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Enterprise PHP Hosting

August 19, 2011


This is a Service Level Agreement ("SLA") between the campus community and ITS to document:

  • Availability and limitations of campus support for Enterprise PHP Hosting
  • Procedures and requirements for establishing and maintaining an Enterprise PHP Hosting account
  • Procedures for requesting, configuring and migrating applications using this service

Service Description

The Enterprise PHP Hosting service enables the operation of light-weight PHP applications on the UW-Whitewater campus website. ITS provides and maintains the hosting system, which consists of both development and production environments supporting PHP and MySQL technologies. Campus academic or business units may request folders and databases within the development environment and may develop applications on this system in accordance with the terms of this agreement. Upon request, the ITS Web Team will promote applications from development to production. Ownership of and responsibility for the maintenance and support of these applications remains with the sponsoring unit.


The Enterprise Web Systems for UW-Whitewater include limited support of PHP technologies to address special case needs which are not met by other campus IT services. The Enterprise PHP Hosting service provides a dedicated environment for stand-alone PHP applications associated with the campus website that require database connectivity, perform file processing, or contain complex logic. Applications with critical or campus-wide impacts, which require integration with other systems of data such as student records, or which require extensions or modifications to the PHP environment are generally not appropriate for this environment. Exceptions may be requested as defined in this document; however, most projects with these types of needs will require project request submission and prioritization though the IT Governance process.

As this environment is integrated with the campus website, all applications must comply with all campus website requirements for style, content and accessibility. It is the responsibility of the application owner to know these requirements and to ensure compliance.

The lead developer of any application must be a professional employee of the sponsoring unit. This service is not available for student academic projects and should not be used to host applications developed by students, with the exception of student employees who received direct and active supervision by the designated lead developer.

Roles and Responsibility

PHP Hosting Account Requests

PHP Hosting Accounts are shared at the level of academic department or business unit. A new PHP Hosting Account request must come from a Dean, from an academic unit or a department director for a non-academic unit, and it must identify a primary PHP Hosting Account Owner. The individual must be a professional employee of the requesting unit. Requests will be reviewed by ITS staff and require approval by the CIO or designee.

PHP Hosting Accounts

Upon approval, the ITS Web Team will establish a PHP Hosting Account for the requesting academic department or business unit. Only one such account can be created for any department or unit. This account associates a root folder in the development environment, a group of one or more User Accounts, and one or more MySQL databases instances on the development environment.

PHP Hosting Account Owners

Upon creation of a PHP Hosting Account, the PHP Hosting Account Owner (Owner) will be provided a User Account with access to the root folder associated with the PHP Hosting Account.

The owner (and only the Owner) may request the following from ITS Web Team:

  • Creation of additional User Accounts with the same access as the Owner's account.
  • Creation of MySQL database instances in the development database system.
  • Migration of an application and/or database instance from development to production.
  • Data query and modification access to database instances on production environment.
  • Removal of an application and/or database instance from development and/or production.
  • Removal of a User Account.

The owner holds primary responsibility for the following, with respect to all users, applications, and database associated with the PHP Hosting Account:

  • Ensuring that all users, applications, and databases comply with all university policies, standards and practices, as well as the standards, policies and practices established under this agreement.
  • Ensuring proper function of applications in the production environment.
  • Performing timely testing and updating of applications and database instances from the development environment, and requesting the same from the production environment.
  • Requesting removal of User Accounts when they are no longer required.

User Accounts

Access to the development environment is granted via named User Accounts, which are created by the ITS Web Team upon request from the Owner. Account information should not be shared with other users. All User Accounts associated with PHP Hosting Account share the same access to the files and databases associated with that account. User Accounts are not integrated with the NetID authentication system, may be assigned user names that do not match NetIDs, and, for security reasons, should not be assigned the same passwords as are used in conjunction with the users' NetIDs to log in to other campus systems.

Configuration and Use

PHP Hosting Account Folders

Each PHP Hosting Account will be associated with a root folder named for the department or unit. Applications should be established in subfolders immediately under this root folder. Only one application should be created within a subfolder.

The file system of the development environment can be accessed via SSH and SFTP using any standards compliant client. Unsecured FTP access is not supported by this service.

Production database instances will use different access information and may be named differently than development databases. Upon request by the PHP Hosting Account Owner, the ITS Web Team will provide the associated User Accounts with access to query and modify data on the production instance of a database. Changes to database structures on the production environment will only be possible though the migration process.

Migration to Production Environment

The production environment will contain an account root folder with the same name as the root folder in the development environment. Migration to production will be completed by copying the entire contents of a subfolder from the development root folder to the production root folder. No files will be migrated to or created in an account's root folder on the production environment.

Migration requests must specify the location of all database connection information in the application. This will be updated by the ITS Web Team to connect the application to the production database instance. Production applications should not access development databases.

Production database instances can be created or modified by replication of the development instance to the production environment or by execution of a creation or modification script. The ITS Web Team will execute the migration using the method and directions specified in the migration request.

