cPanel, Suggestions for Class instructors

If you're an instructor who would like to use cPanel campus web hosting with your class, the following suggestions may help you and your students create class-related sites more smoothly.

cPanel can be a helpful resource for class instructors who would like for their students to have a free space to create web-based content, learn interface design and content management, work with database-driven websites, and/or try programming languages such as Ruby or Python.

Would you like to have easy access to your students' class-related sites and files? Consider becoming a cPanel reseller.

(There's no money involved; "reseller" is cPanel's term for people who have the ability to manage smaller groups within the entire campus' cPanel site collection.)

If you sign up as a campus reseller, you'll gain the following benefits:

  • Access to a monthly meeting of all campus resellers, where you can discuss issues and share guidance
  • A unique "support code" which your students can use to create their class accounts within your reseller group
  • The ability to log in to student sites created within that reseller group, to help them troubleshoot issues with their class sites

However, being a reseller is not a requirement; you could decide that you don't want to be involved in troubleshooting class sites.

To become a cPanel reseller, email consult@illinois.edu and tell us that you're an instructor who would like to use cPanel in your courses.

Best practices

1) Establish a name pattern for your students' class sites, such as DEPT###NetID

Every person can create an account and domain with their own NetID. Other account names need to have 9 - 16 characters in them, so that they aren't accidentally the same as someone else's NetID.

An easy way to set this pattern is to combine a class identifier (8 characters or less) with their NetID.

Using your class's department code and section number is human-friendly; for a student in four classes with class website projects, patterns like ENGR 445  and ACES 295 are more recognizable than CRNs like 34193 and 70852. 

(Because a cPanel site name needs to be less than 16 characters total, and NetIDs can take 8 of those, you shouldn't include your section identifier in the name pattern. Hyphens are also not allowed in cPanel site names.)

  Sample instructions for students

Replace dept101 with your own course identifier and your instructions to your students could look like this:

  1. In a browser other than Safari, go to web.illinois.edu and click the "Create a Web Hosting Account" link.
  2. Follow the login steps until you're prompted to choose a domain name.
  3. When asked for the domain, use this class's identifier and your NetID in this pattern: dept101yournetid
  4. For more information about cPanel web hosting on campus, visit https://go.illinois.edu/cPanelDocs 


2) (If you have chosen to become a reseller:) Give your students your support code before they create their site for your class

You won't become the reseller (group owner) for every site created by your student, only for the ones where they used your support code during the account creation process. Combining a reseller support code with the name patterns in step 1 gives you access to the student sites for your courses, and gives other reseller-instructors access to the student sites for their courses.

  Sample instructions for students, including a reseller code

Replace MYCODE with your own support code and dept101 with your own course identifier, and your instructions to your students could look like this:

  1. In a browser other than Safari, go to web.illinois.edu and click the "Create a Web Hosting Account" link.
  2. Follow the login steps until you're prompted to choose a domain name.
  3. When asked for the domain, use this class's identifier and your NetID in this pattern: dept101yournetid
  4. When asked for the support code, use my instructor code: MYCODE
  5. For more information about cPanel web hosting on campus, visit https://go.illinois.edu/cPanelDocs 

3) Encourage your students to set up regular site backups 

While cPanel offers several options for backing up content, your students will have to choose their methods, their frequency, and where to store them. By default, automatic backups are stored in the same account space; this means that in the default 2 Gb storage space, if a site is 500 Mb, a student could store 3 backups at a time before needing to move them elsewhere such as to Box.

  • If your students are using a content management system such as WordPress or Drupal, using Softaculous' automated backups are the easiest option.
  • If your students are building their sites from scratch, using cPanel's Partial Backups allows access to individual files. (The "full" backups are meant for moving from one cPanel instance to another, not for looking up earlier editions of a file.)
  • For sites where git's version control is helpful, your students can also use git to synchronize with their personal machines. See cPanel, Git integration with cPanel .

4) Encourage archiving, migration, and deletion of the class-specific domain at the end of the semester

A cPanel site must have a person with an active NetID associated with it in order to remain active. For seniors and departing transfer students in particular, this means that site access may be lost once a semester ends. However, it's a good idea for any student to practice off-site backup storage, as well as to remove no-longer-needed sites.

From an instructor reseller's point of view, encouraging your students to archive or migrate their site work and remove their class-specific sites at the end of the semester means that your administrative view will have more currently active sites and fewer past-semester sites as well.

If your students would like their sites to continue to exist, but without the class-specific identification (and without your reseller group association, if you use one), they can create a different account name and migrate their site content to it using cPanel's Backup and Restore options. If they don't use your reseller code when creating the personal instance, then it won't appear among the options in your reseller view.





Keywords:cPanel, web hosting, for instructors   Doc ID:94881
Owner:Web H.Group:University of Illinois Technology Services
Created:2019-10-08 13:37 CSTUpdated:2019-10-08 13:53 CST
Sites:University of Illinois Technology Services
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