The SiteNow service is a free, website creation platform built specifically for the University of Iowa community. It is available to current University of Iowa members - faculty, staff, students and affiliates. SiteNow is built using Drupal, an open source content management system, and therefore distributed under the same GNU General Public License, version 2 or later.
The base SiteNow platform is provided as-is and free of charge without any guarantees.
WWW prefixed URLs can be set up to redirect www requests to the bare domain equivalent upon request. This involves covering the WWW equivalent with an SSL certificate and does not occur by default. Redirecting from a bare domain to the WWW equivalent is not supported.
For example, a request for www.mysite.uiowa.edu would redirect to mysite.uiowa.edu.
Sub-Directory Websites (e.g. https://uiowa.edu/your-website) are no longer supported on the SiteNow platform.
University of Iowa Hostmaster has pre-approved the following domains for use with the SiteNow service:
Top level domains, e.g. something.uiowa.edu, need to be approved by Hostmaster.
Establishing/maintaining websites on domains outside uiowa.edu (e.g. mysite.com) is highly discouraged and is permitted only as described in the Domain Name Policy.
In some cases, vanity domains may be necessary for marketing or paid advertising campaigns. In these cases, vanity domains should redirect back to a *.uiowa.edu property. Be aware that vanity domains involve much more maintenance for both site owners and ITS. They can very easily cause downtime and security issues.
We recommend using one of the pre-approved domains managed by UI Hostmaster and then redirecting traffic from the vanity domain. You can set up a redirect with your registrar through DNS forwarding, although not many registrars support HTTPS redirects. If you need the redirect to support HTTPS, please contact us to set up an HTTPS-enabled redirect.
Selecting a domain name is an important piece of every website’s strategy, and is usually a permanent decision. If you are unsure about what domain name you should choose for your website, please reach out to the web team for assistance prior to requesting a website.
In the extraordinary event that you need to change a domain for a website, you have two options:
- Self-service (Preferred): Request a new site with the preferred domain name and add a comment that indicates which domain you are manually replacing. The web team will provision a new—but empty—website for you on your new domain. You can then use this new website to manually rebuild your website by recreating it and copy-and-pasting your content into it. This is likely the most expeditious route for small websites.
- Concierge (Nonpreferred): Request a domain name change through the web team. Changing a domain name is a complex process that takes a significant amount of time to accomplish. Assistance will be prioritized in the support queue as a non-urgent request. As such (and depending on the support queue), it may be days or weeks before we can complete a domain name change request.
It is important to understand that changing the domain name of an existing website may also mean that a significant number of backlinks to your website will break. You will need to invest in an outreach campaign that announces your change and asks external website owners to update their links to your site.
As steward of uiowa.edu sub-directory websites, SiteNow can offer a redirect of all traffic from the old sub-directory website to a new URL for up to six months. Redirects from a specific page on the old website to a specific page on the new website are not supported.
When transitioning to a new website located at the same URL, site owners can create redirects from old to new paths manually by following the URL Redirects documentation. Alternatively for cost of development, SiteNow can perform a one-time import of a .CSV file containing "from-to" redirects during the go-live process. Please contact us to obtain our .CSV template to populate redirects with and then return it back to us.
Occasionally, there will be platform updates where new features, theme changes, security updates or general functionality will be updated. During this time, it is possible for some website downtime or loss of functionality. For certain updates, a customer review or test process will be scheduled ahead of the rollout to ensure any changes to the platform will work as intended.
The SiteNow service is not equipped to handle the storage and playback of large video files. For that reason, we only allow small videos to be uploaded locally for use within the v3 banner block as a decorative enhancement. For longer informative videos, we encourage the use of third-party services such as UI Capture, YouTube and Vimeo which can be embedded into WYSIWYG text areas.
To maintain the accessibility of videos, captions should be added and/or transcripts should be made available near the video.
Use of copyrighted material
In most cases, you cannot copy and distribute someone else’s work without prior permission from the owner. The only exception to this is the Fair Use doctrine. You can read about it here: https://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/more-info.html
You should always attempt to give credit to the content owner. This includes the creator's name, as well as other information can can aid users in finding the original work or source. If the content owner contact you and ask you to take the content down, you should.
If you have further questions related to copyright law when it comes to your University of Iowa SiteNow website, please contact the Office of the General Counsel - firstname.lastname@example.org.
- University of Iowa Photoshelter - https://uiowa.photoshelter.com/index
- University of Iowa Imagery Guidelines - https://brand.uiowa.edu/imagery
SiteNow strives to support as many modern browsers as possible given the wide range of usage across campus and tries to follow the same policy as the latest version of the Drupal content management system, upon which SiteNow is built. For backend compatibility (content editing/management), we highly recommend website editors use the latest two supported major versions of Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome or the latest major release of Mozilla Firefox ESR.
For public facing content we can work to at least provide graceful fallbacks for the browsers that Drupal supports if your audience needs it.
If you encounter an issue that you suspect is related to the browser, try another browser and/or disabling any third-party extensions/plugins before reporting.
Accessibility & Security
If we are notified that a site has been flagged as inaccessible or vulnerable to attack, we will take steps to remedy the issue. If an immediate remediation cannot be performed to resolve the issue, we reserve the right to suspend or permanently remove the website.
Inactive Site Removal
Periodically, ITS will audit SiteNow websites for activity. Websites that have not been logged in to for at least 6 months will be considered inactive.
When a website has been determined to be inactive, ITS will attempt to contact the site webmasters via their University of Iowa email addresses to verify if the website is still needed. If ITS does not receive a response within 1 week, a follow-up email will be sent. If a response to the follow-up email is not received within 1 week, the website is subject to removal without further notice.
Once a website is removed due to inactivity, a copy of the site content cannot be restored.
Customers can fund the development of customizations to the SiteNow platform so long as they do not interfere with the accessibility, security and maintainability of the platform. ITS reserves the right to turn down any proposed customizations. Funded, custom engagements are dictated by the terms outlined in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) agreed upon with the customer.
We require all customizations adhere to the Brand Guidelines set by the Office of Strategic Communications.