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Virtual hosting (group.berkeley.edu)

Virtual hosting allows group accounts to have their website available on a different domain, typically under berkeley.edu. For example, a group's site can be made available at yourgroup.berkeley.edu in addition to the standard address under ocf.berkeley.edu. Faculty and staff are also eligible for virtual hosting, but must obtain their own domains (e.g. name.dept.berkeley.edu).

The OCF provides two separate (but related) virtual hosting services:

  • Web hosting, where your group's OCF-hosted website becomes available under the new name

  • Email forwarding, which lets you configure email forwarding for the new name

Web hosting is always enabled for group accounts with virtual hosting, but email forwarding must be requested separately.

Web Hosting

After the virtual host is set up, the files in the public_html directory of your group account (ordinarily accessible at https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~accountname) will appear at the root directory of the virtual-hosted site (yourgroup.berkeley.edu).

Instructions

  1. Request an account. Request an OCF account (if you haven't already done so). Student and department groups need a group account; faculty and staff may use their personal account.
  2. Set up real site. Set up your webspace and upload your website (if you haven't already done so). The website should be developed already, not a placeholder.
  3. Include OCF hosting banner. Place a Hosted by OCF banner on your home page that links to the OCF front page. If none of these images are appropriate for your site, you may design one of your own and submit it for approval.
  4. Include university's disclaimer (if applicable). If you are a student group, place the university-mandated student group disclaimer on each page of your website (see the section below).
  5. Obtain a domain (faculty and staff only). The OCF will not request personal domains for individuals, so faculty and staff must obtain their own. Your department may be able to assist you with this step.
  6. Complete request form. Complete the virtual hosting request form online. OCF staff will review your request and contact the university hostmaster on your behalf if necessary.

Including the OCF banner

Place any of the Hosted by OCF banners on your site by copying the code onto your page. The banner need only be placed on the home page of your site. You can also create your own OCF banner with approval from the OCF (see instructions above).

Including the University Student Group Disclaimer

The university requires that all student group websites on a subdomain of berkeley.edu (other than those of university-sponsored student groups) contain the following text on each page:

We are a student group acting independently of the University of California. We take full responsibility for our organization and this web site.

Email Forwarding

Want to send and receive email from @mygroup.berkeley.edu addresses? You can do that!

We call this mail virtual hosting. To learn more, check out our page about that.

Policies

Groups, faculty, and academic staff only

The OCF only performs virtual hosting for OCF group accounts and individual accounts belonging to UC Berkeley faculty, and the faculty and academic staff of associated institutions which are listed in our eligibility policy . Each account may have at most one virtual host, but you are free to set up external domains which redirect to it. Faculty and academic staff are not eligible for mail hosting for their individual accounts, as mail hosting is intended for mailing lists or group accounts. Furthermore, virtual hosts for faculty and staff will only be approved if they have already obtained a domain name from their department or elsewhere. Group accounts for research groups are not subject to these restrictions. While we are happy to host personal websites for faculty and staff, we will not manage their DNS, nor provide mailing lists for individual accounts.

Limitations on non-berkeley.edu

The OCF may host non-berkeley.edu domains, however the process is more complicated in this case. At the discretion of an OCF (Deputy) Site Manager, permission may be granted to those who can demonstrate a specific need for the OCF to host a website outside of the berkeley.edu domain. For such domains, the account holder must:

  1. Obtain the written permission of a Site Manager or Deputy Site Manager to host this domain.

  2. Pay any and all fees and/or obtain permissions relating to obtaining and maintaining a domain name.

Here are some cases where it would be appropriate for the OCF to host a non-berkeley.edu domain: when hosting a student group website which was previously hosted at a non-berkeley.edu address, a website for a department or University-affiliated research group that requires a particular domain, or the personal website of a faculty or staff member. Domains under berkeley.edu may not redirect to a non-berkeley.edu domain (see no off-site hosting).

University policies

As with any OCF account, virtually hosted websites must comply with the relevant UC Berkeley computer use policy and DNS policy. The LEAD Center's Student Org Domain Name Guidelines presents the most relevant information to student groups.

In particular,

  • No off-site (third-party) hosting: Circumventions around off-site hosting, including (but not limited to) proxies, redirects, and substantial inline frames (iframes) of non-berkeley.edu domains are not allowed. The OCF does not process nor advise off-site hosting requests, which can be submitted directly to the university (however, feel free to keep us informed if you have an existing OCF account).

    In other words, to comply with university policy, the OCF may only provide virtual hosting for websites that are hosted on OCF servers.

  • Relevant domain name: Registered Student Organizations may only use domains or request subdomains that are the officially recognized name of the group or a recognizable shortened version of the official name. Exceptions to this rule must be approved by the LEAD Center prior to requesting the domain from the OCF. In general, the subdomain must reasonably and uniquely identify the student group that is requesting it, and not be easily confused with another group or University department or resource.

Hosting badge

All virtual hosts on the OCF must include an OCF banner on the front page that links to the OCF home page. The banner must be noticeable without undue effort. The hosting badge not only attributes the OCF but also distinguishes it from sites hosted by University departments.

Disabling of virtual hosts

If your OCF account is found in violation of OCF policies, including but not limited to the virtual hosting policies in this document, your account and/or vhost may be disabled, depending on the cause of the violation. If your vhost is disabled you will see this landing page in place of your vhost. If you would like to request a domain that points to a currently disabled vhost, please contact us for more information.

Reclamation of virtual hosts

Any virtual host which is no longer used, in violation of OCF policies, or assigned to an OCF account which has lost eligibility (for instance, an account for an inactive RSO) may be reclaimed by the OCF. This means that the domain name will no longer be reserved for the group or individual that previously used it, and the domain may be claimed by others. If the domain is claimed by another group or individual after is has been reclaimed, the original group will not be able to reclaim it unless it becomes available again. If the virtual host has been disabled by the explicit request of the account holder, or if the account has lost eligibility for virtual hosting, then the virtual host may be reclaimed immediately. Finally, if the virtual host was disabled for violating account or vhost policy, before reclaiming the vhost, OCF staff will make an effort to contact the group which holds it. If, in two weeks, we receive no response or OCF staff have determined that there has not been sufficient progress towards resolving the issue, the virtual host will be disabled if it is not already. After a virtual host has been disabled for 3 months, it may be reclaimed at the discretion of the OCF staff.

Renaming virtual hosts

If you wish to rename your virtual host (e.g. switch from something.berkeley.edu to somethingelse.berkeley.edu), you must provide a compelling reason for doing so, such as a change in the name of your group. In this case, you may contact us to request a virtual host at your new URL. If the request is approved, you will be granted the new virtual host. If both virtual hosts are direct subdomains of berkeley.edu, then you will be allowed to keep your existing virtual host at its current URL until the end of the semester following the rename, after which it will be reclaimed and eligible for reassignment to another group or individual (e.g. if requested in the fall semester, the old vhost will removed at the end of the following spring semester). Note that for the purposes of this policy Winter break is considered part of the Spring semester, and Summer break is considered part of the Fall semester.

Exceptions

Any exceptions to any policies outlined in this document must be approved by an OCF General Manager, Site Manager, Deputy General Manager or Deputy Site Manager in writing. Note that, due to university policy, we cannot grant any exceptions allowing off-site hosting for any reason.