Webhosting for lab, research group or conference

In addition to the possibility of hosting a personal website, DICT also offers staff members the possibility of hosting a website for entities such as labs, research groups, conferences and the like.

Note: for a website specific to a faculty or department, hosting on the UGent portal website is preferred.

The difference with a personal website is the offered possibility to maintain the site easily with several users. Also, a shortened URL is given, like www.dentistry.ugent.be

What's offered?

  • On webhost, we offer a networkdrive, also known as a share, you can mount on your own computer and use. So, next to your c:-drive and possible D:-drive, you have than, for instance a W:-drive for your website. Your webpages, created on your own computer, can be simply set on-line by copying your html-files to that networkdrive.
  • The networkdrive can be mounted and used by several users - appointed by the contact person. So, the website files can be edited by each given user.
  • The available space on this networkdrive is 5 GB.
  • With the networkdrive, also a shortened URL is given. This has the form chosenname.ugent.be (with an alias www.chosenname.ugent.be)
    In this, the 'chosenname' is the name of your lab, research group or conference. This shortened URL has to comply with a few requirements.
  • Every webshare has its own SSL certificate. Webshares are only served on https://. Request for http:// are transferred to https://.

What information do we need?

  • You mention the desired shortened URL ((www.)chosenname.ugent.be).
  • The requirements and restrictions this URL has to comply with:
    • The URL always ends with .ugent.be
    • Only 1 shortened URL can be obtained with a network drive.
    • Only characters, figures and the "-" sign are accepted, but the chosenname always starts with a character.
    • The chosenname has 25 characters maximum.
    • The shortened URL can not already exist. You can check this by surfing to the desired name.
    • The shortened URL has to be clear and must reflect the content.
    • The shortened URL must be different from your login- or username

  • So choose a name that is not too long. In URLs, words are usually pasted together, the use of the "-" sign is to be avoided.
  • Also make sure to choose a sufficiently clear and specific name. Either upper or lower case letters can be used in the URL.
  • Provide a brief description of the webshare. Also specify what any abbreviation stands for.
  • Who has to get access to the networkdrive or share? In other words, who gets permission to edit the website? Only staff and 3rd cycle students can be listed as maintainers.

How to apply?

  • You can request this network share and associated shortened URL via DICT Selfservice.

How to use?

  • After verification of the data, the webspace is, when all data is correct, created. The applicant receives an e-mail from the helpdesk with the next info. The sharename is assigned by DICT and is a unique name that has to be used when mounting the networkdrive.
    Shortened URL: www.chosenname.ugent.be (also without www.)
    Sharename: \\files.ugent.be\<login name>\www\shares\<chosenname>
    Admitted users:
    loginname and name of the admitted user(s).
  • Mount the networkdrive on your own computer, e.g. as W:-drive (W for website). This can be done by each of the appointed users. More info on mounting.
  • Create your website (html-files) and copy it to the networkdrive (e.g. the W:-drive) The file index.html is the startpage and is displayed when entering the shortened URL in your webbrowser. At the creation of the webspace, a .default.html and .htaccess are being created by us. The former is a read only dummy HTML template, the latter can be edited.
  • Test the shortened URL and when all is OK, the new URL can be made public.


  • It is possible to migrate your own web server to this hosting while maintaining the current URL in the form of http://naam.ugent.be (i.e. without www.)
  • If at the moment, the website of the faculty department, lab... is placed under your own account, than, it is simple to transfer it to the requested networkdrive. On your own computer, mount both your personal networkdrive (e.g. H:-drive) and the new networkdrive for the website of the website of the faculty department, lab,... (e.g. W:-drive). On your own computer, you can drag the files from one networkdrive to the other to move your website.
  • If you want the old page to automatically redirect to the new one, you can set up a redirect page as the start (and only) page on your old website. Name this index.html and copy the following content, specifying the correct new address, of course:
  • <html>
    <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="3;URL=http://www.thename.ugent.be/">
    <h3>Our website is moved</h3>
    Within a few seconds you'll be redirected to our new site.
    Please, edit your bookmarks to the new address.
    <a href="http://www.thename.ugent.be/">http://www.thename.ugent.be/</a>.


  • The use of scripting is possible. These languages (and extensions) are supported:
    • PHP 7.4 (extension .php) (disabled functions: exec, passthru, shell_exec, system, proc_open, popen, curl_exec, curl_multi_exec, show_source)
    • Perl 5.* (extension .pl)

  • Don't use any scripts of which you don't fully understand the function. We will not be able to help you with any scripts if you don't understand them yourself.
  • The webserver doesn't support:
    • Active Server Pages (ASP)
    • Python
    • executable cgi-scripts: For safety reasons only the scripting languages mentioned above are supported. Executable scripts are not allowed.

  • We would like to warn you for (statistics) tools which generate ads, which is not according the rules of proper use!
  • Webserver logs are available in the /logs folder of your webshare. (only available on the SMB share, not on the website)
    Error logs are available in logs/error_log_443.log
    Access logs are available in logs/access_log_443.log
  • For security reasons, the /tmp folder is not accessible, because multiple websites are hosted on the same webserver.
    If you need a temporary folder for the application in your webshare, you can use /srv/vhosts/‹vhost›/htdocs/tmp
    ‹vhost› is the url of your webshare (without the 'www.' prefix). For webshare 'mysite.ugent.be' the path to temporary folder equals /srv/vhosts/mysite.ugent.be/htdocs/tmp/
  • No shell access is available to access the files of your webshare. As a workaround, you can set up a Linux virtual machine (Vmware, vagrant, virtualbox) and mount your webshare. In the VM, you can install and use the shell commands you require.
    To mount a webshare you need to add it to the /etc/fstab file (tested on Ubuntu 23.10 Mantic): instructions on how to do this can be found here.

Restrict access

  • By default, webshares are publicly available, from within the UGent network as well as from the internet. You can limit access to (parts of) your website:
    • Login via CAS (Centrale Authenticatie Service): your website is only available after a successful login with a UGent account. Access can be limited to specific accounts, or to a group of people. More information is available on CAS (Centrale Authenticatie Service): for developers.
    • Limit access based on the IP-address of a visitor: by default, your website is accessible from anywhere on the internet. By enabling access rules in the .htaccess file, you can limit access to only allow visitors from the UGent network (including VPN). In the WWW-folder of your webshare, an .htaccess file is available, containing a few examples that can be enabled.
    • Pro-tip: You can set a .htaccess file per directory of your website. Your website can be publicly available, and limit access to a subfolder of your site, by putting a .htaccess in that folder.


      • DICT provides snapshots of previous versions of your webshare. Every evening at 8 PM a snapshot is taken, and those daily snapshots are kept available for one month. Weekly snapshots are also at your disposal, retention time is 3 months. So unless you have very specific reasons, there is no need to backup the document root yourself on a regular base. For webshares however, snapshots are not available via 'previous versions', and as the snapshot folder is excluded from directory listing, even with 'show hidden folders' flag active, you'll need to enter the file path manually in Windows Explorer, e.g. \\files.ugent.be\\www\shares\\.snapshot The same applies for Mac and Linux users: you'll have to chdir to the .snapshot directory manually, it won't be visible in first place. For Windows users: to be able to access the snapshot directory, an registry tweak is needed to disable SMB directory caching. DICT provides an app via the Company Portal that fixes that registry setting for you. Search the portal for FixSnapshotsWebshare. No reboot is needed.