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Home >> Computers & Technology >> Web Hosting

RohanCP Web Hosting

The SDSU Library offers web hosting for Academic Affairs departments, faculty, and student organizations.   Websites hosted on RohanCP require the use of the campus VPN for file transfers and administration from off campus.  RohanCP provides cPanel, a control panel designed to simplify web hosting, allowing website owners control of various aspects of website and server administration through a web browser.  Student Class Accounts allow web hosting on the Edoras instructional support server.

RohanCP automatically uses HTTPS for all websites.  Starting in July 2017, Chrome will mark sites Not Secure when accessed via HTTP.

PHP will be moving from PHP 7.1 to PHP 7.2 this summer.


File Transfers using cPanel or SFTP

Logins are limited to campus and the VPN.   CPanel Login

cPanel Login errors
Occasionally the cPanel login fails with a HTTP error 404 (or 401) page.  Here is how to clear this error.

Transferring files to a website
Transfer files, images, etc. associated with your web page using your web browser, cPanel > Files > File Manager, or with a Secure File Transfer Program (SFTP):

  1. Open your file transfer program (for example, WinSCP or Fetch)
  2. Log into the server: Host name is rohancp.sdsu.edu, use your RohanCP username and password to authenticate.
  3. Transfer the index.html file and any images or files that will appear on your page into the public_html directory.​

If you have large files (ie: 100MB or larger) consider using Google Drive and linking to the file URL on your website.

  • 403 Forbidden or 404 Not Found pages will be displayed on new websites until content is created.
  • Connections attempts will fail when using obsolete programs, often displaying errors like "Couldn't agree a client-to-server cipher" or "Algorithm negotiation failed".
  • Dreamweaver versions prior to 15 (CC 2014.1) are obsolete and will not connect to RohanCP.
  • The 2003 SSH Secure Shell program is obsolete and will not connect.  Use WinSCP on a PC, on a Mac use Fetch and select Connect using: SFTP



WordPress should be installed using cPanel. This automates the MySQL database setup and WordPress configuration.   cPanel > Software > Site Software > WordPress.  Note: during the install, the Installation URL: ends with wordpress  Please remove wordpress from the URL, or the site will always have /wordpress as part of the URL!

Please use HTTPS to login to WordPressUnencrypted HTTP logins are blocked.  If the original web hosting request did not include WordPress, please let us know so we can add your site to our SSL certificate for HTTPS WordPress logins.

WordPress may not be a good fit if your site is not updated frequently.  Installing WordPress commits you to keeping up with security updates.

  • Webmasters must apply WordPress security updates in a timely manner to meet campus security requirements.  Files on RohanCP are owned by the user under which the website is running, allowing WordPress to directly update itself unless the user is over quota.  Disable all plugins and themes (after noting which ones your site uses!!!) before upgrading, and enable them after the update completes.  RohanCP Websites must also meet the campus ATI requirements so they satisfy the ADA accessibility requirements.

  • Disable the cPanel WordPress Plugin!  The WordPress Admin Dashboard will not show new version updates if the cPanel WordPress Plugin is not disabled (currently version 4.9).  The cPanel plugin prevents minor security updates from occurring automatically.  It is important that automatic updates apply security patches to help keep your site secure. (You’ll still need to click “Update Now” for major feature releases.)

  • Protect your WordPress Website.  Consider installing the free Wordfence Security plugin to help protect your website from hacking.  More about the Wordfence plugin can be found at the FAQ.  Protect WordPress comment forms from spam.  One option is to use the very effective free Akismet plugin for comment spam filtering.

  • Getting Started with WordPress.  Once you have completed the one-click install of WordPress with cPanel, take a tour of WordPress with First Steps With WordPress.  A good reference for learning WordPress is learn.wordpress.com as well as YouTube. Invariably someone out there has posted a YouTube tutorial on just about any WordPress task.  For example: How To Make a WordPress Website.  WordPress support documentation and forums can be found at wordpress.org/support/

  • Backup WordPress.  Once your WordPress site up and running, back it up!  You can use cPanel to save your WordPress files and database to your computer.  Another option is to install the UpdraftPlus Backup Plugin.  The free version of UpdraftPlus allows you to backup and restore your WordPress files and database using Google Drive or Dropbox.

  • WordPress 500 Internal Errors may be due to a problem with a theme or plugin, or possibly a corrupted .htaccess file. The following guides may help with troubleshooting this issue:   The Ultimate Guide to Solving 500 Server Errors   Common WordPress Errors

  • WordPress News about new updates, security vulnerabilities and more, can be read at wordpress.org/news/


Site Publisher

cPanel Site Publisher enables you to quickly create a very simple website, even if you have never created a website before.  When you use this interface, you will select an appropriate template for your website, and then enter the website content that the template requests.

Site Publisher is found under cPanel > DOMAINS > Site Publisher


Caching, Logs, Quotas, and Tutorials


Caching and Page Speed

WordPress sites benefit significantly from running a caching plugin plugin.  W3TC is a very popular caching plugin, disk caching works well for W3TC in our shared hosting environment.  Another caching plugin is Cache Enabler, and is one of the easier to setup caching plugins.

