Unlock your domain

This applies only if you own your own top-level domain. If you have been using the free subdomain option with .sites.haverford.edu through Haverford Sites, this does not apply to you.

Transferring a domain you already own is not too much different from registering a new domain, except the transfer process requires an EPP code, or an agreement code between your old registrar and your new registrar that allows the release of your domain.  Your new registrar will have information on how to transfer in a domain.  When you start that process, you will be prompted to enter your EPP code.

How to find your EPP Code:

  1. To get started you’ll need to login to your control panel (https://sites.haverford.edu/dashboard) using your Haverford username and password.
    screen shot of sites login page
  2. Once you’re logged in, you’ll see the cPanel interface.  Now click on the “Manage Your Account” menu at the top of your screen and select “Migration Information.”
    migrate your site link is on the top menu bar

3. Click the “Lock” button to unlock your Haverford Sites account.

4. Click the  “Get Code” button.  When you click on the “Get Code” button, the system will send you an email with your EPP code.

At this stage, here are a few items to note:

  • If you have whois protection enabled, you must disable it temporarily before you initiate the transfer. This is because your new registrar will send an authorization email to confirm the email address paired with your domain. (This is a “are you really sure you want to transfer?” message.)
  • You must click the confirmation link in the email, or you will have to start the process over.
  • The domain must be older than 60 days.
  • The domain must have no other transfers in the last 60 days.
  • The domain transfer process can take up to 5 days.

Once you receive confirmation that your domain has successfully been transferred, you can begin setting up your new domain.

Export your domain

To export your domain, we will create a backup of both the files in your domain and the databases that your domain draws from.  First, click on the ‘Manage Your Account’ menu at the top of your screen and select ‘Migration Information.

  1. To get started you’ll need to login to your control panel (https://sites.haverford.edu/dashboard) using your Haverford username and password.
    screen shot of sites login page
  2. Once you’re logged in, you’ll see the cPanel interface.  Now click on the “Manage Your Account” menu at the top of your screen and select “Migration Information.”
    migrate your site link is on the top menu bar
  3. To create a backup of your files and databases, simply click the button labeled ‘Add Backup.’  The system will take a moment to create a backup.  When it is complete, you will see the new backup appear below the button.  You can click on this backup to download the file.Reclaim migration backup button

Migrate to Reclaim Hosting

If you are leaving the college, and you want to maintain your site, you will need to migrate your domain from sites.haverford.edu.

The easiest option is to migrate directly to an individual account in Reclaim Hosting, where your site currently resides in the Haverford Sites space.

  1. To get started you’ll need to login to your control panel (https://sites.haverford.edu/dashboard) using your Haverford username and password.
    screen shot of sites login page
  2. Once you’re logged in, you’ll see the cPanel interface.  Now click on the “Manage Your Account” menu at the top of your screen and select “Migration Information.”
    migrate your site link is on the top menu bar
  3. Next click on the “Get Started” button in the Migration Offer region of the screen.
    Reclaim migration offer--Get Started button
  4. Next, you are prompted to provide the domain you want to use for your hosting service, but to either register a new domain, transfer your domain from another register, or use your existing domain and update your nameservers.

Choosing Your Domain Name

Choosing your domain name is the first step in getting started with staking your claim on the web. Your domain name is a unique Web address (e.g. yourname.sites.haverford.edu) that can be used to build out your own digital presence. As you make your choice, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

Your Domain Name Must Be Available: Domain names must be unique, which means in order for you to claim your own, you need to be sure that it is currently available (and not being used by any one else or any company or organization). There are lots of tools to check on domain availability, and when you sign up on sites.haverford.edu, we’ll actually check the availability of your choice for you. If you’d like to spend some time thinking about your choice and checking availability before you actually sign-up, we recommend using whois.net.

Choose a Domain You Can Live With: You should choose a domain name that you feel you can live with for quite some time. You should pick something that you won’t find embarrassing in the future. A good rule of thumb is to pick a domain that you would be comfortable putting on a future job application.

You May Wish to Include Your Name in Your Domain: There is no requirement that your domain reflects your specific identity in the form of your first and last name. However, choosing a domain name that includes your name may make it easier for you to achieve higher rankings in search engines when someone queries your real name.

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. It can reflect your interests, sports you play, or your hobby. Or it could just be your name. The “right” domain for you is the one you’re comfortable with.

Signing Up

Review the Guidelines

Before you get started, we recommend that you review our information about Choosing a Domain Name.

The Sign-Up Process

Once you’ve reviewed the guidelines, you can proceed to the sign-up page.

