Service FAQs

How do I get a WordPress Site?

Any faculty member will be able to log in to WordPress using their CruzID and Gold Password. Creating  a new site is as easy as deciding upon a name for the site and clicking a button. Check out Getting Started.

 


Are there limitations about how many or what kind of sites I can make?

There is no limit to the number of sites you can build. Sites should support the academic mission of the university, typically professional profiles, research groups, conferences, programs, projects, etc.  All sites must adhere to standard UC and UCSC policies


 

What will my URL be?

Standard UCSC WordPress site URLs look like this:

http://[your-site-name].sites.ucsc.edu

examples:  artscy.sites.ucsc.edu, jessicataft.sites.ucsc.edu

If you require a URL without the ".sites," (e.g. smithlab.ucsc.edu) fill out the launch form and specify what the URL should be.  New names must be approved by University Relations.  The request form will automatically generate an approval request.


What are the benefits of this service?

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Faculty support provided by the Faculty Instructional Technology Center (FITC)
  • Web-based editing, no desktop software needed
  • Ability to add others to help manage the content on your website(s).
  • Built-in version control
  • Built-in search
  • Images and video embedding for a multi-media experience
  • Built in themes allow you to focus on content not design
  • High availability, robust, and secure environment
  • Nightly backups

What are the limitations of this service?

  • Programming with languages such as PHP or Ruby, shell access, JavaScript, or custom databases are not part of this service
  • Limited to installed plugins.
    Any additional functionality through other plugins would have to be evaluated and tested by Web Services to see if it they work, are well supported, and play nicely with other plugins and themes.We will evaluate requests on a quarterly basis and the vetting process takes some time.  Many plugins and themes have weaknesses that could result in system slow-down, successful hacking attempts, or malfunction of existing plugins.  
  • Limited to installed themes.

Can I install my own plugins and themes?

We provide a set of plugins and themes but users won't be able to install additional ones. There are over 30,000 plugins and 2,500 themes on WordPress.org alone and not all of them play nicely with each other or with the latest version of WordPress. Many are not programmed well or maintained consistently and may allow hackers to access your site or cause it to run very slowly. Because of it's popularity, WordPress is a common target of hackers. Web Services will test all themes and plugins for security and compatibility problems, user experience issues, and performance impact before deploying them. Our requirements gathering during the project phase helped us select a group of plugins and themes that will provide a robust set of features out the gate.

We will consider suggestions for added functionality and new themes and will review such requests several times a year.  


I heard that WordPress gets hacked frequently. Is that true?

WordPress is one of the most popular and widely-used web site management tools in the world and is therefore a popular target by hackers as well. The 30+ thousand plugins and themes available can open up security vulnerabilities as well. Web Services will lock down and rigorously maintain our environment to prevent these types of attacks.


Can I migrate my existing website?

Moving your website probably means creating a new website in WordPress and then copying and pasting the content from the old to the new. You can also import your site into WordPress.  The importer can be found under "tools."  It sometimes works very well but sometimes runs into issues.  Note that there will be a little cleanup to do even if you import using the same theme and plugins.  If your existing site has a different theme and uses different plugins, the clean up may be more extensive.


Who is eligible to use this service?

The UCSC WordPress service is intended for faculty, researchers and graduate students to highlight professional, research, and other scholarly activities. Administrative units, non-academic staff, and undergraduates are not eligible.


Will someone help me update my content or build my website?

Web Services provides the infrastructure but doesn't have adequate staffing or content knowledge to help maintain content. One of the reasons we are implementing WordPress is that it provides a user-friendly editing interface. The Faculty Instructional Technology Center (FITC) provides functional support for faculty. Some faculty hire students or external designers to develop their sites - the local account feature allows a site owner to add a non-UCSC author.


Should I use WordPress to host my course site?

If your course site includes student-specific information, such as rosters, grades or other personally identifiable information, you should not have this on WordPress, as it may compromise student privacy, and violate university policy and federal law. The university provides eCommons as a secure and approved platform for managing this course information. eCommons also provides a range of tools for managing syllabus, communication tools, assignments, and public and private web pages, in addition to roster and gradebook. Linking from eCommons to your WordPress site for additional information that you wish to include with your course materials may be useful. Talk with the FITC about the benefits and limitations of each of these platforms.


How do I get more information?

This web site provides a wealth of information and support topics.  The Faculty Instructional Technology Center provides support for anyone working on a faculty member's site: email wphelp@ucsc.edu with questions or to request an in-person appointment.

 


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