Iowa State “Sites” Web Service to Replace Discontinued “Public” Web Service

Apr 08, 2019

Iowa State University’s first public website service will shut down at the end of the year, and with the help of a collaborative effort between Information Technology Services (ITS), the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will be replaced with a newer, more streamlined web resource.

Starting in 1993, university-related websites — including many of Iowa State’s very first websites — were hosted through www.public.iastate.edu, the first public website service available to campus. But as websites moved to other systems and formats, the public service slowly phased out of use, and will ultimately be decommissioned by the end of 2019. 

Hand-in-hand with the shut-down process, a new web service, sites.iastate.edu, will partially replace the sunsetting “public” service by offering Iowa State faculty members an intuitive, professional platform to display their research and manage their online presence. 

"The public.iastate.edu web service has been around a long time and is no longer the best option for creating and hosting modern websites,” said ITS Director of Enterprise Services and Customer Success Mike Lohrbach. "There are much better solutions for campus’ needs available now, especially the new sites.iastate.edu web service."

Sites.iastate.edu allows faculty members to create and manage their own academic website with an easy-to-use interface that matches the university's web theme, meets digital accessibility legal requirements, and is responsive for large and small display formats, from wide screens to mobile phones. Personal and non-ISU websites are not allowed on the new service, per the university’s acceptable use policy.

To create their website, faculty can navigate to the sites.iastate.edu page, log in, and begin building. Format options currently include a simple, single-page CV-style website, or an advanced multi-page site, which allows faculty to provide a wider variety of content.

John VanDyk, a senior systems analyst with the Biology IT web development team, said improvements and updates to the “sites” web service will be continuously added. Additional features, including a turnkey website for faculty with busy research labs, are being developed now and will become available later this year.

“The sites.iastate.edu service was designed after numerous faculty focus groups provided information on what they would like to see in a faculty website service,” VanDyk said.

Over the last several years, ITS and department IT staff across campus have worked to move departmental sites off the public.iastate.edu service and contact people actively using the system. However, hundreds of active websites remain. To ensure information is not lost, users who still have webpages through public.iastate.edu should move their information to a different location before Dec. 31.

While faculty are encouraged to move their existing webpages to the new sites platform, course tools and materials should be moved to the Canvas learning management system. All other academic information should be moved to departmental websites.

Websites and information on the old public service will not be transferred automatically to the new sites service. An online tutorial for creating and editing a website on the service is available, and additional questions can be directed to the IT Solution Center at 515-294-4000, 192 Parks Library, or solution@iastate.edu.