  1. Click the “Get Started” Button
    Get Started button
  2. You will be redirected to login for verification. You will use your Haverford username and password to log in.
    Haverford Login Enter your Username and Password
  3. You are now ready to create a domain. Set up your domain as prompted. Enter in the subdomain name you want for your website. When you’ve found an available subdomain, click the button labeled “Continue.”
    Reclaim domain setup screen
  4. Confirm that you like the name you selected. If you do, click the “signup” button. (If not, click the “start over” button, and repeat step 3.)
    Confirm domain name and continue or start over
  5. You should now see a screen confirming that your subdomain is ready. After a few seconds, you will see the regular cPanel options.
    "Congratulations" screen appears, and then you are redirected to cPanel screen

Option: Buy your own top level domain for your site

It is easy to create your own top level domain. This allows you to select a URL for your web site that is easy to remember and share.

Follow these top level domain instructions on the Reclaim website. Alternately, you can get a domain from a different domain provider and and add it as an addon domain.

Understanding Accounts & Passwords

One aspect of sites.haverford.edu 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 cPanel account will be generated that provides you with access to your slice of the sites.haverford.edu Web server. Your cPanel account is automatically associated with your Haverford username. Therefore, your Haverford user name will grant you access to your cPanel account.

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 username and password for that account. We recommend choosing something that you are likely to remember but that is strong and secure.

Upon installation, you will likely 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 make sure you don’t delete this message.

Depending on the application you’re working with, managing and resetting the password for this account will vary. If you’ve used Installatron (in cPanel) to install the application, however, you can always review the account credentials:

  • Click the Installatron icon in the Software/Services section.
  • Find the application you installed under My Applications.
  • Click the Edit button (this looks like a 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 sites.haverford.edu:

  • 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 user accounts.

Privacy

What you put up in your plymouthcreate.net space rests entirely with you. You can choose not to pick a domain that reveals your name. You can use a pseudonym on your actual site. However, when you sign up through the default process, your name does get published as part of the public record about your domain name. Anyone can find it by looking up details about the ownership of that domain name through a public “Whois” request.

This is NOT an issue if you’re already planning on using your name openly on your site (in your domain name or elsewhere). This option is aimed, specifically, at those who, for whatever reason, feel they want to take every precaution to hide their identity on their site.

What Can You Do with Your Account?

Your ability to do things on Haverford Sites is dictated to a large degree by the limits of your imagination. That said, there are some technical requirements and limitations that you should be aware of and might want to review.

To spark your imagination, here are some ideas that might help you get started:

Install a Web Application in Your Space

Haverford Sites 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 on the type of application you install. Here are some examples of applications that you can easily install within the sites.haverford.edu Web hosting interface:

WordPress LogoWordPress: 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.

Mediawiki LogoMediawiki: If you’ve ever browsed or edited Wikipedia, you’ve already used Mediawiki. It is the open-source wiki software that runs the online encyclopedia, and you can install it on your Web space. It’s a good choice if you’re interested in publishing documents and then collaborating with others on them. We have instructions for installing Mediawiki.

ZenPhoto iconZenPhoto: This application is a good choice if you’re looking for a way to share images in your Web space. It’s also a quick install through Installatron in cPanel onto your Plymouth Create Web space.

OwnCloud iconOwnCloud: If you’ve used DropBox, the concept of OwnCloud will be familiar. It allows you to upload and access files from anywhere with Web access. You can also share those files and sync them to your devices. This Web application is another quick install through Installatron in cPanel.

These are just a FEW of the open-source applications that are available to you in your Haverford Sites Web space.  We encourage you to read more about what Web applications are and which ones are available to you through this project.

Organize Your Site with Subdomains and Folders

Through this project, you’ve received a domain name that you can actually subdivide and organize anyway you like. One easy way to organize your domain is to create subdomains, in which you can then install other applications. In addition, you can just set up subfolders for your site (which can also have their own applications installed in them). Here’s an example of how you might organize your site (using the subdomain vs. the subfolder approach)

Subdomain Approach Subfolder Approach
yourdomain.com (“root”) Install WordPress as your “main site” yourdomain.com (“root”)
course1.yourdomain.com Install a second WordPress instance for a course you’re taking yourdomain.com/course1
photos.yourdomain.com Install ZenPhoto for a public photo gallery of your photos yourdomain.com/photos
docs.yourdomain.com Install MediaWiki for a club you belong to that wants to collaboratively edit its bylaws yourdomain.com/docs
files.yourdomain.com Install OwnCloud so you can access your files on your laptop and at work yourdomain.com/files

This is just an EXAMPLE of a way to organize your site and then use different sections to do different things. There is no one solution to this challenge, and what you do should be driven by what makes sense to you. To start, you may just want to install one thing at the “root” of your domain, and then let the rest evolve as you get to know more about what’s possible.

Map Your Domain (or a Subdomain)

If you already have a digital presence that you’d like to pull into your Haverford Sites space, domain mapping is an option you may wish to explore. This allows you to assign your domain (or a subdomain) 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.

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 Haverford Sites uses a special script installer called Installatron (in cPanel) that allows you to automatically install dozens of open source applications. 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 Haverford Sites 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.

Static and Dynamic Websites

Static 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. If you looked at the actual contents of the file, you might see something like this:

example of static HTML code

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.

Dynamic Websites

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.

example of dynamic HTML 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.