install the full WordPress software using your web hosting company, and then import your content into the new site.
One more plugin that we highly recommend is the JetPack plugin. It is a Swiss Army knife plugin that provides lots of capabilities for managing your site. We don’t install it by default because it does have a lot of moving parts, and so it’s best installed after you have used the WordPress system for a little while. We’ll have a separate document to describe some of its capabilities soon.
Finally, it is a good idea to have a WordPress.com account if you don’t have one already. You’ll need it to activate the Akismet plugin, and will be necessary to use the JetPack plugin as well.
Omeka is an open-source web application that can be used to create and display online digital collections. Developed by programmers at George Mason University, Omeka was designed to be user-friendly, both during installation and setup and during daily usage.
Example Site using Omeka – https://www.floridamemory.com/
To install Omeka, use these simple steps:
Login to your control panel (https://domains.unf.edu/dashboard) using your UNF username and password.
Once logged in you’ll be at the homepage of your cPanel (control panel). Navigate to the Applications section of the cPanel then select Omeka.
To begin the install click install this application in the upper-righthand corner.
On the next page the installer will ask for some information about this install. The first thing you’ll want to do is decide where to install it. If you’re wanting to install Omeka on your main domain, you can leave the directory area empty. If you created a subdomain, you can select it from the dropdown menu. You also have the option of installing Omeka in a subfolder by typing in the folder name in the Directory field. Click here for more information about subdomains and subdirectories.
By default the installer will automatically backup your website and update it anytime a new version comes out. While we recommend you keep this option, it is possible to only do minor updates, or turn them off completely. The installer will also create a database for you automatically, but if you’ve already created one for this website you can choose Let me manage the database settings and enter the details. Click Install to continue.
The installer will take just a few moments to install Omeka and a progress bar will keep you updated. When it is complete you will see a link to your new Omeka site as well as a link to the backend administrative section for your Omeka site. Click the website link to configure your new Omeka installation.
When you visit your new Omeka installation for the first time, you will be taken to the site configuration page. Enter a Username, Password, and Email for the administrative superuser (i.e. yourself).
Under “Site Settings,” enter an Administrator Email and a Site Title. The Administrator email is the address that messages from the system (e.g. forgot password email reminder) will appear to come from. The Site Title will appear at the top of your visitors’ browser windows.
Further down the Site Settings page are several numerical settings; you may leave these at the defaults if you are new to Omeka. When you are done making changes, click the Install button to submit the configuration page and proceed.
Congratulations! Omeka is now installed. Use the buttons to either proceed to the Public Site, or to begin adding content, go to the Admin Dashboard.
Installing Plugins & Themes
There are a variety of plugins that enable additional functionality in Omeka, and a variety of themes to change the look and feel of your Omeka site. All the plugins available for Omeka and their descriptions can be found on their Plugins Add-Ons Directory. A list of themes is available on their Omeka Theme Directory.
Reclaim Hosting has a post on their forum that demonstrates how to install plugins as well as themes.
You can learn how to use this application in the official Omeka Support Documentation. This support guide will help you get started and begin creating your Omeka site.
Scalar is a free, open source authoring and publishing platform that’s designed to make it easy for authors to write long-form, born-digital scholarship online. Scalar enables users to assemble media from multiple sources and juxtapose them with their own writing in a variety of ways, with minimal technical expertise required. To install Scalar, use these simple steps:
Login to your control panel (https://domains.unf.edu/dashboard) using your UNF username and password.
Once logged in you’ll be at the homepage of your cPanel (control panel). Navigate to the Applications section of the cPanel then select Scalar.
To begin the install click install this application in the upper-righthand corner.
On the next page the installer will ask for some information about this install. The first thing you’ll want to do is decide where to install it. If you’re wanting to install Scalar on your main domain, you can leave the directory area empty. If you created a subdomain, you can select it from the dropdown menu. You also have the option of installing Scalar in a subfolder by typing in the folder name in the Directory field. Click here for more information about subdomains and subdirectories.
By default the installer will automatically backup your website and update it anytime a new version comes out. While we recommend you keep this option, it is possible to only do minor updates, or turn them off completely. The installer will also create a database for you automatically, but if you’ve already created one for this website you can choose Let me manage the database settings and enter the details. Click Install to continue.
The installer will take just a few moments to install Scalar and a progress bar will keep you updated. When it is complete you will see a link to your new Scalar site as well as a link to the backend administrative login screen for your Scalar site. Click the website link to configure your new Scalar installation.
