WordPress

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The College of Engineering offers free WordPress hosting to its faculty and staff. WordPress is a free and open-source Content Management System (CMS) that powers over 60 million websites. The easy-to-use WordPress visual editor empowers you to create and manage your own content quickly and effectively directly from your browser. WordPress also offers an extensive selection of plugins and themes for you to achieve easily the look, feel, and functionality you need.

Faculty and staff in the College of Engineering can request a WordPress site for departments and research centers.

Accessibility Requirements

Every NC State website must be accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. ITECS ensures that its hosted sites work across multiple devices and browsers and meet accessibility requirements specified for IT developers.

Faculty and Staff

As faculty and staff creating your own WordPress web pages, you are responsible for ensuring the accessibility of your own content.

 Tip icon

ITECS’s Top 5
Accessibility Tips for Your Web Content

1.  Is everything Legible?
  • No italics—Use bold for emphasis.  Not italics.
  • Font size—Never smaller than 9 points.  Not 8 points.
  • Color choices:
    • Contrast:  Black text on a white background is the most legible color contrast.
    • Color for emphasis:  To emphasis one word or phrase, do not use color alone.  Use bold also.
    • Branding:  NC State specifies branding-compliant colors and fonts and so forth.  To make sure your web content is NC State brand-compliant, see the NC State Brand website.
2.  Does Every Image Have Alt-Text?
  • If you use an image to convey information of any kind, edit the image and enter descriptive text in the Alternative Text field.
    • For example, if you mouse over the blue woman holding the sign, you will see (or hear) the words, “Tip icon.”  That is the alt-text for the image, which communicates with screen-reader technology to convey said helpful information to your visually impaired audience.
    • Another example could be “Photo of Renfrew Bidgood.”
3.  Does Every VIDEO Have Captioning?
  • For each video you include in a web page, make sure it has captioning so that every spoken word is represented visually for your hearing-impaired audience.
4.  Does Every Hyperlink Have Descriptive text?
5.  Did You Cheat with the Headings?
  • Almost everyone does, by the way.
  • If you use the headings out of order (typically to use the formatting you prefer), you will wreak havoc for all accessibility technology.
  • Don’t cheat.  Instead, use the headings as intended:
    • Heading1—Use this only for the title of each web page.
    • Heading2—Use this only to begin a new sublevel under the H1 level.
    • Heading3—Use this only to begin a new sublevel under the H2 level.
    • …and so forth.
Take Action For more information about making your pages accessible to everyone at NC State, see IT Accessibility for Faculty and Staff.

 

Getting to Know WordPress

You have several choices when it comes to learning WordPress. Extensive documentation is available through the WordPress Codex, “the online manual for WordPress and a living repository for WordPress information and documentation.”

If you prefer an audio-visual learning experience, the following online video guides are available:


The Office of Information Technology (OIT) at NC State also offers training courses to faculty and staff.

Take Action Click here to see available courses.

Tip: Filter the list by entering the keyword, wordpress.

 

User Permissions and Roles

The ITECS WordPress environment offers four of the five default WordPress user roles:

  • Editor
  • Author
  • Contributor
  • Subscriber

We do not offer the Administrator/SuperAdmin role. Instead, we have extracted the most commonly used permissions from the Administrator role to offer three additional roles, which we can apply to any user upon request:

  • Manage Users
    • Create New Users
    • Add Existing Users
    • List Users
    • Remove Users
  • Manage Theme
    • Edit Theme Options
  • Manage Plugins
    • Activate/deactivate Plugins
    • Manage Options
    • Edit Dashboard Widget Settings

 

Security and Business Continuity

We keep all sites within our WordPress environment up-to-date with the latest patches:

  • WordPress Core—Core patches are typically applied per the following schedule:
    • Minor versions:  Same day as release.
    • Major versions:  As soon as possible after testing.
  • Plugins and Themes—Patches are applied as needed, usually within a few days of the patch release.

Sites are backed for 30 days and can be restored upon request. Pages and posts within WordPress keep a revision history and can be restored by an editor at any time. By default, only the last ten revisions are kept. This limit can be increased upon request.

NOTE: We do not grant filesystem access to WordPress installation. All interactions must be done via the web interface.

