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RohanCP Web Hosting



SDSU web hosting is available from the Library on RohanCP for Academic Affairs departments, faculty, and student organizations.  Web hosting is also available from Business and Financial Affairs for faculty and staff on OU Campus for SDSU business websites only.  Info on free student web hosting can be found in this article and on Quora.

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.  Websites hosted on RohanCP require the use of the campus VPN for file transfers and administration from off campus.  Student Class Accounts allow web hosting on the Edoras instructional support server.

HTTPS is used for all websites, including automatic provisioning and renewal of Comodo SSL certificates through cPanel.  HTTP requests are redirected to HTTPS requests by the server.  HTTPS webpages may link to external HTTP resources, but images and page layout components (CSS, jquery, javascript, fonts, etc.) should be a relative link or an HTTPS link.

Apply for a RohanCP website.

  • ATI requirements (Accessible Technology Initiative) must be met by SDSU websites, so they satisfy the ADA section 508 Web-based accessibility guidelines.
  • SDSU websites should follow campus branding and logo usage. Please see brand.sdsu.edu for details.
  • Hosted websites must not collect or store credit card or any type of protected data.  Please refer to the ISP and the Data Classification and Handling Policies.   The Library does not assume responsibility for securing this information.
  • Verify your contact email address so password reset and disk usage warning emails can be received.

File Transfers using cPanel or SFTP

Off campus logins require using 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 web pages using a web browser, cPanel > Files > File Manager, or with a Secure File Transfer Program (SFTP):

  1. Open a file transfer program (for example, WinSCP or Fetch with Connect using: SFTP.
  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 the page into the public_html directory.​

If you have large files (around 100MB or more) 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.
  • Connection attempts will fail with obsolete programs, often displaying errors like "Couldn't agree a client-to-server cipher" or "Algorithm negotiation failed".
  • Dreamweaver CC versions prior to 17 (Adobe Creative Cloud 2017.1) are obsolete and can not connect to RohanCP.
  • Off campus connections will fail if not using the campus VPN for SSH, SCP, SFTP, cPanel and WordPress logins.



WordPress should be installed using cPanel. This automates the MySQL database setup and WordPress configuration.   cPanel > Software > Site Software > WordPress.  Please ignore the message Warning: The web server does not run scripts as the script owner.  RohanCP scripts really do run as the script owner, and the permissions are set correctly by the cPanel installer.

If your site is not updated frequently WordPress may not be a good fit, consider using a static website or OU Campus instead.  Installing WordPress commits you to keeping up with security updates.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.  Good reference for learning WordPress are learn.wordpress.com and YouTube.  Invariably someone out there has posted a YouTube tutorial on just about any WordPress task.  For example: WordPress Introduction Tutorial.  WordPress support documentation and forums can be found at wordpress.org/support/

  • Migrating Wix or Squarespace to WordPress.  The following links show how to move from Wix and Squarespace to WordPress.
  • 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.

  • 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


Browser Caching and Hard Refresh

Broswer caching is useful for web browing, but can be a pain for developers. Browsers cache page resources like javascript, CSS sytle sheets, images, etc. They do this to improve website performance. However, this can be irritating when modifying a webpage. Sometimes the only way to see changes is by doing a hard refresh or clearing the browser cache.

A hard refresh clears the browser's cache for a specific page, forcing it to reload the current version of the page. Sometimes changes made don't show immediately due to caching. A hard refresh will often fix this.

Chrome, Firefox and Edge Windows and Linux users can do a hard refresh by:

  • Hold down the CTRL key and press F5
  • or Hold down the CTRL key and click the ⟳ reload icon

Mac users of Chrome, Firefox or Safari can do a hard refresh by:

  • Chrome or FIrefox - Hold down the ⌘ Command and ⇧ Shift keys, and press the 'R' key
  • Safari - Hold down the ⌘ Command and ⌥ Option keys, and press the 'R' key
  • or (all three browsers) Hold down the ⇧ Shift key and click the ⟳ reload button

Caching and Page Speed

RohanCP uses Engintron to provide Nginx microcaching, a microcache layer that significantly improves performance for dynamic content generated by CMSs like WordPress.  The microcache may delay changes made to static objects (JavaScript, CSS, and images) from appearing for up to 1 minute.  The Zend OPcache is used to speed up PHP execution through opcode caching and optimization.

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

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

WordPress uses numerous JavaScript and CSS files.  The Autoptimize plugin aggregates JavaScript and CSS, creating minified CSS and JavaScripts files and serves cached copies to your website as async or deferred, improving the response of the webpages.  See Autoptimize Plugin: Improve Your WordPress Speed in 5 Minutes for guide on installing and configuration.

WordPress caching plugins sometimes are useful in speeding up websites.  If your site takes over a second to load, it may be worthwhile to try using a caching plugin.  A fast caching plugin is Cache Enabler, and is one of the easiest to setup caching plugins and supports the Autoptimize plugin and Multisite. 

Comment Forms

RohanCP can send out email generated from comment forms, but RohanCP does not provide email addresses or 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.


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.   Send us an email if you need more space.

Faculty video hosting is provided by ITS on video.sdsu.edu.

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.


Email accounts are NOT provided for websites.  The ETCS Help Desk can assist you with obtaining Google Mail or Google Group accounts (@sdsu.edu).

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

The cPanel password can be reset by using a reset security code sent to the 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.  Contact Information is found in cPanel under Preferences >> Contact Information.  See password reset process for more detail.

The WordPress administrator's password can be reset from the WordPress dashboard login page:

  • Go to your website's 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
The WordPress administrator's password can also be reset from cPanel under Applications >> WordPress Manager >> Manage.  Click on Show Advanced Settings, then click on Change User's Password for the WordPress Administrator Username.


The current version of PHP on RohanCP is 7.3.  Information on migrating to PHP 7.3 is available at Migrating from PHP 7.2.x

PHP applications, like WordPress, are run using your account’s username.  Some of the default PHP settings are:

memory_limit = 32M
post_max_size = 8M
upload_max_filesize = 2M
These defaults can be changed by creating a file named .user.ini in the public_html folder, containing lines similar to these:
memory_limit = 128M
post_max_size = 30M
upload_max_filesize = 30M


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 website is hosted on RohanCP solely to provide 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.)

The Library does not setup or configure VPN access. Please ask your Department's IT Support for assistance. The campus IT Help Desk can help find who to contact.

VPN access is initiated by contacting your ID domain OU (Organization Unit) administrator, or y​​​our IT support staff, to add the appropriate VPN users group to your SDSUid username. Please see ITSO's VPN Instructions for more details on installing and using the campus Palo Alto VPN.

Your VPN username and password are your SDSUid domain credentials. Do not append "@sdsu.edu" to your username.  These are the same credentials you used to log into SharePoint websites or PeopleSoft, without the "@sdsu.edu".

Volunteers that help support a website may also use the campus VPN. Have the Department Coordinator fill out HR's Volunteer web form.  The volunteer completes the email form they then receive. After it has been reviewed and processed, they will be provisioned with an SDSUid account. Their department can then set up access to use the campus VPN.


About the RohanCP Server

The name RohanCP is a combination of ROHAN and cPanel.  The name ROHAN is taken from the territory 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@sdsu.edu

sdsu library computing hub interior