When you visit the website, you should see a sign in link. Use the email and password that you used when installing the application. You will then be presented with your Scalar main page. You are now ready to use Scalar to create and publish your book.
Once you’ve finished the Scalar installation process and have signed in, you can learn how to use this application in the official Scalar 2 User Guide. This support guide will help you get started and begin creating your Scalar site. Since you have already created an account, you can begin with the section on Creating Your First Book.
4.1.Accessing Your Files through the File Manager
Your UNF Faculty Domains cPanel includes a File Manager that allows you to interact directly with the files stored in your web hosting account. This can be useful if you want to upload software that cannot be automatically installed via the Applications section of your cPanel, if you need to change the name or permissions of a file or group or files, or if you want to edit a plain text file. To access your files via the File Manager, use these steps:
Login to UNF Faculty Domains with your UNF username and password.
Once logged in you’ll be at the homepage of your cPanel. The File Manager application is in the Files section.
Click the File Manager icon to open the program. On the left side of the “File Manager” window, you’ll see a navigation menu containing the file structure of your web hosting account. More information about the contents of these files and folders can be found in the “File Structures and the File Manager” documentation in this knowledge base.
In the navigation menu, choose the public_html option. This will take you directly into the folder that contains the files associated with your website(s). You’ll notice your current location (the public_html folder) is bolded and highlighted in this menu. Click the [+] (expand) icon next to a folder to see what subfolders it contains, or click on the name of the folder to view all of its contents in the file browser on the right side of the page. You can also navigate through the folders in your account by double-clicking on them in the file browser on the right side of the File Manager page.
To select an item, click once on its icon in the file browser. You can also use the “Select All” button above the file browser, or your computer’s keyboard shortcuts (Shift, Command, Control, etc), to select multiple items from this list.
Depending on what you have selected, different options will be available to you in the action menu across the top of the “File Manager” page. If you have selected a folder, for example, you can “Rename” it or “Change Permissions” on it, but do not edit it using the Code Editor or HTML Editor.
If you know exactly what location you want to skip to within your web hosting account, you can type it into the box directly above the navigation menu and click Go.
Alternatively, if you know the exact name of the file or folder you are looking for, but not its location, you can use the Search box to find it.
4.2.File Structures and the File Manager
Web hosting is, at it’s basic core, files and folders on a computer that is connected to the internet and setup to distribute them. How that computer (typically a server) is setup to do that is covered more in LAMP Environments but this article will explain the idea of the file structure and how it relates to what you view on your domain.
When you signed up for your domain a web hosting account was created. Although you typically will interact mostly with the web interface to create subdomains, install applications, and other common tasks, you might occasionally also need to work directly with the files in your account. The File Manager in your cPanel is one way to see these files. You can also create an FTP account in cPanel and use an FTP program to interact with these files (FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and it’s a way of using a desktop client to transfer files to and from your Web server space).
Let’s take a look at the File Manager built into your cPanel to get a better understanding of the file structure that makes up your website(s).
Login to cPanel with your UNF username and password.
Click on the File Manager in the Files section.
You’ll notice when the File Manager opens up that this looks very much like a folder on your computer. There are a few folders in it as well as files, and you can navigate down into those folders and see what’s inside of them. At the top level of the File Manager you also have the option of interacting with files and folders you select by moving them around or removing them. Refer ri the article Accessing Your Files through the File Manager to learn how the interface works.
By default you have a variety of folders at the root of your web space (the first screen you see when you open up the file manager). Some of them are created automatically to store information about the panel and setup of certain sites. These folders are things like access-logs, etc, ssl, and tmp. You can safely ignore most of those folders because they don’t correspond to actual websites. Let’s look at which folders do and how it all works.
Your main domain, mydomain.com, corresponds with a folder called “public_html.” Whatever files and folders are inside of this folder are available at that domain. If you installed WordPress here you’ll likely see a lot of WordPress-related files within it (which were probably helpfully put there by the automated installer). Let’s say we uploaded an image called mypicture.jpg into the public_html folder. That image would now be available at mydomain.com/mypicture.jpg. The slash after your domain implies “this file is inside this folder”. But what if we had a folder inside the public_html folder? How does that appear? This is typically called a subfolder so let’s put a folder in public_html called “images” and put our image, mypicture.jpg, inside of that folder. What would you type in a browser to get to that file now? The location would be mydomain.com/images/mypicture.jpg. So subfolders are also indicated by a forward slash after a domain.
