Topics Map > Communication and Collaboration
Topics Map > Computing Infrastructure > Amazon Web Services

Web Hosting, Comparing current solutions available on campus

Several web hosting options are available to campus, with different levels of complexity and configurability. This page can help you decide which best suits your needs.

Why Google Sites is not recommended in this comparison:

Google Sites is in a period of transition between website creation products, and classic site users will be required to move to the new system in the near future. While the classic sites feature is available through 2018, the new sites feature is also available with limited capabilities at this time. As time goes on, Google promises to enhance the capabilities of the new sites offering and provide information about migration paths in late 2017. Since people may need to move away from their classic sites within a matter of months and the new sites features are not yet fully developed, Google Sites is not being promoted as an active offering at this time by Technology Services.

Service name Illinois Wiki (Confluence) Publish.Illinois.edu aka PIE SitePublish WebTools Blogs Amazon Lightsail
Service description Illinois Wiki is a vended wiki solution called Atlassian Confluence. Used extensively for class collaboration and help documents.  Publish.Illinois.edu is a multi-site WordPress installation maintained by Technology Services offer semi-customizable templates to choose from.  SitePublish is a Web Content Management System (WCMS) for hosting websites at the University of Illinois System. SitePublish was developed by Intrafinity and is supported by AITS as an Enterprise Service. The WebTools Blog service allows University members to create blogs or lightweight websites.  These can then easily integrate with other WebTools such as calendars, newsletters, forms, surveys, and more. Amazon Lightsail (available to campus through aws.illinois.edu ) is a simplified but powerful web hosting environnment with a range of content management system offerings on the Amazon Web Services environment
Best used for... Collaboration, discussion, and uploading of documents. Easy to create spaces controlled by class rosters. Popular blogging and microsite publishing service. Used to create webpages of usually less than a couple dozen pages. Once created, the site content tends to become static.  SitePublish is available for hosting websites for System Office units, major projects and initiatives, colleges, departments, and units within the University of Illinois System. University-related sites with news or other time-sensitive contents.  Faculty, staff and other types of profile pages.  FAQs and documentation management and organization.  Any simple need for publishing content. Sites run by groups with system administration and patching skills
Eligibility Students, staff, faculty, departments, research groups, and registered student organizations Students, staff, faculty, departments, research groups, and registered student organizations System Office units; Cross-campus or cross-unit projects and initiatives; Colleges, Departments, or Units on any of the three campuses of the University of Illinois. Not available for faculty or student sites. Students, staff, faculty, departments, research groups, and registered student organizations Students, staff, faculty, departments, research groups, and registered student organizations
Cost No direct cost No cost for basic sites, additional costs for DNS or SSL configurations. No cost No cost  From $5/month, depending on system power and site usage
Custom URLs available? No Check Yes Check Yes Check  Yes Check  Yes
Help available? Technology Services Help Desk or via ticket at consult@illinois.edu for technical issues. The wiki has an extensive library of online help documents.  Technology Services Help Desk or via ticket at consult@illinois.edu for technical issues. Limited help documents located on KB. Hosting, maintenance, monitoring and other professional support services are provided by AITS Application Administration; software, site administration and design assistance provided by AITS Web Content Management Services; and help desk support provided by the AITS Service Desk.  Overview video (1 hour) and information update posts On-campus Amazon training opportunities, Amazon customer support forums

Content interaction

Illinois Wiki (Confluence) Publish.Illinois.edu aka PIE SitePublish WebTools Blogs Amazon Lightsail
Web based edit window (WYSIWYG) Check Yes Check Yes Check Yes Check Yes Check Yes (depending on the CMS / system selected)
File manager /WebDAV-type asset management No No The WYSIWYG editor has a file manager option used to upload files but it is not connected to Dreamweaver. No Check Yes (depending on the CMS / system selected)
Command line upload/edit options No No No No Check Yes (depending on the CMS / system selected)
Version history Check Yes Some (previous editions of posts and pages; no file history) Check Yes No Check Yes (depending on the CMS / system selected)
Workflow options You can review before posting,  but cannot work in separate development and test instances. You can review before posting,  but cannot work in separate development and test instances. Edits can be saved and not published immediately. SitePublish has publishing approval workflows and rules that can be set up. Each site has dev, test and prod/live instances. You can save unpublished drafts and either manually publish them or schedule them for future release. There is no test or staging environment. Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress options allow custom workflow modifications. GitLab's workflow is set by GitLab.  Other non-CMS web hosting and database hosting options can be run on a Lightsail server; their workflows depend on the system.

