IT Connect
Your connection to information technology at the UW

UW Web Publishing Services


The UW provides all staff, students, and faculty with a web hosting account that you can use to publish your web site. Before you can do that, however, you must explicitly turn on your web publishing services.

To turn on your web publishing:

  1. Go to
  2. Select “Turn Services on or off” from the left-hand menu.
  3. If you have any of the following underneath “Services that are off,” click the checkbox underneath “Turn On” to turn the service on.
    • Web Publishing
    • Student Web Publishing
    • Vergil Account
    • Homer Account

    (Note that you probably will not have all of these services — turn on all of those you do have.)

  4. Select Continue and then Agree.

You will now have your very own web site!

Once you have activated your web publishing account, you should visit your site to make sure everything is set up properly.

There are three places you can go to access your files: one provides you with editing, another provides you with viewing access, and the last provides you with a special kind of editing access called development access. The three places present to you the same files, but you can only do certain things with those files (e.g. editing or viewing) depending on how you access the files.


This method of accessing your files is the simplest, but it is also the most limiting. When you access your files using this method, you can only look at them —- you cannot change them. This is how your viewers will access your site.

To access your site for viewing, visit the following URLs:

  • Students
  • Staff
  • People who are both staff and students
    (If you are both a staff and a student, then you can have two web sites on the University servers.)


To access your files for editing, you must connect to your account using an SFTP program. More information on how to obtain and use SFTP is available on the Tools of the Trade page of this workshop.

When you are connecting to the UW servers for common, everyday site design and maintenance, you should connect to the following servers from within your SFTP program:

  • Students
  • Staff
  • People who are both staff and students
    (You may connect to either homer or vergil depending on which tract of philosophy most inspires you.)

public_html What?”, You Ask?

When you activated your web publishing account earlier, the system created a folder on your UW files account called public_html (and possibly a folder called student_html). This folder contains your public web site.

That is, the files you put in your public_html folder are also publicly available for viewing at your http://... address. You can think of public_html as being sort of like a wrought-iron gate. Anyone can see the ‘stuff’ on the other side of it, but you can only mess with the stuff if you have the key (in our example, the key is your UWNetID and Password).

Imagine I have a file called index.html (a name that will mean more to us later) in my public_html folder on my UW account. Let’s say I’m a student. If I connect using an SFTP program, then I can change this file at whim, but if I access it using a web browser, then I can only look at it.

If you are a student, public_html/index.html is like the ‘unlocked’ version of

If you are a staff member, then public_html/index.html is like the ‘unlocked’ version of

If you are both a staff member and a student, thenpublic_html/index.html is like the ‘unlocked’ version of student_html/index.html is like the unlocked version of


In addition to just editing and viewing your site, you may eventually start doing something called “web development,” which goes beyond just basic static content. Please refer back to the Web Design Phases page. If you are working with PHP or similar technologies, then you should probably be connecting to the development server and not the editing server.

Again, which server you should use depends on if you are a student, staff, or both.

  • Students
  • Staff
  • People who are both staff and students
    (You should connect to whichever server houses the site you’re working on — vergil if you’re working on your student_htmlsite and ovid if you’re working on your public_html site.)


If you have any questions about which server you should be using or if you are unable to access your account, you should send an email to

Tools of the Trade >>