Support & FAQs

How do I get started?

MSU Domains is a service currently available for MSU Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students only. Accounts may be requested at any time, but persons requesting accounts must attend a startup workshop or consultation in order to get started. Upcoming opportunities are listed on the Calendar page.

MSU.domains is a service for individual faculty/graduate student professional websites, their public research project sites, or public teaching materials. The system is not designed for departmental, program, laboratory, or other university sites. All information/data on MSU.domains must follow the MSU Institutional Data Policy and users must adhere to the MSU Acceptable Use Policy. Please check with your College or unit for any further use policies.

If you do not have an account and you wish to set one up, fill out the New Account Request Form to get started

Frequently Asked Questions

I need a Domains account. Who do I contact?

If you’re a member of the MSU staff, faculty, or a graduate student, you can request an account by sending an email to help@cal.msu.edu.

How much does a Domains account cost?

Domains accounts are free for faculty and graduates students. Your free website will have the address “[NetID].msu.domains”. An address such as “[LastName].com” can be purchased from domain name websites and linked to your site on Domains.

I already have a website. Can I transfer it over?

Yes, websites can be transferred over. We have two tutorials on transferring over: transferring from a WordPress site, and transferring from a non-WordPress site. WordPress sites transfer over effectively, while non-WordPress sites vary in how effective transfers are; SquareSpace has relatively easy transfers, while most other sites will require you to copy and paste the text and images into your new site.

I keep getting emails about disk quota or backups failing. What does this mean?

Every Domains account comes with a certain amount of disk space, where the backups of your site are stored. Backups save all the features and content of your site.  If you’re getting these emails, you’re using too much of this disk space. Most of the time, this is due to undeleted backups. Make sure to delete old backups, and see our tipsheet here on changing your backup settings. If you’re still getting this email after deleting old backups, it is typically due to having too much media – photos and videos- on your site. Images can be compressed when stored to save disk space. To learn how to do this, please see our tipsheet on image compression. Videos, however, can’t be compressed, and take up a significant amount of disk space. For this reason, it’s recommended that you limit the videos on your site as much as possible. If you are still receiving emails like these, please reach out to us at help@cal.msu.edu.

Terms of Service

These are the current operating Terms of Service

Michigan State University (“MSU”) is providing you with a blog and website hosting platform (the “Services”) through a third party, Reclaim Hosting (“Reclaim”).  MSU pays Reclaim for the Services, and provides the Services to you so that you may increase your scholarly presence online. You will have control over, and be responsible for, what goes on your website and blog, subject to the terms and guidelines below.  

Please read these terms of service (the “Terms”) carefully.  By accessing or using any part of the Services, you agree to be bound by these Terms.  If you do not agree to all the Terms, then you may not access or use any of the Services. These Terms may be updated from time to time, and your access and/or use of the Services constitutes your acceptance of the updated Terms.

