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I would like to have a professional academic webpage, and for different reasons, I don't want to use the website of my current workplace (mostly because due to some external factors, it's not currently possible where I work, but also because I consider changing affiliation in the future, and I'd like to avoid moving my webpage).

A possible solution I'm considering would be to rent a server somewhere, and to manage it myself, but I was wondering if it existed some dedicated solutions for academics, ideally coming for free (after all, I can archive my papers on arXiv for free, I have a free academic licence for Bitbucket, I use Dropbox with the free version, I can also use Mendeley and academia.edu for free, I currently have a free wordpress.com blog), with the constraint that I'd like to be able to write my own scripts (for instance to publish my personal list of publications Tool to manage and/or make available a list of my publications on the web? , or to manage a list of conferences I'm interested in).

  • Note that I wouldn't mind paying, I mean, it's possible to find basic web hosting for 1 euro per month, but I'm just wondering if something dedicated exists. – user102 Apr 19 '12 at 14:18
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    I'd strongly recommend getting your own domain name and pointing it at whatever site you are using. That doesn't address the question of where to get hosting in the first place, so I'm not submitting it as an answer, but even if you find a good solution, it's important not to get too tied to it. – Anonymous Mathematician Apr 19 '12 at 15:29
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    An alternative to renting a server and managing it is renting a virtual machine; it's cheaper. You'd want to use your own domain name, of course. I found this site lowendbox.com which lists hosting offers. I don't know how viable any of the options are - there do seem to be user comments on the site for the different hosting options. It means you could host whatever OS and set up any system you want (if I understand correctly how this works), so it would be a bit more flexible that using something like Google Sites. – Faheem Mitha Jun 1 '13 at 15:44
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is a boat-programming question and a shopping question – EnergyNumbers Dec 26 '14 at 10:02
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    I'm voting to close this "boat-programming" question as off-topic because it is not about academia. – Mad Jack Jul 17 '15 at 16:31
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I personally use altervista.org and I am satisfied with it. They give me 500MB space and 10Gb bandwidth for free, an address of the form yourname.altervista.org, run php 4 and 5 and a database service (with low performance in the free version), and allow a custom .htaccess. They offer paid upgrades and the option of putting banners for a revenue, but you can say no without any disadvantage.

They allow file upload only via (unencrypted) ftp, but you can automate that part easily.

It's not academics-specific, but as far as I can see neither is any other answer given up to now.

  • That's actually really cool. I have found since then another solution, but that's exactly what I was looking for. I guess the 500MB/10GB is perfectly enough for an academic usage, and at least, there is no ad on the basic version (I found some services offering free hosting, but with a banner included, which is not very serious ...). – user102 Sep 25 '12 at 12:10
  • @CharlesMorisset: Can you please share the other solution that you have found? – Federico Poloni Sep 25 '12 at 13:28
  • Good point, sorry: a friend of mine has his own server, and he is hosting my site. – user102 Sep 25 '12 at 13:31
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Both bitbucket and github allow you to publish a static website, which is handled under the same version control policies as everything else that you publish there.

You get no php/database support, but for academic web sites a static website generator such as Jekyll, which they both use, is more than enough.

Note added after reading @RebeccaJ.Stones comment to another answer: github is currently blocked in China, while bitbucket is not, so you may want to go for the latter, to make sure that everyone can access your website.

  • Well, without PhP support, I can't use the bibtexbrowser, which is really cool to display your publications from a bibtex file. – user102 Sep 25 '12 at 10:33
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    True. However, if it is ok for you to sacrifice the bibtex links, you can run bibtexbrowser locally (in the end, it is a program that outputs a static html file) and put the output on bitbucket/github. – Federico Poloni Sep 25 '12 at 11:30
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    I myself am planning to use github for this purpose. Since I use git for my research projects this seems to be a straight forward option. It is also possible to use a custom domain for github pages. I would recommend Octopress to anyone considering using github or Heroku. – crsh Oct 1 '12 at 15:32
  • Another reason to use Ocotpress: I just discovered that there is a plugin that renders bibtex-files so that you can display references or your publication list by simply embedding a .bib-file. Thus, no need for PHP support. – crsh Oct 10 '12 at 22:30
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    The problem I found with Octopress is that I couldn't get it to display math equations properly. Ended up writing my own python static blog generator with support for math, code, citations, and references. It was a nice experience, I recommend it (see github.com/yoavram/yoavram.github.com/tree/source) – yoavram Nov 27 '12 at 14:05
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I recently created a website with Google Sites (https://sites.google.com/site/hadanylab/) and I think it was a good experience and a nice result. Easy to use, editing is the same as in Google Docs which is nice. Customization can be a pain, but that is expected. You can get around some of the difficulties using widgets, though.

