* About: Virtual Web Hosting Service at McGill

Service overview | Who can use it | How to request & access | Cost | Availability | FAQs | Best practices & policies | Training & documentation | Support

Service overview

Virtual web hosting allows web publishers to publish an independently designed website on a centrally managed system that is secure, reliable, and easily recoverable and offers a reduced risk of server downtime. 



Although this service supports independently designed websites, these sites are expected to conform to McGill’s Digital Standards, including Accessibility and branding. Please see the Web Services website for more information.

This service can be used for sites representing McGill research groups, labs, special projects and applications, and inter-university collaborations led by McGill University members. Data resources for these sites should not exceed the maximum space of 1GB. Requests for custom site specifications beyond the regular allotments will be considered case-by-case. (See also Virtualization Servers for information on leasing larger virtual machines with custom specifications.)

Installs of Content Management Systems (CMS) such as Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress are not supported or allowed on the current virtual hosting service.

Before web publishers choose to create a custom site on the virtual web hosting service, they should check if pre-existing services could accommodate their needs, such as:



If the content is course-related or the web publisher is developing a learning module, they should request a consultation with the Educational Technologies group before requesting virtual web hosting.

Virtual host site specs at a glance

Other URL formats are considered on a case-by-case basis.

The username and password reset instructions are mailed to the technical contact upon account creation.

Note: If you want IT Services to host a physical server for your department or research, see Data Centre Hosting.

Who can use this service

Official McGill research groups, laboratory groups, conference organizers, service units, and organizations can apply for virtual web hosting services for independently designed websites.

How to request & access the service

To request virtual web hosting services, complete the Request a new Virtual Host site webform.

See Accessing your virtual host account and database for more information.


There is no cost associated with this service.

Note: In the future, there will be a requirement to officially renew each site periodically.


Access to virtual host accounts is available 24x7 except during maintenance or exceptional circumstances. Check the System Status page for announcements regarding service interruptions.

Frequently asked questions

Best practices & policies



When creating a custom or vendor-built website, you accept responsibility for compliance with all legal and institutional requirements. Any site managers you nominate will be accountable to you concerning compliance with the digital standards and other requirements. McGill assumes no responsibility for the construction or maintenance of these sites. See the custom or vendor-built project toolkit for more information. 

The data stored in the database must comply with University policies regarding user data. This means that user-sensitive data should not be stored in this database, either in encrypted or unencrypted formats. See the Policy on the Responsible Use of McGill Information Technology Resources for more on data storage.

Training & documentation

No training is required or provided.

Consult the following IT Knowledge Base articles:


IT Services assumes no responsibility for constructing or maintaining sites using this service. Clients requesting a virtual host must have the skill and competency to install and run their own site and any additional compatible software.