Migration Requests must specify:

  • The name of the subfolder to be migrated
  • The location of all database connection information in the application.
  • Instructions for database replication/modification, including a modification script if appropriate.
  • The name and NetID of a contact person who will complete initial functionality and database connectivity testing during the migration process.
  • Whether the migration should be completed outside of business hours. In most cases these requests will be completed between 6 and 7:45 am. The contact must be available during the migration window to complete testing.
  • The preferred deadline for completing the migration. A minimum of five business days notice is requested.

Appropriate Use

The development environment should only be used for application development and testing and can only be accessed on campus via VPN. Links to the development environment should never be published on websites and should be shared with others for testing or evaluation purposes.

Resource Sharing and Noninterference with Other Applications

The hosting environments are shared by numerous applications and system resources are shared among these applications. All applications must be designed to use these shared resources efficiently and to prevent negative impacts on other applications. This service may not be appropriate for some applications with very large resource requirements.

Any application that creates stability issues for other applications of the hosting environment may be shut down at ITS's discretion. If this occurs, an immediate notification will be sent to the PHP Hosting Account Owner describing the problem, actions taken, and reasons for these actions.


The ITS Web Team reserves the right to archive or remove development folders, databases, and accounts that have not been accessed for six months and are not associated with applications running in production.

File and Database Backup and Recovery

The files and MySQL databases on the hosting environments are backed up on a daily basis, and this daily backup information is retained for approximately five weeks on tape. Weekly backups are transported out of the data center to a different building on campus, and once per semester a backup set is taken off campus. The method of database backup requires restoration of an entire database; restoration of individual rows in an existing database is not supported. File and database restoration requests are usually processed in one to three business days.

Requesting Service

All hosting service requests should be directed to the ITS Web Team, via the account; however, ITS supports only the environment and developer access to that environment. Requests for support from users of the applications running on this environment should be directed to the PHP Hosting Account Owner.

In Scope Services

  • Creation of PHP Hosting Accounts, User Accounts, and MySQL database instances
  • Migration of files and databases from development to production environment
  • Maintenance of the Enterprise PHP Hosting system

Out of Scope Services

  • Application or database design, development, coding, testing, support, maintenance or consultation
  • Support of end-users of applications running on the PHP Hosting system

Requesting Exceptions to Service Limitations

Exceptions to service limitations (e.g. server configuration changes, installation of PHP modules, or access to external data) may be granted in rare cases. ITS has the sole right to approve or deny exceptions. Requests will be evaluated on the following and other pertinent factors:

  • Availability of alternate solutions
  • Short-term and ongoing risks to the environment incurred by implementing the exception
  • Short-term and ongoing costs to ITS and to campus incurred by implementing and supporting the exception
  • Anticipated extent and volume of system use
  • Availability of ITS technical resources necessary to evaluate, implement, and support the exception

Time pressure due to insufficient research or lack of advanced planning will not be accepted as justification for granting an exception.

Service Request Response Time

Service requests will be handled as soon as possible without preempting campus projects or scheduled work. Response times may be longer if necessary personnel are unavailable of out of the office.

Service Request Response Time
Creation of a new PHP Hosting Account Evaluation of the request will be initiated within five business days. Decision time will depend on the availability of additional information as required. Accoutn will be created within two days of completion of the request evaluation.
Creation of User Accounts One to three business days
Creation of MySQL database instances One to three business days
Basic migration of files or databases One to two business days if migration can occur during business hours. A minimum of five days in advance notice is requested for early morning migration.
Migration of files requiring additional testing, configuration or other tasks Up to five business days if migration can occur during business hours. A minimum of five days advance notice is requested for early morning migration.
Request for an exception to defined service limitations Evaluation of the request will be initiated within five business days. Implementation, if approved, will depend on the availability of senior staff resources for research, configuration, testing and deployment.

Incident Response Time Applications with the potential to result in a significant campus-wide impact should not be hosted using Enterprise PHP Hosting service; thus Impact Level 1 is not applicable.

Impact Level Explanation Examples Initial Response Time
Impact Level 1 Campus-wide impact Not applicable for Enterprise PHP Hosting  
Impact Level 2 Limited number of users or groups are impacted The production PHP environment stops responding to page requests The ITS Web Team will assess the situation and inform the PHP Hosting Account Owners within one business day
Impact Level 3 Individuals are affected An application developer cannot access the development environment The ITS Web Team will assess service availability and respond within three business days
Informational Request Individuals need information on how to host Enterprise PHP applications A staff member is considering developing a PHP application ITS Web Team will respond within five days

Hours of Coverage and Escalation Procedures

Service Requests

All requests for new service of reports of service issues will be handled by the ITS Web Team during university business hours. Requests should be submitted via email to

Incident Reports

Incidents with an Impact Level 2 or higher should be reported to the ITS Helpdesk via,, or 262-472-4357. Other incidents may be reported to the ITS Helpdesk or directly to the Web Team via

Fees and Expenses

No fees are associated with this service.


Approved by Middle Tier, Executive Tier governance July 2011

Approved by Chancellor, August 19

Posted: September 12, 2011