What about subdomains? If you purchased a personal domain, you can have completely separate sites called subdomains that appear as nameofsubdomain.mydomain.com. But where are they in the file structure? When you created your subdomain the control panel asked you to give the folder a name. If I had a subdomain called photos.mydomain.com for example, I might want to name the folder “photos” (by default your control panel will call the folder by the name of the subdomain). Folders for subdomains are located inside the public_html folder. So when you go to the File Manager and navigate to public_html you’ll see folders listed for all of your subdomains and once you navigate inside one of those folders you’ll see files and folders specifically for that subdomain that appear on the web at that subdomain’s address.
The File Manager in your control panel is great to view these files and folders, but it can be limiting if you want to upload an entire folder of information to your website. If you find yourself wanting to do more with the files and folders on your web space you can download an FTP program like Filezilla or Cyberduck and connect to your website by creating an FTP account in your control panel (also located in the Websites and Domains tab). An FTP program will allow you to upload and download an unlimited number of files and folders quickly.
4.3.Setting Up FTP
There may be times when you need to place files onto your space on your web server. There are a number of scenarios when this might be necessary:
You’re working with an application that allows you to install plugins/extensions, but the files need to be manually moved to the server in order to add them. (Note: This is NOT required with WordPress which allows you to install plugins through the backend in your browser.)
You’ve developed a custom site/pages using a web design program, and you need to upload the files you created to the server
You’re installing an application that isn’t part of the applications in Installatron.
One way to upload files is by using the File Manager that is part of cPanel. However, sometimes you’ll find it easier/necessary to use FTP, or File Transfer Protocol, to move files to the server. This can be particularly useful if you’re working with a Web space where you’re not the owner (so you don’t have access to the File Manager in cPanel) or if you need to provide file access to someone else to your space on the Web server.
What exactly is FTP?
File Transfer Protocol is a method that allows you to remotely move files to a Web server from another location – usually your local/personal computer. Using a pre-defined FTP account (with a username and password), you can configure an FTP client (a program you run on your computer that allows you to transfer files via FTP.
There are lots of FTP clients that you can use; some are free and some are not. A few free ones you might consider:
For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll show you how to set up FTP in FileZilla, but you should be able to generalize these instructions to use in any FTP client.
Get Information about Your FTP Account
If you’re FTPing to your own space on the web server, or if you’re setting up an FTP account for someone else to use to FTP to your space, you’ll need to start by getting information about the FTP credentials from cPanel:
Login to UNF Faculty Domains with your UNF username and password.
Locate the FTP Accounts icon in the Files area.
You’ll have the option to create a new FTP account, or you can scroll down the page to find the credentials for the default FTP account. If you want to create an account, fill out the Add FTP Account form with a username and password. By default, the new FTP account will be limited to a directory with the same name as the account you’re creating. You can change this to a different directory, if you want to grant this account access to a different location. NOTE: Make sure you know/remember the password you enter. When you’re done, click Create FTP Account.
Once you’ve created the new account, you’ll see it appear in the list at the bottom of the FTP Accounts page. In addition to any accounts you’ve created, in the Special FTP Accounts section, you’ll see the default FTP Account. You’ll know this account because the username corresponds to your cPanel username. This FTP account has full privileges to access any space on your Web server.
For whichever account you need credentials for, click the Configure FTP Client link.
Write down the username, server, and port information that appears. You will need to use this (or you will need to provide this to the person you are giving FTP access) along with the password you created above in order to configure your FTP client.
Configure FTP in Your FTP Client
4.4.Setting Up Subdomains
A subdomain is one way of organizing and separating content on your site. It is not likely you will create a subdomain in a standard UNF Faculty Domains account (one that has an address that ends with domains.unf.edu). However, if you purchase your own personal domain, you may want to create one or several subdomains.
To create a subdomain, use the following steps:
Login to UNF Domains with your UNF username and password to access your cPanel.
Once logged in you’ll be at the homepage of your cPanel (control panel). In the Domains section you will see the Subdomains icon.
Click the Subdomains icon. You will then be taken to the Subdomains page.
Choose a name for your subdomain and type it into the Subdomain box. As with any domain name (such as unf.edu), subdomains can only contain numbers, letters, and hyphens, and the best subdomains are simple, short, and descriptive.
