Group & Center Websites at Michigan Public Health

Before you begin planning the website for your group, center or initiative, you should consider where your site will be hosted, and what platform it will use.

Glossary of Terms

Web Hosting
The web server that hosts your website files. In other words, the server(s) where your website files are stored.
A managed web hosting option means that the hosting platform has vital security updates applied by the team managing the platform. 
Websites can be static HTML or use a platform like WordPress or Modern Campus CMS. Platforms are also called Content Management Systems (CMS).
A domain name is a unique name that identifies an internet resource such as a website. Examples:,,

Hosting Your Website with SPH

SPH Computing Services and SPH Marketing & Communications are delighted to provide free web hosting to research and training centers and initiatives that are clearly affiliated with SPH. There are limitations:

  • Groups are responsible for developing and maintaining their own websites, but SPH Web Services is happy to provide guidance.

We do not host the following types of websites:

  • Personal websites
  • Professional websites for individuals
  • Research lab websites
  • Websites for research studies and projects

Website Development and Modern Campus CMS Content Management System (CMS)

  • The SPH website (design and information architecture) and CMS implementation are school-wide initiatives and are funded by the dean's office. There are no charges for SPH-affiliated units and centers to use these services. We encourage all units and centers to use the official U-M SPH templates for their public-facing websites.
  • All websites we develop will be public-facing, meaning they are directed primarily toward public, external audiences. Projects intended for internal audiences only (i.e. for faculty, staff, or for procedural student work) should be developed using Google sites, Canvas, or similar tools.
  • All websites we work on will be based on the SPH website templates. If you browse through our site, you'll see what those templates look like. We can give you more details about which level of templates are available for what uses, but generally, the departmental templates are the equivalent of a unit "home page," and content pages flow from the links in the information hierarchy.
  • All website projects we work on will be built within the Modern Campus CMS. We are no longer building static sites. Departments and units can have whatever level of access you need to maintain the content on your website. You may have multiple people maintaining content for your site.
  • All websites hosted by SPH must be regularly updated (at least three times a year).
  • We provide guidance and documentation on using Modern Campus CMS to unit/center web content managers.
  • All new websites will need to use official U-M logos and identity standards. We can obtain custom logos for units and centers if needed. If you do not have one, the SPH logo will be displayed.
  • We are not able to guarantee project timelines currently. Project volume and school-wide priorities are key factors, and we will work with as many groups as we can concurrently manage. Timelines will be significantly affected by the unit/center's ability to collaborate on the work. So, as much as you are able to develop content and build pages, that can speed things up.
  • All projects will include a current site assessment, focused on audience-targeting goals and website best practices. In most cases, this means new information architecture and less overall site content. This tends to allow for better targeting, content flow, and cohesion for better site usability.

Group Sites Currently Using Modern Campus CMS

If your group or unit would like to host your website with SPH, you should:

  1. Request a URL for the website on the SPH web server. All URLs on the SPH web server start with You will need to choose one short word, with all lowercase letters and no spaces or special characters. This word will become the name of the folder for all files for your website. For example, the Michigan Center for Genomics and Public Health’s URL is NOTE: Website URLs are not guaranteed, but we will do our best to accommodate your request.
  2. Contact Web Services at to discuss next steps. If needed, we can provide you with a list of vendors that our groups have worked with before. 
  3. Contact SPH Marketing & Communications to discuss marketing and content issues.
  4. Patty Bradley, the Web Administrator, will be happy to assist with the uploading of initial files, and provide technical expertise.
  5. Once the site is launched, ask Marketing & Communications if it is appropriate to put a link to the new web site among the major centers and initiatives (mostly multidisciplinary) listed on the Research Center & Initiatives page.

Google Sites

Google Sites is a new and easy way to create a project website, and Google Docs makes collaboration even easier. You can choose from several types of sites as well as from dozens of website themes. An SPH Google Sites template is available. Google sites are most appropriate for internal websites, small projects, information sites, or other non-public-facing projects. 


One big difference between Google Sites and the previous U-M SiteMaker model is that U-M friend accounts do not work with Google Sites. If you need to restrict access to a Google Site or particular pages within a Google Site, the people you share the site with must have a Google account. If they do not, they can either obtain a free commercial Google account, or an MCommunity Sponsorship can be created for them.

Web Services is dedicated to supporting SPH-affiliated Google site owners. Please feel free to contact us at to ask a question or to request an appointment for a tutorial.

NOTE: Google Sites for official entities (centers, initiatives, etc.) should use official U-M logos and identity standards. If you need a logo, contact


Hosting your website with UofM

ITS Web Hosting Services Portal: The university community will benefit from the new portal that provides streamlined access and enhanced capabilities to manage web hosting services seamlessly. You will also have more control over your Pantheon sites. You can now create and delete Pantheon websites yourself without needing to submit a ticket. The new portal is available today.

ITS does offer free non-managed web hosting options such as group file space, Drupal CMS. Amazon Web Services (AWS)View their complete list of services. For blogs, ITS recommends Google Blogger.

WordPress at LS&A

The University of Michigan does not offer WordPress hosting, except for LS&A. is a good alternative if you want a WordPress site that does not cost a lot of money and does not have a custom design.

Website Hosting Outside of U-M

Groups and individuals are free to seek outside web hosting for their websites. While we cannot recommend particular web hosting companies, we will be happy to connect you with other groups who have moved their sites outside of the U-M web space.

Please be aware that outside hosting comes with some risks. You will not be eligible for U-M ITS support for your site; we will not be able to guarantee the security or sustainability of your site; nor will you be able to use a native dot-edu domain name. The costs for outside hosting are almost always greater than for internal hosting. We recommending hosting U-M websites at U-M.

Your Domain Name

If you would like to register an external domain, such as, and have it pointed to your web site, SPH Web Services would be happy to set that up for you. Domains are registered through ITS. We will set up and manage your domain name registration at no additional cost; all you have to cover is the actual cost of domain name registration. The cost of registering .org domains is around $12 a year and .com domains are usually around $20 a year. We will need the following information:

  • domain you would like registered (let us know if you would like help choosing a domain name)
  • URL of existing website you would like it to forward to
  • number of years you would like it registered for
  • shortcode
  • uniqname of authorized signer

Please see the U-M domain name implementation requirements in the standard practice guide.

Contact SPH Web Services


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 View the Web Services Service Catalog

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Article ID: 5589
Thu 5/13/21 12:59 PM
Fri 5/17/24 4:53 PM

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