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    I'll second this one, a colleague of mine used a Google Sites website for his online CV. Very barebones, but then again, you don't need much; a picture, some text, and a link to some recent papers is fine, and you can do that with Google. – eykanal Sep 24 '12 at 18:41
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    Note: Google, including Google Sites, is currently blocked in China. – Rebecca J. Stones Jan 31 '16 at 12:04
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To my knowledge, Google Sites with a custom domain is the best solution here. Google sites gives 100MB space with unlimited bandwidth. Also, you can keep your pre-prints on Google docs and make them public. Additionally, you can use some widget like writing a blog.

Edit: Link to my website removed as it's no longer available.

  • As I commented on drN's answer, it didn't seem possible to add custom scripts, for instance to include personal bibliography (it might be possible with a google scholar widget, but it's not very flexible). – user102 Sep 25 '12 at 10:35
  • Hi. I looked at your site. Could you elaborate on what you used to construct it? – Faheem Mitha Jun 1 '13 at 15:04
  • I first bought the domain name, then created a free site at sites.google.com using my Google account. Later, I redirected the domain to the site by changing DNS entry. It is actually very easy than it sounds! – ShadowWarrior Jun 1 '13 at 16:42
  • This page on google.com support's page has sufficient information on storage limits of the sites hosted by Google Sites: link: Sites storage limits – Enthusiastic Engineer Jan 29 '16 at 21:02
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You could look into a cloud application platform like Heroku.

Essentially, you can deploy web applications for free (with or without a custom domain name). You only pay if you need more power or more database storage. They also have addons, some free and some paid. You don't manage the details of the server, you only worry about your application.

For example, you can instantly deploy a rails app with a git push command. If you need to run a periodic tasks, you can enable a cron addon: free for a daily task or a fee for a more frequent task.

4

It's not academic specific, but Amazon.com has instructions for setting up a free web server using their free Micro EC2 instance type. As specific academic websites are fairly low traffic, generally speaking, that might be an option that gives you the scripting flexibility you're hoping for.

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    Thanks, could you provide some links for info about that? I find their pricing quite hard to read! (I'm more used to read monthly/annual rates). – user102 Apr 20 '12 at 8:20
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One possibility is Wikidot; its main version is free plus has some additional features for researchers and teachers.

Another one is WordPress.com, which you already have mentioned. If you have a server, WordPress.org may be even a better option (as it is much more adjustable).

However, for papers/conferences/etc it may be better to use widget from a dedicated server (or add by hand).

  • I've had a look at Wikidot, but it doesn't seem possible to write scripts with it. As for wordpress.com, that's the same problem, and I can't put a widget on it. – user102 Apr 19 '12 at 23:00
  • @CharlesMorisset In Wikidot you cannot run scripts. I see, your emphasis is on running scripts. When there are high-level products, usually they don't allow to run scripts. When you want to have something more customizable you need to have a web server, which usually isn't free. – Piotr Migdal Apr 20 '12 at 13:24
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What about google sites? I have a "website" on it. I don't quite remember the amount of data you can have on it.

  • I tried it very quickly, but it didn't seem possible to add custom scripts, for instance to include personal bibliography (it might be possible with a google scholar widget, but it's not very flexible). – user102 Apr 19 '12 at 23:02
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    I have used google sites in the past. Its actually less flexible than most wikis. – bobthejoe Apr 20 '12 at 6:36
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As you are looking for free online services, you should seek a free web hosting service as stated in this answer [1 and 2] by which you can make your own website or you can make use of separate free services and make a free webpage to list all your accounts there.

Recently, I have visited about.me website and I really liked the domain, it's interface and it's services.

This is my suggestion:

  1. Files Hosting: host your files on a dropbox, google drive or any other free hosting service;
  2. Publications List: list your publications in a google scholar account or academia.edu;
  3. Free domain and URL: build your page on about.me website;
  4. Weblog: If you like to write something; make a wordpress.com or blogger weblog;
  5. Social Media: You may have some facebook or twitter accounts too;

HOW TO MAKE YOUR WEBSITE?
Present a short biography and list of those links above in a single about.me webpage. You can have this website anywhere and anytime; even if you change your affiliation, simply change your info on your about.me website.

Also, in your institute's page, you can easily put your about.me link and by opening it, the user will have access to you publications, files you want to share with, social media sites, personal weblog, etc.

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    I would like to add researchgate to the publication list services. It's neither better nor worse, but it's existence cannot be denied. – Martin - マーチン Apr 1 '15 at 8:27

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