Choosing a Web Host

SMU Student Web Hosting

In August 2012, SMU OIT launched a multi-user instance of WordPress that students will be able to use free of charge.

Students are not required to use SMU's WordPress offering; they can use any technology or hosting service they're comfortable with.

Optional External Hosting for Advanced Students

Students who are comfortable with web technologies are encouraged to purchase a hosting package with an external host that can offer features not available through SMU's offering. There are pros and cons to both options, but an external hosting package provides a bit more of a "real world" experience. Students who are new to web design and development should use the SMU offering.

More information regarding external hosting appears at the bottom of this page.

Comparison of Hosting Options

SMU Offering:

Pros Cons
  • Free.
  • SMU resources will be available for student support.
  • WordPress software will be kept up to date and secured by SMU.
  • Recommended for beginners.
  • WordPress only.
  • Limited WordPress customizations: students will not be able to access the PHP layer of the software for custom theming. Rather, a few themes that students can insert their content into will be made available.
  • Domain names can only forward to your site; also, final URLs as search engines see them will be of the form, rather than, for example.

External Web Hosting:

Pros Cons
  • Low-level access to the web software, for extra customizations.
  • Choice of web content systems — WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.
  • Full domain name integration, rather than just a forward.
  • Hosting fees (vary by company, but are generally in the area of $100/year for basic hosting).
  • Students are responsible for their own software updates and keeping software secure.
  • Tech support would be handled by the hosting company and not SMU.

Choosing an External Host

If a student does decide that he or she would prefer to use an external host instead of SMU's offering, there are many options in the marketplace. SMU does not endorse or affiliate with any external hosts, and any purchases and service agreements are wholly the responsibility of the student.

Many web hosts offer discounts for referrals - get together with your friends to save money, and search the web for coupon codes! Web hosts also offer discounts for yearly instead of monthly payment plans; at the cost of not being able to switch hosts if you're unhappy with the service. Choose carefully!

It is strongly recommended that students who do use external hosting register their domain in the same place that they host. This makes for fewer steps and easier maintenance.

The following is a list of a few popular web hosts. SMU does not endorse or affiliate with any external hosts and does not receive compensation for referrals. More extensive lists can be found by searching online but here are some examples.

Blogging Tools