The Webserve environment is the standard IU platform for Apache/PHP/MySQL web hosting. By default, you will have a url of the form (where the "account" is your chosen group account username) or you can set up virtual hosting so you can select your own domain, like This page is intended to be a quick guide to getting a site set up on Webserve and includes references to more detailed UITS documentation.
No Restricted or Critical Data
The UITS Quick Start Guide
The Getting Started With Webserve document provides much of the information presented here and is a great reference document. In addition, there is a Detailed Getting Started Guide that provides more details. The rest of this document is somewhat streamlined and tailored to the SICE audience and is not intended to be a replacement for these extremely useful documents.
Step 0: Show Me the Money
Webserve and MySQL accounts, including virtual domain hosting, are free for most SICE uses but only with limited storage space. If you exceed the 1GB file storage limit then you will have to pay the $2/GB/year recurring storage fee. So, for example, if you wanted an additional 25GB of file storage and 25GB of additional MySQL database space, there would be a $100 annual charge and you must provide an account number for this on the request form. If you are setting up an account that serves a school-sponsored function (ie. a class site) and want the school to fund it, please contact us via the SICE Help Desk. If you have another account number you want to use and you are authorized to use it, you can just provide that in the request form. You can see the current billing charges on the Web Account Service Charges Page.
Step 1: Creating a group account
A group account must be created by either a faculty or staff member of the school. In some cases, it makes sense for the SICE IT staff to own the group account and, in that case, you can make the request via the SICE Help Desk. If you want to own the group account then you can create it per the KB page Request IU computing accounts for groups or departments. Further information is available per the instructions in the Webserve Document.
Step 2: Requesting the Webserve Account
The next step is to create the webserve account and, optionally, a MySQL database, virtual hosting, and a few other things. The only thing you have to create is the Webserve account itself which you can do from the WebTech Services Management Page. Your best bet for setting all of this up is to just follow the flowchart in the Getting Started With Webserve document.
Step 3: Publishing to Webserve
Once your site is created, you will want to publish your files to the site. Please see the Webserve Publishing Document for all the gory details. Below is information about ssh and drive mapping as a quick reference but see the Webserve Publishing Document for more information. Also, note that connections to webserve (for publishing content) from outside of IU require that you use the IU VPN.
Step 3a: File Upload via SSH/SCP/SFTP
If you want to use an ssh-based file upload method, you can do this using the hostname webserve.iu.edu and your group account username and passphrase (as you created in Step 1 above). Your files must be placed in the www directory (http) or wwws directory (https). Most content management systems allow ssh-based publishing or you can use something like WinSCP to drag/drop files into the site.
Step 3b: File Upload via Drive Mapping
If you want to map a network drive to your webserve account, you can do this using Siteshare. When you use Siteshare, it is important to note that you will log in using your normal IU username and passphrase and NOT the group account username you created for your site. You will use a path of the fo
rm \\siteshare.uits.indiana.edu\account (windows) or smb://siteshare.uits.indiana.edu/account (Mac) where account is your group account username NOTyour normal IU username. Your files must be placed in the www directory (http) or wwws directory (https).
By default, a webserve account is only accessible via Siteshare to the owner of the account. If you are the owner and want to grant other IU users access, go to the Siteshare Authorization Maintenance page. From there, you can select the webserve account from the pull-down menu and then add a space separated list of IU usernames for access to the Authorized Users field.
Please see the Siteshare User Guide for more information on using Siteshare.
Step 4: Selecting a URL
As noted earlier, you will have a URL of the form(where the "account" is your chosen group account username) or you can set up virtual hosting so you can select your own domain, like
When you fill out the virtual host name request form, you will be asked "Will this service have secure content". If you plan to do any authentication whatsoever with the site, you must say 'yes' so you can use https for secure authentication. If you say 'no' to this, then your url will not work using https, only http. The downside is this can cause confusion if someone goes to the https url instead of http since they will get SSL certificate errors and a page not found error. So, if you want both http and https urls to work, you must answer 'yes' for this. For this reason, we always recommend selecting 'yes' here and setting things up so the https url works. If you need help with this, please.
No Restricted or Critical Data
- User Documentation for WebHost Services Web Usage Reports.
- Directory Indexes - By default, you will not be able to get directory listings when a directory doesn't contain and index file (like index.html). However, you can enable this feature by following the instructions in the help page Enabling Directory Indexing on Webserve. However, they suggest using "Options Indexes" in the .htaccess file but that also removes the default Options settings. If all you want to do is add indexing then you can use "Options +Indexes" instead.
Canonical URLs - If you are hosting a virtual domain you probably want to set up a canonical URL for your site and redirect all other URLs to this preferred URL. For example, if you have music.informatics.indiana.edu but the site is also reachable using urls www.music.informatics.indiana.edu andthen you can force all URLS to use music.informatics.indiana.edu by added this to a .htaccess file at the top of the site:
There is more information about this in the document Redirect to a Different URL using .htaccess.
Redirecting All Requests to HTTPS - If your site works using https and you want to force all http traffic to use https, then you can do that by 1) putting all your content in the wwws directory (instead of the www directory) and then redirecting http to https by creating a .htaccess file in the www directory that contains something like the following:
You will need to replace the domain (something.sice.indiana.edu in the above example) with the correct name for your virtual domain.