Getting Started

Web Services can provide web hosting to the Purdue University community for academic or University business purposes. At this time, we are unable to provide web hosting to:

  • Student Organizations
  • Non-Purdue entities
  • Commercial ventures

We offer hosting under most of the name space (subject to approval of various owners) and external (non-Purdue) domain names as well. If you are unsure about a possible URL, please contact Web Services and ask.

Requesting a Web Site

Requesting a web site from Web Services is a fairly simple process. When you contact us, we will need to know:

Each site environment may also require additional information, so please be sure to read the respective service page.

Choosing an Environment

Web Services offers four standard shared hosting environments:

  • Apache HTTPD with PHP, Perl, and Python support
  • IIS with ASP.Net and classic ASP support
  • Tomcat
  • WordPress

We can also offer a dedicated (non-shared) environment of any of the above types, when necessary. There is a recurring surcharge for dedicated environments.

To help you select among the environments, here are brief overviews of each. We recommend that you read the detailed service pages of each before making your final selection.

  • Apache HTTPD is our primary shared hosting environment. It is a Linux based environment with a load-balanced cluster of four production servers providing high performance, high up time, and fault tolerance. Sites in this environment may freely mix plain HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with PHP scripting. With additional configuration, Perl and Python may also be used. It is ideal for high-volume, high visibility sites and is the preferred environment for hosting sites that do not require ASP.Net (or classic ASP), Java (Tomcat), or WordPress support. Most of Purdue’s larger sites, including the Purdue Home Page, are hosted here.
  • IIS is our second largest hosting environment. It is a Windows based environment with a load-balanced cluster of two production servers providing high performance, high up time, and fault tolerance. While sites in this environment may also freely mix plain HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, the addition of ASP.Net and classic ASP make this the environment for hosting web “applications” that make use of these technologies. It is ideal for high-volume, high-visibility sites that require ASP.Net or classic ASP services. Several of Purdue’s larger sites are hosted here including Purdue IT’s and the College of Liberal Arts’ main sites.
  • Tomcat is a specialized hosting environment for Java-based applets and Java Server Pages. It is a Linux-based environment with a single production server. While powerful and robust, Java development in Tomcat is a high-expertise endeavor so we do not recommend this environment unless you require those capabilities. This is our smallest environment with only a handful of web “applications” hosted here.
  • WordPress is our newest, and fastest growing hosting environment. It is a Linux-based environment with a load-balanced cluster of two production servers providing high performance, high up time, and fault tolerance. Sites in this environment may only run WordPress as we have tuned the environment and its security for WordPress. Also, due to the overhead of WordPress, this environment is not currently well-suited for high-volume sites. Sites in this environment benefit from the relative ease of the WordPress software stack and its rich ecosystem of themes and plugins and graphical editor. This environment is recommended for those who are familiar with WordPress or who would like to be, who do not need support for millions of page hits per day, and for whom the limitations of working “in the WordPress box” are not a concern. Among the sites currently hosted in this environment are the College of Health and Human Sciences and Web Services itself.

Each of the above environments is presented as three service tiers with a development server (where developers can directly access and manipulate files), one or more quality assurance (qa) servers (for testing of changes before they go live), and one or more production servers. With the exception of WordPress, access to the qa and production servers is strictly mediated by our Deploy Tool allowing 24×7 updates to your web site. WordPress also plays with our Deploy Tool, but due to the nature of WordPress, most content changes are made directly in the production tier.

Each of the above environments, except for Tomcat, can also host any URL that Web Services can host.

None of the shared environments currently incurs a fee for a site.

Choosing a URL

Web Services can host a wide variety of URLs, both within as well as externally. Some URLs do require approval of the department or group that owns the URL, so we recommend that you always submit multiple choices (in the order you prefer them) in case your first choice is not approved. We generally recommend that most sites should be hosted under a departmental or college subdomain of such as or

Among the domains that we cannot currently host are:

  • some College of Science URLs

This list is not complete, but these are some of the larger entities that we have been asked about.

Additionally, all top-level names under are subject to approval by Purdue Marketing and Communications and all new subdomains of are subject to approval by an oversight committee. If you wish a URL in either of these cases, please allow additional time for review and discussion to occur.

If you choose a non-Purdue domain, Purdue IT Networking will need to work with you to obtain the “foreign” domain, transfer it to Purdue DNS servers, and arrange for the annual recurring service fee for the registration.

Site Owners and Developers

Every web site hosted by Web Services has one or more owners. These are people (who need not be technical) who “speak” for the site. They are the ones we will contact to ask questions or raise issues such as:

  • Should this new developer be granted access to your site?
  • Is this site still needed or should it be retired?
  • We have a report of a copyright/security issue with this site. Please have your developers look into it.

The owner(s) must be full-time Purdue faculty or staff.

Developers are the people who actually make changes to the content of the site. The owner(s) may or may not also be developers. We require that between the owners and developers there are at least two full-time Purdue faculty or staff. Additional developers may be undergraduate or graduate students, other Purdue faculty or staff, or third-party developers. In all cases, all developers must have individual Purdue Career Accounts. Career Accounts for non-Purdue personnel may be requested using the Request for Privileges process. These accounts must be renewed each year.

We strongly encourage that every site have either a developer or an owner who is a department or college IT staff member, if for no other reason that to provide local technical support.

Site owners and developers are expected to be familiar with our Web Developer Responsibilities standard.

Database Support

With the exception of our WordPress environment, which has a dedicated MySQL database environment, all of our environments currently support the following Purdue-IT-supported database services:

  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • Oracle

While only tested and confirmed against Purdue IT’s own database services, any departmentally supported databases of the same types should work.


Web Services tries to provide an open and flexible environment for web hosting while ensuring the security and stability of our systems. In order to achieve this, we do have certain limitations we have imposed:

  • Non-production (development and qa) environments are not accessible outside of the Purdue University networks without the use of a VPN. This prevents the exposure of “in progress” code as well as crawling and indexing of non-production sites by search engines.
  • Web sites/applications may not write files to the local server disks.*
  • Sensitive University information should not be stored on our shared environments.
  • Restricted University information must not be stored on any Web Services environment.
  • All sites hosted by Web Services will require SSL (HTTPS) connections. Web Services will maintain and provide the SSL certificates.

* Where there is a legitimate need to upload files, there are mechanisms we have developed to support this. Please contact Web Services for assistance. Also, WordPress’s ability to manage its own uploads through the media library functions normally.

Related Services Provided by Other Groups

  • Cascade is an enterprise-scale, back-end content management system (CMS) that is fully supported by our Apache HTTPD and IIS/ASP.Net environments with a large user base across the University.