WordPress is an open source CMS (content management system) that allows you to edit your site with a user-friendly web interface, without having to worry about HTML or FTP. Williams uses WordPress to host most academic and administrative department websites, as well as blogs/sites for academic courses, individuals, groups, and projects.
Personal site creation can be done without assistance; for other types of sites, contact the web team.
How to create your own website
Anyone with an active Williams account can quickly create a WordPress website/blog, hosted by Williams. Go to sites.williams.edu and log in (link shown next to the red arrow, left) with your Williams User ID and password. Your Williams User ID is your initials followed by a number (e.g. abc1) or the first letter of the first name followed by up to 7 letters of the last name (e.g. jdoe).
Your site will be automatically created upon login and located at
where abc1 is your Williams User ID.
If you need a site for multiple people (e.g. an academic course, Williams group, or project) contact the web team - we can set up a site for you that doesn't use an individual's user ID in the URL.Keep in mind that your login deactivates when you leave Williams, which means you will no longer be able to log into your WordPress site. Contact the web team if you would like assistance copying your site before you leave the college.
About the server
The sites.williams.edu server (a.k.a. "sites server") has different options available than the server that hosts the college's administrative and academic departments (a.k.a. the "department server").
The sites server has a much wider selection of themes (i.e. skins) for your site than the department server. However, the official Williams "Meerkat" theme is not available- it's reserved for academic and administrative department sites. Documentation on this site is written with the Meerkat theme in mind- accuracy may vary if you're using a different theme.
If we're missing a theme you would like installed, contact the web team.
The sites server has a different set of plugins than the department server. Plugins that integrate PeopeSoft data, or rely technically or visually on the Meerkat theme are not available.
Glow, our web-based course management system, is used for most classes at Williams, and offers easy-to-use templates for faculty to put their course materials online. Glow also provides tools that faculty can use to enhance their face-to-face classroom teaching and student-to-student interactions. These tools include class roster facebook, online discussion forum, course wiki and blog tool, electronic sign-up sheet, online assessment and gradebook. For more information, faculty should contact their department liaison.
Anyone with a Williams email automatically has access to Google Sites. Your URL will be https://sites.google.com/a/williams.edu/yoursitename/, where yoursitename is up to you. Google sites can be used for groups of people (clubs, classes, projects, etc.), or for an individual.
In some cases, we recommend using an external web hosting service instead of ours:
- sites/blogs that have nothing to do with the College or academics
- sites/blogs that you want to last beyond your stay at Williams College
- WordPress installations that require custom development & file level access
- sites that sell or advertise anything
Free site/blog services:
Some of the above sites offer additional paid services. If you’ve got the technical know-how, you could also set up your own installation of WordPress.