Once you’ve typed in a name, cPanel will automatically populate the Document root field for you. This will create a folder to contain your subdomain’s files. You’ll usually want this folder to match the name of your subdomain, so it’s easy to identify where different files live in your account. You might want to change the document root if you already have a folder in your account that has the same name as the subdomain you are trying to create, although this should be rare. Once you’re done, click Create.
If everything went well, you should see a message that your subdomain was created successfully. Your subdomain will now be available as an option for automatic installation of various software (WordPress, Omeka, etc). If you prefer to install web applications manually, you can do so in the document root (folder).
5.1.What Exactly is a Web Application?
In the most general terms, a web application is a piece of software that runs on a web server. A web server is a just a specialized computer designed to host web pages.
Most web applications are comprised of two components: files and a database. When you install a Web application, you will need to make sure all of the files are copied over into the appropriate location AND that a database (and database user) has been set up to connect to those files. Often, you will have to do some configuration to make sure the application knows how to access the database.
The system we use for UNF Faculty Domains uses a special script installer called Installatron (in cPanel). When you use Installatron, you don’t need to worry about moving files, creating databases, or doing the initial configuration. It’s all taken care of for you. You can find out more about Installatron here.
In order to run on the UNF Faculty Domains server, web applications must be able to run on a LAMP server, which is the particular kind of web server that we use. Occasionally, a web application may require additional components or modules that need to be installed on the server.
5.2.Static and Dynamic Websites
In the early days of the Web, almost all web sites were what is known as
'static sites.' Content (text, images, video, audio, etc), was placed or embedded in a file in which HTML tags were used to format it.
The content and the tags lived side-by-side. To edit the page, you’d open up the file (on your own computer) in a program capable of editing HTML files and make changes to either the content or the presentation. Every page had to be edited individually, even if the edits you were making were for common elements that appeared on many pages (like menu bars).
From a technical perspective, accessing a static web site is fairly straightforward. When your computer is connected to the Internet, you can use a web browser to access files on a web server (as long as you know the address). The web server delivers the contents of those files to your browser, and your browser displays them.
Over time, as the web became more sophisticated, new systems emerged for creating and managing web sites. These moved beyond the model of having content and HTML tags live in a simple HTML page which your browser accessed and displayed. Instead, these systems were web applications – software that literally runs on the web server and makes it possible to manage a web site, often with very sophisticated features. One feature of these applications is that they separate content and presentation by storing most content (your text, images, etc) and data about the site (the title, options, etc). in a database.
On the web server, the web application installs files that are written in some kind of programming language. The server reads this code and obeys any requests in it to access data in the database (which lives on a separate server) and displays it according to the instructions in the code.
Essentially, the data for the site (living in a series of tables in a database on the database server) is entirely separate from the actual presentation of the site (living in the code of the programmed files on the web server). Special software on both the web server and the database server enable the two to speak to each other and work together.
One of the benefits of using a web application is that you usually don’t need to touch (or even look at!) the code in order to make changes to your content. In addition, editing the site usually involves accessing some kind of control panel through your web browser and filling out a form, instead of having to download and access files in software on your own computer.
Dynamic vs Static Content
Sometimes when we talk about the difference between dynamic and static content we get bogged down in the idea of whether or not the content is “fresh” (dynamic, regularly updated) or “old” (static, never updated). How frequently you update your content has nothing to do with what kind of system you are using to manage your site. You can manage a static web site (as described above) and update the content every day. You can also have a dynamic web site (running something like WordPress) and never change the content after you create it.
Generally speaking, it IS easier to regularly update content on a dynamic web site because the Web application just makes it easier. Sometimes, even when you just want a very basic page or placeholder, it’s easier to install a web application (and only put up a single page) then to manually create an HTML page and upload it.
A Side Note about Separating Content from Presentation: Style Sheets
Another aspect of separating content from presentation involves the use of
'Cascading Style Sheets' (CSS). These are special files that live on your web server and are linked to your web pages. They contain information (written in a special markup language) about how to make elements on your site look. They allow you, for example, to define in a single location what all Level 1 Headings look like on your site. They are an important aspect of understanding how to separate content from presentation, but they’re not really an aspect of the difference between static and dynamic sites. Both static and dynamic sites can use style sheets.
