Hosting Your Site on Pantheon

This guide is for self-service website builders/developers who are administering their own sites or are working with outside vendors. The site owner must be a Berkeley employee; sites must be created by a Berkeley employee with a berkeley.edu email address, and sites must be hosted at a berkeley.edu domain in order to be billed via campus chart string and be eligible for our discounts and features.

About the Pantheon hosting service

Pantheon is a hosting service for Drupal and WordPress-based websites. Their platform is optimized for Drupal and WordPress.

UC Berkeley's Web Platform Services team works closely with Pantheon to develop features that benefit our sites.

You, or a vendor, will need specific Drupal or WordPress expertise to successfully build and manage your website. See the Pantheon site for technical details. General Drupal and WordPress support is not available through Pantheon nor Web Platform Services. The hosting costs and signup and launch processes are the same for both types of websites.

Why use Pantheon?

  • With Pantheon, there is no system administration or server management to do. Backups can be scheduled automatically.
  • Berkeley has negotiated reduced rates and improved features for all levels of hosting service.
  • The monthly hosting cost is lower than an on-campus solution (webfarm web server and database instance).

How to get started with a website on Pantheon

The rest of this wiki will guide you through the steps you need to set up, develop, and launch a site on Pantheon. In general, you will:

  1. Sign up for a free account
  2. Create or import your site
  3. Add people to your site's dashboard, if necessary
  4. Set up CalNet authentication - highly recommended
  5. Create your site's content - see Planning your Website for general advice on developing content
  6. Prepare your site for launch
  7. Keep your site up to date after launch

Relationship between Pantheon and Open Berkeley

The Open Berkeley platform is built on top of the Pantheon hosting service. It is a complete turnkey solution that includes hosting, site spinup, training, site launch, security, accessibility, and maintenance updates, new features, and ongoing support. The Open Berkeley solution is aimed at non-technical users, so Site Builders do not need any prior experience with building websites or with Drupal. In the footer region of the Open Berkeley website, you'll find links to live websites that are participating in our pilot. Many of those live sites were built by communications staff without any prior web experience.

To learn more or start building an Open Berkeley website for your campus website, visit http://open.berkeley.edu/.

Where to go for more information

Pantheon has extensive documentation on using their platform. This guide is intended to supplement Pantheon's help with information specific to UC Berkeley sites.

  • Help desk - Get instructions for all tasks, spinup to launch.
  • Drupal Answers - Tag your question with "pantheon." Their support team monitors this tag during normal business hours and will usually respond. As a bonus, you can browse, ask, and answer questions on general Drupal topics as well.
  • Pantheon home page - Browse Pantheon's specs, features, and benefits.

Additional pages in this guide will help you with common tasks and some specific processes you'll use when hosting a Berkeley site on Pantheon.

How to get support for your Pantheon site

Site Owners who opt to use the Pantheon hosting service should have the technical knowledge and skills to create their own accounts and build and maintain their own sites.

Depending on your issue, you may want to contact Pantheon or Web Platform Services. Contact details and examples of what support each group provides are below.

Neither Pantheon nor Web Platform Services provide support for basic Drupal or WordPress questions or other issues unrelated to the Pantheon hosting service, unless you have a managed site on the Open Berkeley platform. If you do, please see the Open Berkeley Editors Guide, Site Builders Guide, and related guides.

Pantheon Customer Support

When you open a support ticket from your Pantheon dashboard, your request is sent to Pantheon's customer support team. Pantheon's support team is available to help you resolve problems with Pantheon tools and services. The Pantheon team cannot help with basic Drupal or WordPress questions. UC Berkeley site builders who use the Pantheon service are expected be able to support themselves.

Before contacting Pantheon customer support check these resources for an answer to your problem:

Examples of appropriate questions for Pantheon customer support:

  • Your Pantheon-hosted website is unreachable and you don't know why.
  • Functionality on your Pantheon dashboard does not appear to be working.

Web Platform Services Support

The Web Platform Services team can be reached at web-platform@berkeley.edu. This UC Berkeley team is available to resolve issues related to UC Berkeley's relationship with Pantheon. The Web Platform Services team cannot assist with basic Drupal or WordPress questions. UC Berkeley site builders who use the Pantheon service are expected be able to support themselves.

Before contacting Web Platform Services check these resources for answers to your problem:

Examples of appropriate questions for the Web Platform Services team:

  • I have a question about billing for my Pantheon-hosted site.
  • I want to change the billing plan for my Pantheon-hosted site.
  • I have a question about launching my Pantheon-hosted site.
  • I need more information about how to use CalNet with my Pantheon-hosted site.
  • I think there is a problem with either UC Berkeley CAS or UC Berkeley Environments Configurations.

Compose clear and detailed support requests

If you submit a support request to either team please include the following (if applicable):

  • A clear statement of the issue
  • The URL of your Pantheon site e.g. dev-EXAMPLE.pantheon.berkeley.edu
  • A list of steps by which we can repeat your problem
  • Copy/pasted error messages that are appearing in your web browser
  • A screenshot demonstrating the problem

General Drupal support

If you need help with a general Drupal question, here are some free resources:

  • The Drupal Answers Q&A site: http://drupal.stackexchange.com. This resource is easier to use than the Drupal site, and often returns more relevant information.
  • The Drupal.org general documentation site: https://www.drupal.org/documentation.
  • The Drupal.org page for a specific contributed module or theme. Find the module or theme page. In the sidebar, you may see a "Read documentation" link if the project's authors have written any documentation. You can also search the project's issue queue. Follow the "Advanced search" link under "Issues for (module name)" in the sidebar to search by keywords. If you have an account on drupal.org, you can submit support requests.
  • Staff, faculty, and students affiliated with UC Berkeley can attend the Drupal Developers Circle, which holds biweekly meetings on campus (see the D-Lab website). You don't have to be a developer - Drupal users of all types and experience levels are welcome.
  • The Berkeley Drupal Users Group meets regularly, with presentations and discussions on various Drupal topics. See https://groups.drupal.org/berkeley.

Sensitive Data Classification

Sites on Pantheon cannot include restricted data. A breakdown of the Data Classification Levels can be found on the Security website. If you have any reason to think your site will include data of a level other than 0 (zero), "information intended for public access," you may not be able to host your site on Pantheon.  Please consult with IT Policy (itpolicy@berkeley.edu) before going forward.