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Website 101 and beyond

Let us help you make the most of your UW website. Whether you’re new to the world of websites or looking for a refresh, the team is here to help their partners create platforms to showcase the stories that make the University remarkable.

Use this section for guidance on updated software, tools, themes, policies and guidelines. Dig deeper into using WordPress, online giving forms, alert banners and more. An effective website that connects with users is only a few clicks away!

Questions? Contact

Website Resources

WordPress theme

We maintain the UW WordPress theme, which is available for any UW school, college, department or center to use. Visit our documentation library for information about how to use the theme. If you’re new to WordPress, we encourage you to the WordPress Essentials Training on LinkedIn Learning which is free to all students, faculty, and staff through the Career Center.

Web developers familiar with WordPress can find resources and information on our UW GitHub account.

Alert banners

The UW alert banner is a means to provide important, and in some cases emergency, information to website visitors. Information comes from the Alert System. The Alert System is responsible for SMS, e-mail, phone and other push-style notification options.

When active, the banner displays a brief “alert” on any page where you’ve pasted the code (see the installation section below). The banner links to our emergency blog, which contains more details about the emergency or event that triggered the alert.  The blog also has links and resources that could be useful during non-emergency situations.

Color description

The banner is designed to display three different colors, depending on the type of alert.  Here are the general guidelines for when a certain color will be used.  The content of the alert will always provide a much better sense of the actual emergency than the color will.  Also, because events and emergencies are often in gray areas, similar alerts may be classified differently.

  • RED – High level emergency or threat
  • ORANGE – Medium emergency or threat
  • STEEL – Ideal for info posted between alerts like campus weather closures.


The banner will only show up on the page where you have put the code. If you want the banner to show on every page, then you’ll want to have your header and footer in an include or delivered via a content management system. The script is very lightweight and only contains a few lines of JavaScript.

NOTE: If you copy and paste the script make sure to replace the smart quotes with straight quotes.

Above the </body> tag:

<script src="//" type="text/javascript"></script>

That’s it!


To verify the banner will not disrupt any elements on the page, the test code is available below. The banner will display a color of your choosing and a brief message.

Append a #uwalert-red#uwalert-orange, or #uwalert-steel to your page’s URL.


Online giving forms

University Advancement provides a quick and easy way to embed an online giving form on your website.
The form will allow your visitors to select a fund and make a gift with a major credit card. The form is very customizable and can fit a variety of needs and uses.

Download the PDF guide

What is the online giving form?

The online giving form is the UW’s web application for accepting online donations. The main portal for the form is Donors can use it to search for funds, see the current needs for a given school, college or department and they can log in to see a list of funds they’ve supported in the past. You can either send donors to the form with a link to the main UW Foundation portal, or you can install the form onto your own website, so donors never have to leave your site in order to make a gift.

Fund self serve

The Online Giving Administration Dashboard is your gateway to generating giving links, generating the code for embedding Online Giving, as well as managing your school or department’s priority funds (see below).

Update your department or school’s priority funds

To update your priority funds, proceed to the Fund Maintenance section of the Online Giving Administration Dashboard. Next, use the search box to search for the school or department you would like to manage. After the list of funds is loaded, simply drag and drop the funds in the order you would like them to appear on Online Giving. You can also drag and drop funds to move them from “priority funds” to “more funds”.

If you encounter a permission error, please contact and we can look at setting you up with the correct permissions for your department.

Change fund names and descriptions

To update fund names and descriptions please contact

Creating giving links

You can create links to the giving form and display virtually any combination of funds. Some examples of things you can do include…

  • Show Department Priority and/or Other funds
  • Show any single or random group of funds
  • Skip to the Donation Amount or Donor Information steps with funds already in the basket
  • Pre-populate fields like Name, Address, Comments, etc.
  • Add an appeal code to better track your gift

In addition to manually building your giving links, we also have a tool that helps to automate the creation of these links. This tool can be found by navigating to the “Generate a Giving Link” section of Online Giving Administration Dashboard (under the iframe Generator heading).

Appendix A of the PDF guide has all of the code samples you need to create links like these. If you’d like to do something but can’t figure out how to do it from this document, please contact the STI team at

Generate a short/friendly URL for your giving link

If you like a more user-friendly link which is easier to share, you can submit a request to UW Marketing using their Short URL Request Form.

h3>Embedding the form

Our Online Giving Form can be loaded onto your site using an iframe. You can think of an iframe as a web browser on a page. You can place it the same way you would place an image, but instead of loading an image, it loads a remote website. That lets you load the Online Giving Form so people can make their gift without ever leaving your site.

Note: If you are using a domain that is not or, you will encounter cookie and certificate errors. Please contact us at so we can work with you to get it going.

How to embed the iframe

We’ve designed the iframe to be as modular and flexible as possible. To accommodate as many people using this form as possible, we’ve created ways for you to customize what funds people see. Let’s look at how you can implement it on your site.

Step 1: If the website where you would like to embed Online Giving is not on a or domain please contact as there are additional configuration steps needed for Online Giving to work properly. Otherwise, please proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Head over to the “Embed Online Giving” section of the Online Giving Administration Dashboard (under the iframe Generator heading). This tool will allow you to choose various configurations for prepopulating the iframe with your desired funds, appeal code, amounts, etc. It will also handle automatic resizing of the form as well as passing query parameters down from your website’s URL to the iframe’s URL. After choosing your configuration, the tool generates a small amount of code (JavaScript and HTML) which you can then add to your site to display the iframe. More information can be found by following the above link and in Appendix C of the PDF guide.

