Group Websites with SFTP or Gitlab

Individual groups can request custom web hosting including customized CS or CSC DNS website domain names. Creating a group or event site requires a COSI account.

Requests for new group websites should be made through

Websites are provisioned from the Department servers and mapped to custom group DNS sub-domain names on the or domain.

Groups can create custom HTML/CSS, PHP and CGI bin scripts and upload it with SFTP, or choose to dynamically push content using the Department’s Gitlab instance to new websites. Groups can also use static website generators (like HUGO, Jekyll, Hexo, or Gatsby) to build more complex websites which support modern mobile device enabled template themes built with Javascript, and CSS.

Websites can be uploaded with content using SFTP, or content can be dynamically pushed from the Department’s Gitlab service. Groups requiring support for dynamic online editing of website content can use the Netlify-CMS plugin with Gitlab - see HUGO/Netlify-CMS tutorial.

Updating a Group Website using SFTP

2020-01-06 - Documentation Changes
We have updated the SFTP procedures for uploading content to new Group websites to better facilitate multiple content creators and make it more consistent with the model uses for webhome directory provisioning.
If you have a pre-existing group website you would like updated to the new model, or run into problems updating your site, please contact itsupport.

To update website
Using SFTP client software, use the following connection information:

SFTP Server: (updated 2020-01-06)
SFTP Account: group_website_account_name (requested through itsupport)
Authentication: public SSH_KEY authentication (passwords disabled - 2020-01-06)
Protocol: SFTP
Directory: /htdocs

SFTP SSH-Key Authentication for Group Websites

Each content developer who will require the ability to update the group website should create and forward a personal public SSH-key to which will grant them write access to the groups SFTP account.

SSH-key authentication is now natively supported on all modern operating system platforms, including Windows 10. Users can generate personal SSH-key at the command-line, and use them with any SFTP client software that they have installed locally to upload web content changes to the SFTP server.

The Department strongly recommends that all individuals protect their SSH-KEYS with a pass-phrase when they create their private key. A pass-phrase will prevent your private SSH-KEY from being usable in the event that you loose your private SSH-KEY or someone gains access to it.

Updating a Group Website using Gitlab CI/CD

We have implemented some Gitlab project templates that can be used by groups to deploy websites using Gitlab Continuous Integration.

Group members can use git to clone a project template and then customize it to build a website (either using a HUGO themed website template, or a plain HTML/CSS boilerplate HTML5 template). Group members then use git to commit and push their updates back to their Gitlab repository, which triggers an automatic build and deployment to production web servers.

The Gitlab websites group folder is visible to all Department employees - please contact to request a Gitlab CI/CD project site for your group website. Students can be granted access to the websites folder upon request.

Tutorials Available

Tutorial: Creating SSH-Keys
Tutorial: SFTP File transfers on Apple & Windows with Cyberduck
Tutorial: Creating pretty personal websites on Department Servers
Tutorial: Group websites with Gitlab, Hugo and Netlify