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About WordPress

What is WordPress?
From the WordPress Wikipedia entry:

WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a dynamic content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. It has many features including a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by over 16.7% of Alexa Internet’s “top 1 million” websites and as of August 2011 manages 22% of all new websites. WordPress is currently the most popular CMS in use on the Internet.

WordPress @ St Andrews
At the University of St Andrews, IT Services has now a WordPress Multisite service, to which you can apply for a site if you are a current member of the University (within a Unit, School or Student Society).

Currently we provide a service running the latest version of WordPress Multisite on the following terms:

  • Allowing user and administrative access to ITS run WordPress sites.
  • Maintaining the servers and the associated software (Apache, MySQL, WordPress MS).
  • Server systems and data backup of all WordPress sites.
  • Plugins and themes are installed on request, once tested and approved, by the ITS WordPress MS administrator.

We do not provide training in the use of WordPress and its associated programming languages that are used to set up, configure and maintain its contents. There is a large amount of documentation and advice freely available on the web for running a WordPress site. A good place to start is: http://wordpress.org.

On approval of a WordPress site request, we will create your desired site, and it is assumed that you know how to configure and manage it appropriately.

You must read, understand, and agree to the Terms and Conditions of Service and Use of an ITS WordPress site, before applying for one. It is also assumed that you have read and understood the published policies on Internet, email and computer use, and the consequences of their misuse and/or abuse.

If you require a MySQL database for a purpose other than for WordPress, you can apply for a MySQL database here: http://mysql.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk.

To apply for a site on the University’s WordPress MS system, please fill in this form.

Limitations of WordPress MS
The University’s WordPress Multisite system is different in several ways to your own installation of WordPress. Here are the limitations, as Administrators of your subsite, you are unable to:

  • Install plugins or themes (and hence modify the code behind them)
  • Allow user registrations
  • Modify and change the behaviour of WordPress basic functions, e.g. user login
  • Become the administrator of the multisite

However, there are solutions for all the limitations above. You will be able to request available plugins and themes to be installed (once they have been tested.) You will be able to request installation of your own themes or plugins (made available to your site only) and allow access to change the code if needed.

Please also note that WordPress MS is different for the commercial WordPress system run at WordPress.com. You can not expect the behaviour, themse or plugins that is found at WordPress.com can be provided here at St Andrews.

Upgrades, updates and outages
When standard plugins and themes have updates available, then these will be automatically installed on the WordPress multisite system. It is up to you to constantly check your site if you use a particular plugin or theme that has been upgraded to see if it functions correctly for your site.

We aim to run WordPress Multisite as securely as possible, so version upgrades or plugin & theme updates are kept up to the latest version. Will a WordPress site upgrade, we will require outages, when your sites will be offline, to be able to make the change. These outages will be kept short at possible, and advance warning will be given to all subsite admins.