Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I know if UCI Sites will work for me?

UCI Sites has many features, but also has limitations. Please read “Is UCI Sites Right for You?” to find out if the service will meet your needs.

How can I install a new plugin for my site?

UCI Sites is basic web hosting using WordPress Multisite as a content management system. All sites share the same plugins and themes. Unlike a stand-alone version of WordPress, site administrators cannot install or modify themes and plugins. Each new plugin must be evaluated and tested by OIT staff to see if it will benefit the entire system. Each new plugin has potential software conflicts, security risks, and can often slow the down the system for all sites. As an open source product, plugins are sometimes abandoned making it challenging to find a replacement. For these reasons, we are very conservative in what we install and do not add new plugins often. Requests for new plugins will be added to a list. If we get enough requests for similar added functionality we will evaluate as resources allow.

Plugins we use are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Adds needed functionality for the majority of our site users.
  • From a trusted source, like WordPress.org. We do not install licensed plugins or from sites other than WordPress.org where plugins are vetted.
  • Actively maintained by the developer.
  • Works in a WordPress Multisite environment. Not all plugins do.

Advanced Web Hosting

If the limitations of our free, basic web hosting will not work for your site, OIT does offer advanced web hosting for a fee. Our system administrators can install a stand alone version of WordPress for you that will give you more flexibility in theme and plugin installation and configuration.

Optional Plugins

We have installed a few plugins to extend WordPress functionality. Some are network enabled and available now. A few others are optional and we will enable them upon request.

Who can create a website or blog?

Currently, only faculty, staff and graduate students can create sites or blogs. You can create more than one blog or website.

How do I create a site?

Go to the UCI Sites home page and click the “Create a Site” button. You will need to login with your UCInetID and password. Follow the on-screen prompts. We have instructions to help you get started.

How can undergraduate students participate?

Currently, undergraduate students cannot create sites or blogs. Undergraduate students can login and become a “subscriber” so that they may comment on existing blogs. In addition, a student who is collaborating with a faculty, staff or department may be given an additional “role” within a site or blog and become a contributor, an author or an editor. See our Help Docs for information on roles.

Undergraduate students can create their own sites using UCI Google Apps.

What happens to my site after I graduate?

Graduate students (advanced degree holders) get to keep their UCInetIDs. As long as you have an active UCInetID, you will be able to continue to login to your site to edit it. You can also export the content to move to another WordPress service if you choose to move the content elsewhere.

What is my username and password?

We are using UCInetIDs to authenticate. Use your UCInetID and password to login. Generally, your UCInetID is the first part of your email address before the @ sign. If you have forgotten your UCInetID, you may reset it here.

What does ‘UCI Sites’ offer versus commercial blogging services?

UCI Sites is similar to commercial blogging services like Blogger, LiveJournal, and WordPress.com. All have a simple and easy to use interface for updating blogs. We are ad-free and the entries can easily be exported and backed up in an open format. There’s also the added benefit of having the UCI branding and domain for your blog address.

What software is UCI Sites using?

We are using WordPress, which is an open-source web content management system for simple sites and blogs.

What level of anonymity and privacy can I expect?

UCI Sites uses UCInetIDs, so your real name is associated with your site or blog. The very nature of blogging is sharing information with the world. When you publish an entry on your UCI Sites website, you are essentially posting on a public website. Anyone who knows the address of your website can see it and share the link with others.

If you want to publish content and keep your identity private, consider a commercial service like Blogger, LiveJournal or WordPress.com.

That being said, if you would like to create private posts, there is an option within WordPress to create “private” posts which require a password. You may also block search engines from finding your blog. You can change the privacy settings under Settings > Reading.

We now offer Private Sites. This setting allows you to only let users (with UCInetIDs) to login and view your site. You will need to add them and give them a role of Subscriber-PrivateSite or higher to grant them access.

How do I choose a new theme?

You can change the visual style of you blog by selecting a new theme. We offer a variety of themes with many styles and levels of customization. To change your theme, login to your blog and select Appearance > Themes to preview the available themes. You can click on a theme to preview your blog with the new style and if you like it, click Activate.

Can I edit one of the existing themes or can I get a new one installed?

Unlike stand-alone installations of WordPress, WordPress multisite does not allow site administrators the ability to edit themes. The same themes are used for all blogs, so changing a theme affects anyone using it. If you know how to write CSS, we now have a Custom CSS Manager plugin. This will allow you to add CSS code to your instance of the theme to make some style modifications.