Add-on options

Illinois Wiki (Confluence) Publish.Illinois.edu aka PIE SitePublish WebTools Blogs Amazon Lightsail
Site look and feel Global base theme with very little control over the visual look of the site with complete control over content and plugins that are in use on the site.  There are eight preconfigured themes that can be applied to the sites. Otherwise the content is completely user controlled. SitePublish offers almost total control over the look and feel of the site.  You can use a preconfigured WebTools skin, choose a color palette, or design a new WebTools skin. As customizable as the system you select.
Page templates Content templates are available. Limited control over design and layout. Customized designs are available.  Basic templates are provided with a new site as well as training and support in building customized templates for units.  WebTools skins are available. No University themes are currently directly offered to Lightsail instances.
Calendar plugins Google Calendar Google Calendar, Webtools SitePublish has a calendar feature as well as the ability to publish external calendar feeds via iCal. WebTools Flexible - specifics depend on the system you select
Cloud storage plugins / widgets No No Check Yes. Google, Box, OneDrive and several others are supported. No Flexible - specifics depend on the system you select
Social media widgets Check Yes Check Yes Check Yes via JavaScript/iFrame Check Comments, RSS Check Flexible - specifics depend on the system you select
Other provided plugins / widgets Scaffolding for dynamic forms, LaTex for mathematical notation, and Gliffy for basic diagramming.  See the Publish.illinois.edu plugins list. Blogs, Calendar, Forms, News, CRM, Workflow etc. See SitePublish documentation for more. Image carousel, video embedding Flexible - specifics depend on the system you select
Build-your-own plugins / widgets  No, only curated plugins are allowed. No, only curated plugins are allowed at this time.  No. We do not allow local developers to develop on this vendor-provided, enterprise-level application.  No Flexible - specifics depend on the system you select
APIs, database access Check Yes No Some (REST input, RSS output) No Check Yes

Security and access control

Illinois Wiki (Confluence) Publish.Illinois.edu aka PIE SitePublish WebTools Blogs Amazon Lightsail
Public / private pages? Space owner requests public or private during request process. Read and edit access can be independently controlled at the space and page level. Content is world readable by default. If you restrict access, the only people who can see the page are the site staff; there is no access equivalent of "all University members but not the world at large." Pages can be public or restricted to individuals or groups controlled locally or via campus AD groups.  By default, blog posts are public after being published. You can choose whether to make the entire site public, University secured, or private, but can't change individual posts' settings other than publishing or unpublishing them. Your choice
Patching and maintenance responsibilities Managed service through Technology Services - Web and Collaborative Services Team. No user patching or maintenance required. Managed service through Technology Services. No user patching or maintenance required. AITS. System development, patching, and maintenance provided by the Office of Public Affairs. Patching and maintenance is your responsibility with Amazon Lightsail services.
AD group / AD class roster-based access management Check Yes No Check Yes. No TBD
HIPAA / FERPA No No No No No

Scope and scale

Illinois Wiki (Confluence) Publish.Illinois.edu aka PIE SitePublish WebTools Blogs Amazon Lightsail
Individual sites Check Yes Check Yes No Check Yes Check Yes
Departmental sites Check Yes Check Yes Check Yes Some Check Yes
Enterprise sites No No Check Yes Some Check Yes

Setting up the service

Illinois Wiki (Confluence) Publish.Illinois.edu aka PIE SitePublish WebTools Blogs Amazon Lightsail
Time to provision Hours Minutes Two days Minutes Minutes
Time to configure Minutes Hours Two days Minutes Hours



Keywords:web hosting, power plant, drupal, wordpress, publish, pie, cpanel, aws, amazon web services, it power plant, wiki, google sites   Doc ID:73292
Owner:Dena S.Group:University of Illinois Technology Services
Created:2017-05-15 13:49 CDTUpdated:2017-08-03 10:04 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois Technology Services
CleanURL:https://answers.uillinois.edu/illinois/web-hosting
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