  1.   Your Reclaim Account. If you create a blog or website using the Services, you are responsible for maintaining the security of your account and blog, and you are fully responsible for all activities that occur under the account and any other actions taken in connection with the website and blog. You must immediately notify [MSU/Reclaim] of any unauthorized uses of your website, blog, account, or any other breaches of security.  You understand that [MSU/Reclaim] has full access to your account and content for the purposes of troubleshooting and managing the Services.  In instances where content is found to be in violation of the laws, policies and standards noted in the next paragraph, this access may be used to remove your content.  In addition, MSU reserves the right to remove content and/or suspend your account if your website or content compromises the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of MSU’s IT environment.  
  1.   Applicable Policies. If you use the Services, you are expected to observe applicable MSU policies and, in particular, apply MSU’s Acceptable Use Policy for MSU Information Technology Resources (https://tech.msu.edu/about/guidelines-policies/aup/) and MSU’s Institutional Data Policy (https://tech.msu.edu/about/guidelines-policies/#data) to your use of the Services.  If you repeatedly violate these policies and/or applicable law, you may have your account suspended permanently.  
  1.   MSU Brand Standards. MSU will provide you with an MSU-branded template for website.  You are not required to use the standard template for your website.  However, if you choose to incorporate MSU-branding into your website, it must conform to MSU’s web standards published by Communications & Brand Strategy. 
  1.   Use of Copyrighted Materials. Your use of the Services must follow applicable legal standards regarding copyright.  In general, it is your responsibility to secure permission from the owner of the copyright when including copyrighted material, such as text, photographs, audio, video, graphics, maps, or logos, if you wish to include the material as part of your website or blog.
  1.   Prohibited Uses. You may not use the Services for:
  •     Disclosure of education records or identifiable student information that would be protected from disclosure under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), disclosure of private employee or institutional information, or disclosure of information that would be protected under other privacy laws or regulations, such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
  •     Engaging in partisan political activities on behalf of, or in opposition to, a candidate for public office.
  •     Promoting or opposing the qualification, passage or defeat of a ballot question that does not affect MSU’s interests. 
  •     Selling items (goods, contents, services, etc.) on your website or blog.
  •     Commercial advertising (text links provided for informational purposes or as part of a comprehensive list of sources will not be considered commercial advertising unless the purpose is to promote a product or service).
  •     Co-branding, hyperlinking logos, link exchanges, and associate, affiliate, and referral programs in support of commercial activity.
  •     Hosting pages on behalf of individuals and organizations that are not affiliated with MSU.
  1.   Your Content. You are encouraged to use the Services in support of building your own digital identity in support of your scholarly work.  You understand that the work you publish and make publicly available on your website may be browsed or viewed by anyone. You, and not MSU, are solely responsible for the content of your website. MSU will not routinely monitor the content of your website.  MSU will, however, investigate complaints and may remove or limit access to websites that violate local, state, or federal law or MSU policy. Generally, your use of the Services must not convey the impression that you are representing, giving opinions, or otherwise making statements on behalf of MSU or any unit of MSU.  It is encouraged that users include this disclaimer:

The opinions or statements expressed herein should not be taken as a position of or endorsement by Michigan State University.

  1.   Termination of Services. If you are faculty, you may use the Services for as long as you are employed by MSU.  If you are a graduate student, you may use the Services for up to one year after your graduation, suspension or withdrawal from MSU.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, MSU reserves the right to terminate the Services at any time. If MSU terminates the Services, or if you separate from employment or affiliation with MSU, you will be given the opportunity to migrate your content to a personal website hosted by Reclaim or another service provider. 

9. Updates to Terms of Service. In the event that updates are made to these Terms of Service, you will be notified via your MSU email. Continued use of the Services implies your consent to the updated Terms of Service.

Support Documentation

Getting Started

Setting Up Your MSU.domains Account
This tipsheet will guide you through setting up your msu.domains account.

How to Install WordPress
This tipsheet will help you to download the application WordPress, which allows you to create an MSU website, as well as specify details such as templates and backups for your site.

Transferring From A WordPress Website
This tipsheet will help you transfer content from your current or previous website WordPress website to your new WordPress website.

Transferring A Previous Website to WordPress

This tipsheet will help you transfer content from your current or previous website non-WordPress website to your new WordPress website.

Customizing WordPress

Customizing WordPress
This tipsheet will walk you through customizing a WordPress website’s appearance.

How to Set Up Google Analytics in WordPress
This tipsheet will help you to set up and use Google Analytics in your WordPress site.

List of Recommended Plugins
A list of recommended plugins for WordPress.

How to Download Plugins

How to download and delete plugins, as well as general rules.

How to Use Elementor

This tipsheet will help you install and use Elementor, a popular WordPress plugin that adds customization options for posts and pages.

Uploading and Managing Photos

This tipsheet will help you create a media library, and save on disc space by compressing photos.

Uploading and Managing Videos

This tipsheet will help you upload and host videos, as well as embed videos from video sharing sites, such as YouTube.

Learning the new Gutenberg Editor

This tipsheet will guide you through setting up posts and pages with the new update.

Reverting Back to Classic WordPress Editor

This tipsheet will help you download a plugin to re-install the classic WordPress editor.