When you sign up for UNF Domains, you get space on a web host that is associated with the project. There are a few things you need to know about the Web host that will make it easier to understand what you can do with your new space.
The Web Server
The web server is the main computer that is associated with the UNF Faculty Domains hosting account. It’s a computer that has special software on it that allows it to be accessible via the Web. The files that run your applications, images or video you upload, or any other files you upload into your web space are stored on this server.
(For comparison’s sake, your desktop or laptop computer, by default, doesn’t allow this; I can’t access files on your computer through a web browser by default. You CAN actually install web server software on your own computer, essentially making your files accessible over the web.)
In order to run, a web server has an operating system installed and some kind of web server software. The UNF Faculty Domains server runs the
'LINUX' operating system and an
'APACHE' Web server.
The Database Server
In addition to the web server, there is also an associated database server. This is another computer, but it is configured with software that allows it to host databases. It is also connected to your web server so that your applications (hosted on the web server) can retrieve data (from databases hosted on the database server).
Databases come in LOTS of varieties. The kind of database you can use for a web application depends on the kind of software that’s installed on the database server. The UNF Faculty Domains server can run
The Programming Language
When you install open-source software on your web account, it’s going to be written in some programming language. Your web server has software installed on it that allows it to understand different languages. If you install software that’s written in a language that your web server doesn’t read, it won’t work.
The UNF Domains server has software installed on it that allows it to understand
Add it Together: LAMP
If you take a look at all the descriptions above, you can determine that we are running what is known as a LAMP server for domains.unf.edu:
Linux (operating system)
Apache (Web server)
MySQL (database server)
PHP/PERL/PYTHON (programming language)
Applications that are written for LAMP environments will, presumably, run on the server. HOWEVER, some applications do require additional extensions or libraries that aren’t included, by default, in a LAMP environment. The applications you can install via Installatron (in cPanel) should work just fine.
What makes LAMP environments special is that all of the component parts are open-source. Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, PERL, and PYTHON are all open-source programs or systems. Anyone can download them (for free) and install them. Anyone can also modify them and redistribute them. As a result, there are lots of online resources for using these systems that have been built by their communities of users. But, also as a result, since you’re not paying for these systems, you can’t just call up a company and ask them to fix a problem.
You may find the video, What is the LAMP Stack, which explains how the LAMP technology “stack” works, useful in further understanding LAMP Web environments.
5.5.What are the technical requirements/limitations?
As we said before, UNF Faculty Domains uses a kind of Web server knowns as a LAMP server. Generally, if you are using applications available to install by default through the UNF Faculty Domains server, you shouldn’t need to worry about these technical details. All of the software that is available for installation (in cPanel) meets the technical requirements.
If you’re interested in finding/installing another application (that isn’t available through our automatic installer tool, known as Installatron), then you’ll have to be sure that the server can support it. To start with, you’ll want to be sure that the Web application can run on a LAMP server. Check the technical requirements for the application to determine this. You’ll also need to do some research about whether there are any additional services or modules required on the server. Some software may require components that aren’t included in the default installation of the LAMP stack. In that case, contact us with details about what you need, and we’ll see what we can do.
5.6.1.Subdomains vs. Subdirectories
When you’re first getting started with a new space on a new web host, you might think of yourself as owning a small “territory” of the Web. Everything you place in your public folder on the server becomes available for anyone on the web to see (assuming they know the address of your site and the files you’ve placed there).
If you’re just putting up a few static HTML pages, which you want to make available to colleagues, friends, or family by sending them links, then working with this large, unorganized space may work. But as soon as you get to the point where you want to organize your site, you’re going to need a new strategy.
Consider this scenario: you want to have a personal blog on your new web space, where you share pictures and short written pieces with family, friends, and colleagues. In addition, you’re working on a large research project that requires you to build a Web-based repository of digital images related to your discipline. You want to use one application (say, WordPress) to manage your personal blog. For your research project, you’ve settled on another open-source application (say, Omeka). Both of these are applications that need to be installed on your web host, but you can’t just put them both at your main domain name – if you did, both sites would quickly experience conflicts and errors. You need to cordon off separate spaces for your different web “properties.”
There are two primary strategies for parceling up your Web space. You can create subdomains or subdirectories. But before you can understand the difference, you need to first understand what we mean when we talk about your root domain.