However, some of the themes are more customizable than others. Many allow for custom headers and some allow for custom fonts, colors, etc.

At this time, we are not installing new themes. The campus is moving towards more unified branding and we are limiting the themes available. If you need a theme that we do not have, you may consider using Advanced Web Hosting where you have more freedom to install new plugins and themes.

How do I block Spam?

Spam affects millions of email users daily – the same applies to blogs. Spammers often use the comments functionality of blogs to advertise their products and services. This can be very annoying to the owner of the blog.

By default, we have comment moderation turned on. We have also installed Akismet Spam protection which does a good job of filtering out spam. You should see “Akismet Spam” in the blog admin under the Dashboard heading. There is an option to look through all spam comments for false positives.  You may still see some spam on your blog, but hardly any – it is similar to email where you can’t eliminate 100% of spam unless you stop receiving messages altogether.

How do I establish a group or shared site or blog?

If you would like to establish a group, or shared site, you may create a new site and add UCI users. The other members of your blog will need to have a UCI.edu email address and a UCInetID. If you are working with other academics outside of UCI, you can request a Sponsored UCInetID.

  1. In the Admin area of your blog, there is a section called Users.
  2. Click on the link Add New.
  3. Type in the person’s UCI email address and use his or her UCInetID in the UCInetID field.
  4. Give him or her a role (editor, author, contributor, or subscriber). See the page on Roles for more information on role capabilities.
  5. Click Add User
  6. He or she will receive an email invitation to join your site and will have to confirm to be added.
  7. Do this for each new user that you would like to add.

Are there any themes that work well on a mobile device?

We have a few themes that use Responsive Web Design. These themes will resize automatically on different devices. We have a list of available themes using responsive design. We will update this page as we add more responsive themes.

What is the difference between UCI Sites and a self-hosted WordPress site?

We often get questions about features that are available on self-hosted WordPress sites versus what is offered on UCI Sites. We have created a comparison table to help explain the differences.

Does UCI Sites work with WordPress Apps for iPhone and Android?

Unfortunately, we have not been able to get mobile WordPress Apps to work with UCI Sites. We believe this is due to the WebAuth login method. We do not have a fix for this at this time and recommend using a web browser to edit your blog.

Can I delete my blog?

If you have created a site and no longer want it, you can delete it at any time. We have instructions to help you. Before you delete it, make sure to export the content if you want to preserve your work.

Can I use UCI Sites to create a website instead of a blog?

Yes, in fact that’s why we re-branded the service. WordPress has evolved to become an effective Content Management System to build simple websites as well as being a robust blogging platform. As of February 2015, more than 51% of the top one million sites were using WordPress. See our WordPress for Websites page to configure your site to be used as a Website instead of a Blog.

Is there any cost to use UCI Sites?

OIT covers all of the costs to use this shared service. There is no cost to the people using the service. However, if you need a more customizable version of WordPress so that you can install your own themes and plug-ins, OIT does offer a web hosting solution for a monthly fee. This will allow you to install a stand alone version of WordPress that you can customize to suit your needs.

Can I use a custom domain on a site hosted by UCI Sites?

Yes, on UCI Sites you can use a custom domain for your site, such as sitename.bio.uci.edu instead of the default address you get when you sign up, like sites.uci.edu/sitename/. This is called Domain Mapping. Contact us for help or more information. Our current policy is to only map to ‘uci.edu’ domains.

I have gone over my Storage Space limit. What can I do?

All UCI Sites sites and blogs come with 250MB of storage. This storage space limit is only for media uploads like images, files (PDF, Word, Excel), etc. It does not affect how much content you can write and publish. People generally run out of space due to uploading hi-resolution images. Re-sizing images before uploading or replacing large images with smaller ones, often helps. See our Storage Space help page for more tips.

Do UCI Sites ever expire?

We do monitor sites for change activity. If your website has not been updated in more than 2 years, it may be archived. We will try to contact the administrator of the site to ask if the site is still being maintained. If we do not hear back or the site is not updated, we may archive the site. We will keep the site in a archived state for one more year. We can reinstate it at that time. After that time, it may be deleted to free up space for others. Sites that have been deleted cannot be recovered.

Your access to editing the site is provided by your UCInetID. While you are a current student or active employee, you should have access to your site. We can export your site’s content upon request. Learn more about UCInetID Deletion Policies.

Sites@UCI provided by the Office of Information Technology, University of California, Irvine