Step 3: After generating your iframe code with the iframe Generator, add the generated code to your website and you are good to go. More information about the Online Giving iframe Generator can be found in Appendix C of the PDF guide.

Note: If you need to convert an older Online Giving implementation into an iframe Generator implementation, please see the section in Appendix C of the PDF guide titled “Updating Older Online Giving Implementations.”

Deprecated: Copying and pasting the iframe tag directly into your html has been deprecated in favor of the iframe generator implementation.

Automatic resizing of the iframe

The Online Giving iframe starts at a height of around 763px high. As the donor progresses towards checkout, the iframe height can grow to as high as 1400px. The iframe looks best when its height is sized properly and this is where automatic resizing comes in. If you are using the iframe Generator implementation mentioned in the section above, there are no additional steps needed for automatic resizing. Otherwise, please see the section in Appendix C of the PDF guide on how to update older Online Giving implementations into an iframe Generator implementation.

Deprecated: Automatic resizing via the direct embedding of the iframe tag has been deprecated in favor of the iframe generator implementation. Prior versions used the xdtunnel.html file and the iframe onload event which set document.domain to

Optional query string pass-through

If you wish to use your giving page with many different Fund Display Options, the iframe Generator implementation will automatically handle query string pass-through for you.

Example scenario:You have created a giving page on your domain with a URL of and have embedded the Online Giving form there. Your implementation is configured to show the default list of funds for your department. However, occasionally you would like to send donors to this same page with just a single fund or a slightly different list of funds displayed. With the automatic query string pass-through, you can send someone a link such as,BUSDIS and your giving page will dynamically update to show the list of funds being passed in the “source” query parameter. For a list of all the supported query string parameters, see Appendix A of the PDF guide.

Note: The query string pass-through works by adding new query string parameters if they don’t already exist, or by replacing the values of ones that already do. However, it does not remove any query string parameters. Depending on your implementation, you may need to pass null values from some parameters when you need them to be ignored. Please see Appendix C of the PDF guide for some examples related to this.

Web hosting

University Marketing and Communications provides eligible units with free, centralized WordPress web hosting. Our hosting service provides units with a branded WordPress site and a “” address. This hosting service is provided free of charge and comes with support and training for content authors.

HTML eligible units

We provide hosting services to the following units on campus:

  • Top level units such as the President, Provost, and Regents.
  • Central administration units such as University Advancement.
  • Campaign, donor, stewardship, fundraising or similar websites.
  • Administrative units without a parent unit, or without the means to host their website.
  • Academic units without a parent unit, or without the means to host their website.
  • Strategic initiatives and programs.
  • Independent centers, academic or administrative, affiliated with the UW, without a parent unit, without means to host themselves, and/or without grant-based requirements for co-branding.

Important note: We cannot host other content management systems, static content, content that does not fit within the intended use of our content management system, domains, or subdomains.

Apply for hosting

To apply for hosting service, please complete the intake form below.  This form is sent to the Web Strategy Director for review and they will make an initial assessment, which will then be sent back to the requestor.

If approved, the next step will be an intake meeting.  The Director will set up a meeting with the representatives of the unit and the leads of the Web Development and Web Content teams.  During that meeting the team will understand the unit’s goals and objectives and work to create a plan moving forward.

Unfortunately, at this time, we are not accepting new requests for hosting.

If you have any questions about your existing hosting, please contact the UMAC Web Strategy Team at

Other hosting options

If your unit is not eligible for our hosting services, there are many other options to consider:

  • UW sites: UW Sites is a service that lets UW faculty, staff, and students easily create and operate a UW-branded site that is publicly readable. Features include UW branding, easy-to-use WordPress software, centrally administered (through UWIT), NetID integration, and shared NetID support.
  • Shared web hosting: The Web Publishing service provides a cluster of Web servers to make your information available to browsers, storage space for your Web pages, the ability to install Web applications like WordPress, Drupal and others, optional database services, site access control, and other utilities.
  • Standard hosted server: UW-IT’s Standard Managed Server Service deploys and manages Linux and Windows servers so that Departments can have access to a secure and stable environment to run their applications.
  • Standard managed server: UW-IT’s Standard Managed Server Service deploys and manages Linux and Windows servers so that Departments can have access to a secure and stable environment to run their applications.
  • Pantheon web hosting: Pantheon is a cloud web hosting provider offering powerful tools to build and maintain WordPress and Drupal based websites including enterprise grade security and 24/7 support.

Domain names

In general, we cannot host or maintain domains for units on campus. The only exception is when we are involved in a project and temporarily set up and maintain domain names to complete the project. In those cases, domain names need to be handed back to the unit upon completion of the project.

For sites we host

We are not able to manage domain names for departments or units wishing to either redirect a domain name or mask a domain name to a site we host. If such services are required, we strongly suggest the department or unit works with UWIT for domain redirection and masking services.

Legacy management

In the past we have managed domains for departments whose websites we host. If we currently manage a domain name for you, we will continue to do so.

For projects we lead

If we are actively working on a project with a department or unit, and setting up a separate domain is a part of that project, we will be happy to work with UWIT to get a domain name and contact group set up. If we set up a domain name, we will either create a new contact group or use an existing group belonging to that unit. We will remain administrative and technical contacts for the domain until the project is over and then transfer ownership rights of name and group to the department.