Let’s say you’ve purchased a new domain for UNF Faculty Domains called yourdomain.com. Anything that is stored at this core URL is considered to be at the root of your domain: Nothing comes before the address or after the address. You can certainly decide that you simply want to have a single site on your web host (say a blog running WordPress), and you can set that blog up at your domain’s root. To get to your site in this scenario, users would simply go to yourdomain.com.
When you want to do more than just have a single site at the root of your site, you need to decide now to organize your space. One way to do so is by setting up subdomains. Think of subdomains as spaces for new sites or applications. You may want to create a landing page at the root of your domain, but create a blog somewhere else, like at blog.yourdomain.com. The blog subdomain could be where you install a WordPress site or other blogging application.
Subdomains serve two purposes: they help to organize the site from a technical perspective, but they also serve as indications to the users that they are in a new/different space. As you work on your site, you’re welcome to create as many subdomains as you like, and in each subdomain you can actually create a distinct, individual web site.
The alternative for organizing your space is to simply set up subdirectories. Consider UNF’s public Web site at http://www.unf.edu. As you browse parts of that site, you’ll notice that the domain changes. When you’re looking at your department web site, say the site for CIRT at http://www.unf.edu/cirt, the URL is no longer just www.unf.edu. Now the address adds a subdirectory – CIRT to the root, indicating that you’re on the part of the site that is dedicated to the CIRT homepage.
Subdirectories function much like file folders on your computer. Instead of creating a blog at blog.yourdomain.com you would place it in a subdirectory called “blog” making the address yourdomain.com/blog. Setting up a subdirectory is really easy. You can create folders on the fly when installing applications (like WordPress), and you can also manually create them in your file browser.
There is one particular issue you need to be aware of. Let’s say you’ve installed WordPress to be your primary blog at yourdomain.com. Later, you decide you want to create another image gallery site on your site, and you want to place it at yourdomain.com/gallery. But, if for some reason you’ve already created a page on your WordPress site called “Gallery” then the url yourdomain.com/gallery will already be taken. If you try to create a subdirectory of the same name, you’ll get a conflict and errors.
Tips & Review
Subdomains are generally a cleaner, more elegant solution to organizing your site. You’re less likely to get conflicts or errors. However, when using subdomains the process is slightly more complicated: You must create subdomains first, before you can install anything in them.
Subdirectories don’t create as pretty URLs as subdomains, but they’re easier to set up. They can, however, result in conflicts with existing Web pages.
As soon as you create subdomains or subdirectories to organize your site, you need to consider how people are going to find them. If you’ve created a new primary blog at blog.yourdomain.com, and someone goes to just yourdomain.com, they won’t see that new site. It is possible to set up redirects to avoid this issue. You can also always create links from pages on one subdomain of your site to another.
If you really just need one site, sometimes installing at the root of your domain is the easiest thing to do, at least as you’re getting started. You can always add more pieces to your territory later with either subdomains or subdirectories.
5.6.2.What is DNS?
Remember back before everyone had computers that fit in their pocket, how companies would ship a book full of phone numbers to your doorstep? We might have known who we were looking for, but we needed to look up phone numbers unless they were your crazy relatives that you learned to memorize. When you get your own domain name, by default it’s nothing more than a shortcut, an address, or (to fit this very imperfect analogy) a phone number. When you type a domain name into the address bar of your browser, someone has to identify it and tell it what to display. That’s where a name server comes in.
A name server is a computer, running as a server, that keeps a record of all the domain names that are associated with it and keeps track of where those domains should go. DNS stands for Domain Name System and the name server for UNF Faculty Domains gives control to it to identify what should be displayed when someone types in your domain. Consider the fact that you might have one or more subdomains in your account. The name server and DNS are able to identify those subdomains and let the world wide web know that they exist and point to some files/folders on a computer somewhere.
When you signed up for a domain through the UNF Faculty Domains system your name servers were chosen for you. So when people type in your address, the server responds with information about your account. When you migrate an account away from one hosting platform like UNF Faculty Domains and onto a new service, it will require you to change the name servers so that your domain name points to a new server with its own files and structure. It’s also possible to have subdomains that point to entirely different servers than UNF Faculty Domains.
5.6.3.What is Domain Mapping?
Domain mapping, simply put, is deciding where visitors should be directed when they visit various pieces of your website. Domains and subdomains can be mapped directly to folders located within your webhosting account, where you may have installed WordPress, Omeka, MediaWiki, or other web applications. Domains and subdomains can also be mapped to some third-party providers.