 

Content Editing

The most powerful feature of WordPress is its content editor, which includes a visual editor and a text editor. This allows users to quickly and easily create and modify contents via the web. Some fundamental web coding is helpful but not required.

All users are responsible for the content of their sites. ITECS does not provide support for content changes.

 

Media Library

Each WordPress site has a media library with a 10-GB limit. This space is best suited for content-presentation materials—as opposed to generic file storage. We recommend Google Drive for storing the files and documents unrelated to your content presentation. If you need to send documents or large files to your users, connect your Google Drive account to your WordPress site and use your Google Drive as additional storage for your WordPress site. Contact ITECS for details on how to set this up.

For technical reasons, uploaded photos are restricted to a maximum size of 3500×3500. Images larger than this will need to be cropped or scaled before they can be uploaded.

 

Plugins

WordPress Plugins are pieces of code that extend and add functionality to your WordPress site. Plugins can be extremely useful; however, they also happen to be one of the major avenues for attacks on WordPress sites. Therefore, to keep your site (and all hosted sites) safe from attack, we require all plugins to undergo a thorough vetting process before approving them for installation.

 

Pre-installed Plugins

The following plugins are pre-installed with every WordPress site that we host:

Name Description
Advanced Custom Fields Pro Allows for user-friendly modification of custom field values on pages and posts.
Bootstrap 3 Shortcodes Use the power of Bootstrap components with simple shortcodes. Requires a theme; uses Bootstrap.
Crop Thumbnails Manually crop image thumbnails to get the best looking thumbnails.
Gravity Forms A full-featured, contact-form plugin featuring a drag-and-drop interface, advanced notification routing, lead capture, conditional logic, and more.
The Events Calendar Pro Create, manage, and display a calendar of events on your WordPress site.
The SEO Framework Provides an automated, accessible, unbranded and extremely fast SEO solution for your WordPress site.

 

Additional Plugins

The following plugins are pre-approved and available for installation upon request.
Request a plugin installation on your site.

Name Description
Benchmark Email Lite Builds an email list from the pages of your WordPress site and sends your subscribers email versions of your posts and pages.
Nav Menu Roles Choose to display or hide navigation items based on the user viewing the page.
NCState FlickrShortcode Create galleries from Flickr using a simple shortcode.
QuickLaTeX Insert formulas and graphics in the posts and comments using native LaTeX shorthands directly in the text.
Share Buttons by AddThis Add share buttons to your site so users can easily share the content on social media.
Stellar Places Create, manage, and display locations using Google Maps.
The Events Calendar Shortcode List events in a page using a simple shortcode.

 

Take Action If you would like to use a plugin not on the list,  request a new plugin for approval.

 

Themes

Themes are responsible for the look and feel of your site. You may use any theme that is compliant with NC State Branding Guidelines.

Currently, we offer the following themes:

Name Maintainer Description
Riddick ITECS Named after the first dean of the College of Engineering, the Riddick theme is a university brand-compiant theme designed for department sites within the College of Engineering. The Riddick theme features built-in support for news and events, flexible content editing using Bootstrap components, and a responsive design that makes your site look great on mobile as well as desktops.
Van Leer ITECS The Van Leer theme is a child theme of Riddick, designed for use on research sites. With less emphasis on news and presentation, it takes a more streamlined approach to content.
Hillsborough OIT Design Hillsborough is a multipurpose, NC State-branded WordPress theme by the Office of Information Technology Design team.
University Web Communication WordPress Theme University Web Communications The University Web Communications WordPress Theme is a theme offered by University Web Communications free to use by all NC State faculty, staff, and students.
NOTE: ITECS maintains the Riddick line of themes and will provide technical support for all official Riddick-based themes.

ITECS does not provide support for any other themes.

Similar to plugins, themes must also go through a vetting process before being approved for use.

Take Action If you would like to use a theme not on the list, request a new theme for approval.

 

Support

ITECS provides technical support for all of its customers.  Access is restricted to people with NCSU Unity accounts only. If non-Unity users need to log in and edit your site, please contact ITECS for assistance.

If you discover an error on your site or need assistance with a technical issue, please email eoshelp@ncsu.edu with your concern.  ITECS does not provide support for content changes.