Getting Started with C-Panel
This tipsheet will help you log into C-Panel, navigate to your dashboard, and introduce you to some of the apps.

Registering a Domain and Mapping to MSU.domains – NameCheap
This tipsheet will help you to register a domain name (e.g. a .com address) and then map it to your msu.domains space. We recommend using namecheap.com as the registrar for your domain, but you may choose to use another service if you’d like.

Registering a Domain and Mapping to MSU.domains – Reclaim
This tipsheet will help you to register a domain name (e.g. a .com address) and then map it to your msu.domains space.

Creating A Subdomain (From Reclaimhosting.com)

This tipsheet from Reclaim Hosting’s website will help you create a subdomain of your current site.

Creating an Additional Site
This tipsheet will help you to create an additional site in WordPress. This can be helpful when you want to create a separate website related to the main website, such as a class or lab.

Creating an Add On Domain
This tipsheet will help you create add on domains, allowing you to host several domains from one control panel.

Managing Your Disc Space
This tipsheet will help you reduce your disk space usage through various methods.

Changing Backups
This tipsheet will help you to change the frequency and method of backing up your website, specifically reducing the number of backups your application automatically creates.

Installing Drupal

This PDF tipsheet will help you install and set up Drupal, a Content Management System (CMS) available through Domains.

How to Turn Your WordPress Site into a Flat File Website
This tipsheet will help you turn a WordPress website that you are no longer updating into a flat file website rather than driven by a database, which can help improve security, increase function, and reduce file space.If you need help with a topic that is not covered on this page please email help@cal.msu.edu for assistance.

Workshop and Fellowship Opportunities

Digital Presence and Public Scholarship Fellows Program

Apply here! 

This eight-week long program is designed to help participants plan (or revise) and implement a digital online presence and public scholarship routines, mindsets, and workflows. The program is open to faculty (fixed term and tenure system) and academic specialists. In its seventh semester, the program is led by the College of Arts and Letters in collaboration with several other colleges and units on campus.

Online presence and public scholarship are ways to enhance one’s research and reputation, along with that of the University. While many workshops start with the “how to”, this program is designed to help participants navigate challenging and nuanced questions like:

  • Why should you have a digital presence?
  • Who is interested in my work and scholarship?
  • How can this work be recognized professionally?

Once participants navigate these questions, discussions will move on to discovering which platform(s) match individuals’ goals. In addition, this experience will provide participants with resources and collaborators to start addressing their presence now and to help evolve and sustain that presence into the future.

By the end of this program, participants will have created a professional website, and have the resources to continue to develop and connect it to their professional online presence writ large.

Participants are expected to attend all of the weekly sessions during the semester (although facilitators understand that life happens sometimes).

Please feel free to contact co-facilitators  and  with any questions.

Registration deadline: September 20th, 2019.

Apply here! 

Sponsored by: MSU College of Arts and Letters

Digital Presence and Public Scholarship Fellows Program – Blogging Workshop

Apply here!

For the last couple of years, the Digital Presence and Public Scholarship Fellows program has aided scholars from across MSU in developing and managing their presence on the Internet. This semester, we are offering an additional six-week program focused specifically on helping participants develop or expand a blogging practice, exploring ways that public writing can help further scholarly goals, and exploring workflows and practices for establishing a regular writing and publishing schedule.

The workshop will be held on Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 p.m., from October 15th through November 19th. It will meet in the Digital Scholarship Lab on the second floor of the MSU Main Library.

Workshop sessions will alternate between topical discussions and hands on practice, with a focus on helping participants get started blogging, explore their voices as bloggers, think about what makes a blog post good, and create connections to other academic bloggers. The workshop will be co-facilitated by Kathleen Fitzpatrickand Burton Bargerstock, who will be joined by guest bloggers.

To apply, please fill out the form at the link above. Applicants are asked to commit to attending all six face-to-face sessions of the workshop.

Application deadline: October 11th, 2019.

Sponsored by: MSU College of Arts and Letters, University Outreach and Engagement

Apply here!

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