Google PageSpeed Insights is an analyzer that offers suggestions on how to make a webpage faster.  PageSpeed can optimize images by changing the compression and reducing Chroma sampling webpage images, and optionally creating a zip file of the optimized images for downloading.  PageSpeed also identifies blocking JavaScript resources that delay the rendering of your webpage.

WEBPAGETEST is a free website speed test that provides diagnostics including waterfall charts, optimization checks and suggestions for improvements.

Load JavaScripts Asynchronously  When a browser comes to a <script> tag, it downloads that entire resource before moving on. This slows down a webpage, especially when external scripts in the head or above any visual elements. By Using the HTML5 async or defer attributes, resources load asynchronously:

<script src="demo.js" async></script>   or   <script src="demo.js" defer></script>

Comment Forms

RohanCP can send out email generated from comment forms, but RohanCP does not receive email.  Forms need to provide a valid reply address.  Please use some type of antispam prevention, ie: MathGuard or reCAPTCHA, otherwise your mail form will be flooded with spam comments.  WordPress sites can use the very effective free Akismet plugin.

Email accounts are NOT available on RohanCP.  Faculty and Staff should obtain GMail accounts (@mail.sdsu.edu) from the ETCS Help Desk.


Disk Quotas

The default disk quota is 1 GB.  Your website's disk usage can be viewed after logging into cPanel under Files > Disk Usage, or by clicking the Dashboard icon.  If your website's user account is over quota, file transfers and WordPress updates will fail.   Contact us if you need more space.

Google Drive for large files and streaming video
If large files don't put your site over quota, then don't worry about them.  Consider using your departments Team Drive for uploading files to Google Drive or the files will vanish when your email account is removed.  We recommend linking to large files after uploading them to Google Drive.  SDSU has G Suite for Education which provides unlimited storage on Google Drive with a maximum file size of 5 TB.

Share the files uploaded to Google Drive using Anyone with the link can view.  Create links with the Google Drive file URLs in your website.

Logs and Tracking Visitors

Google Analytics can be used to provide powerful tracking and analysis of website hits, visitors, and where they are located.  To use Google Analytics a tracking code is embedded on each page to be tracked.


Password Reset

A reset security code can be sent to a website's Contact Information email address, allowing the password used for SSH, SFTP and cPanel to be reset.  Go to the cPanel Login page to reset your password.  You will need the site's username and the site's contact email address.  This link shows the password reset process in detail.  Contact Information is found in cPanel under Home >> Preferences >> Contact Information.

If you've forgotten your WordPress admin password, you can reset it via email from the WordPress dashboard login page following these steps:

  • Go to your WordPress login page
  • Click on Lost you password? at the bottom
  • Enter the Username or E-mail of your WordPress admin user, then click on Get New Password
  • You should get an email with Subject: [WordPress Site] Password Reset.  Click on the link below the text To reset your password
  • Type in your New password, confirm it, then click on Reset Password
If you no longer have access to the WordPress admin's email address, you can try the solutions listed on Resetting your WordPress Admin Password


The current version of PHP on RohanCP is 7.1.  PHP 7.2 will become the current version on RohanCP before the Fall 2018 semester.  PHP 7.1 will no longer be available on RohanCP after May 2018.  Information on migrating PHP code is available at Migrating from PHP 7.1.x

RohanCP PHP applications, like WordPress, are run using your account’s username instead of the server’s default shared username.



Faculty may request website redirects, from ROHAN www-rohan.sdsu.edu websites that existed when ROHAN was decommissioned in June 2017, to their new website's URL.  The ROHAN servers were decommissioned and removed from service on June 5, 2017.  The current www-rohan.sdsu.edu is hosted on RohanCP solely to provide faculty website redirects.


User Manager

The User Manager in cPanel does not work.  Users created are not able to login to cPanel or use SSH or SFTP.  Please ignore this feature.


Video Tutorials



The campus VPN must be used to update websites on RohanCP from off campus (SSH, SCP, SFTP, cPanel and WordPress.)

Before you can use the VPN, request VPN access from your department's Help Desk.  Once your department enables your VPN usage, install the VPN client.  Please see ITSO's VPN Instructions for more details on installing and using the campus Palo Alto VPN.

ITSO's VPN Instructions say to use your Active Directory credentials.  What they mean is use the same SDSUid username and password you used to log into the SharePoint website or PeopleSoft.  Remember to leave off the @sdsu.edu as section 3b states.


About the RohanCP Server

RohanCP runs as a virtual machine on the Library's VMware cluster, running the CloudLinux operating system (a CentOS-like interface) and cPanel web hosting using an Apache LAMP stack, consisting of Mariadb (MySQL), PHP 7.1, Apache with PHP-FPM using Zend OpCache.  The VMware vSphere cluster is comprised of four Dell R630 servers, and is located in the UCO Data Center, EBA-111.  A list of hosted website domains may be viewed here when on campus.

The name RohanCP is a combination of ROHAN and cPanel.  The name ROHAN is taken from the geographical area of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth saga "Lord of the Rings".  ROHAN inhabitants were a nomadic and highly skilled equestrian people.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those that wander are lost.

--- J. R. R. Tolkien ---

Contact Us

Computing Hub Help Desk

Location: Love Library 2nd Floor
Phone: 619.594.3189
Email: hub@mail.sdsu.edu

sdsu library computing hub interior