Tutorial: Creating or Updating Your Web Site on the MU Web Server

Overview

New web site overseers or content creators have similar initial questions about how to best access their web space, and how to get started building a web site.    This article provides a brief overview to help with getting started in building your site.

Details

In order to create a website on the MU Web servers, you must first have web space dedicated to your organization or group.   Getting web space is a simple process, but there are a few requirements.

  1. The organization or group must be a recognized department or student organization (as recognized by Student Affairs)
  2. Each site must have a faculty of staff member willing to serve as site overseer.
  3. A request to obtain a site must be completed.   This can be done online using the Online Information Provider’s Agreement.

Once your web site space has been created (or, if you’re taking over an existing site, once you’ve been given access to the site space), you’ll need to understand how to access that web space.

There are two kinds of web sites available on the MU Web Server.   The first is a traditional web site, where pages are created by a web developer in HTML, ASP, .NET, etc.    Typically these pages will be created in a web page authoring product like Dreamweaver, Microsoft Sharepoint Designer, Frontpage, etc.     Most sites that have existed on the server for some time were created in this way.

Accessing Traditional Web Sites

To access traditional site spaces (sites that aren’t in the content management system), you will need to map a network drive to the sites content folder on the web server.    In almost all cases, the folder mapping you will use will correspond to the directory you use to access your web space in a browser.   For example, if you were trying to access the “human-resources” web site, accessed in a browser by typing http://www.marshall.edu/human-resources, your folder mapping would be \marshall.eduwwwhuman-resources.

If you are a user who is editing from a Mac OSX client workstation, you cannot use the Windows style folder mappings.    In your case, you’ll need to use the following mapping:  smb://marshall.edu/human-resources$.     In all of these examples, replace “human-resources” with the name of your site.

When you are prompted for your username or password, use your MUNET account name and password to gain access to the site.    On Mac OSX clients, it may be necessary to prefix your MUNET account name with the “MARSHALL” domain prefix.

A separate knowledge base article is available to provide you additional guidance on setting up a mapping to your designated web directory if you need further assistance.

Once you’ve created the mapping, you’ll have a folder available in Windows Explorer (or on your desktop for Mac OSX users) that corresponds to the name of your web site.   Opening this folder will reveal the files that make up your web site.   You may open and edit any of these files in order to modify the content of your web site.

Accessing Content-Management System Sites

Newer sites that were created in the WordPress Content Management system will not require that you create a folder mapping in order to access or edit web pages.      For these sites, navigate to the URL of your site, appending the directory path /wp-admin/ to the end of the site URL to be presented with a login prompt to gain access to the page content editor.     You will login to the content editor using your MUNET username and password.

Following our previous example, the content management admin login URL for the “human-resources” site above would be:  http://www.marshall.edu/human-resources/wp-admin/

Troubleshooting Access

If you have difficulty gaining access to either your folder mapping or the content management page administration area, try the following steps before contacting the IT Service Desk for assistance.

  • Try entering your username by prefixing it with the MARSHALL domain name – example:  MARSHALLusername
  • Make sure that you have been granted access to edit the site by contacting the site overseer and determining that they’ve added you to their site editor group.    Site overseers can add or remove designated editors by logging in to the Overseer’s Administration Panel on the MU Web Server.

Creating Content

Once you’ve been able to gain access to your site, you’ll either want to create a new web page (if this is a new site) or edit an existing page if the site was already in place and you’re updating it.    How you do this will depend on whether you’re using a traditional, or content management site.

For traditional sites

When you open the content folder, if files are already there, you will need to choose the file you want to edit and open it in your editor of choice.   Any changes you make to the content will be immediately available for viewing online once you’ve saved those changes.

If you’re creating new content for a traditional site, the web server by default will recognize the following file names and serve them automatically at your URL once they’re present in your web directory:

  • index.htm
  • index.html
  • default.asp
  • index.php

Content is best created in a traditional site by someone with at least some web development experience.   If you are not familiar with web development, you can use the following very simple code to create a generic page that will help get you started:

<html>
<head><title>My New Site</title></head>
<body>
<h1>Hello World</h1>
</body>
</html>

For content management sites, log in to the administration panel, and click on “Pages” in the left hand column.   You will be presented with a list of existing pages in your site.    You can chose the page you wish to edit and edit it in your browser, or you can choose “Add New” from the Pages sub-menu to create a new page.