1. What is EdSpace and what does it have to do with WordPress?
Edspace.american.edu, or EdSpace, is the name of the domain that hosts American University’s WordPress site. AU’s WordPress is a multisite network, which means American University students and faculty can create an unlimited number of sites within edspace.american.edu
2. What’s the difference between WordPress.org (EdSpace) and WordPress.com?
One major difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is who’s actually hosting the website. WordPress.com is a commercial site that hosts your site for free (with advertisements), but users must abide by their Terms of Service and are limited to the amount of customization allowed. WordPress.org offers a free copy of the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) software to install on a private web server, which allows much more customization and security. Edspace.american.edu runs on WordPress.org. Any student, faculty, or staff member at American University is able to create academic sites on this platform.
3. Who will build a website hosted on EdSpace for me?
You will! CTRL is here to help troubleshoot and support your work, but each site is built and maintained by the site’s owner. Resources on building your site can be found on the Edspace Help Page. WordPress workshops are also offered each semester through CTRL.
4. How do I register and make a site?
To register for a new site, go to edspace.american.edu click the “Request Space” button. After filling in your name, email, and the name of your new site, click the “Submit” button. Within 2 business days, you’ll receive an email confirmation with your site address, user name, and a temporary password. After logging in, you can change your password by going to Dashboard > Users > Your Profile.
If you already have an EdSpace account and want to create an additional site, you can do so by clicking My Site > Create New Site and scrolling down the page to enter the required fields.
5. How do I change my site’s URL?
Your site created on EdSpace will look like “edspace.american.edu/yourname.” If you want a website that is just “yourname.com,” you will need to purchase that domain and forward it to your EdSpace site. Specific information on forwarding and masking your site should be available from your domain provider.
6. I just created a site…why does it look different than other sites I see on the EdSpace network?
Themes are what give a WordPress site a specialized look and can be changed based on your preference. To change the theme of your site from the Dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes.
7. Why doesn’t my site look like the example/demo site, even though I’m using the same theme?
Themes can be customized to appear the way you want them. For example, if you’re using an image-heavy theme, you will want images on your site to maximize your theme’s effect. Themes often use Featured Images and custom front pages to produce the results you see on demo sites. Most, if not all, themes available on the EdSpace network have specific “How To” guides and documentation written by their authors that can be found through a quick Google search (e.g. “Make WordPress Theme Help”). You can also change your front/entry page to be a static page instead of the default blog post page by going to Appearance > Customize > Static Front Page.
8. What’s the difference between posts and pages?
Posts are listed in reverse chronological order on the home page of your site or on the posts page if you have set one in Settings → Reading. If you have created any sticky posts, those will appear before the other posts. You can control how many posts are displayed at a time in the Reading Settings. The URL for a post includes the date the post was published like this: https://edspace.american.edu/sitename/2015/1/1/post-title
Pages are static and are not listed by date. Pages do not use tags or categories. An About page is the classic example. Pages can be displayed in the sidebar using the Pages widget, and some themes display pages in tabs at the top of the blog. If you have 50 pages and you use the Pages widget, then all pages will be listed all the time. The URL for a page looks like this:
9. How do I make a new page? A new post?
From the Dashboard, select Pages > Add New
1. Fill out page title, text (body) and insert media as desired
2. Select any page attributes – some themes offer page templates and the potential to have a parent/child page hierarchy (particularly helpful for large site organization)
3. Select “Publish” when ready
From the Dashboard, select Posts > Add New
1. Fill out post title, text (body) and insert media as desired
2. Select any page attributes
Add tags as specified in prompt. This is extremely important, as these tags will filter and organize your posts.
3. Select “Publish” when ready
10. How do I make a “static” page as the site’s entry point?
To create a new static front page, go to the WordPress Administration Panels.
1. In Pages choose Add New Page
2. Title it “Home”
3. If the WordPress Theme offers an option to change the look and feel of the front page, select the Template in the Page Attributes panel box.
4. Add content you would like to see within the content area of the static front page.
5. Select “Publish” when ready.
If there is an existing page that you want to make your entry point, you can make it a static page by going to Appearance > Customize > Static Front Page.
11. How do I change the title/subtitle of my site?
To change the title/subtitle of your site, within the Dashboard, select Settings>General Settings. You will see space to edit your site title and the tagline (the subtitle). Make the desired changes, and then select “Save Changes.”
12. What are my privacy options?
There are two main considerations for privacy: how you want search engines to access your site and how you want regular users to access your site.
Search engine options
- Allow search engines to index this site
- Discourage search engines from indexing this site
- Visitors must have a login – anyone that is a registered user of edspace.american.edu can gain access.
- Only registered users of this blogs can have access – anyone found under Users > All Users can have access.
- Only administrators can visit – good for testing purposes before making it live.
- Anyone that visits must first provide this password.
To change your privacy settings:
- Navigate to Dashboard > Settings > Reading
- Select desired level of site visibility
- Select “Save Changes” to update site
13. I have/will buy a premium theme or plugin…how do I install it?
Before making a purchase, check the existing themes and plugins to make sure we don’t already have it. If it is not already on the network, please email email@example.com with the theme/plugin name and why it is required for your site. We will ensure that everything is secure and can activate it if needed.
14. How do I change colors, fonts, and/or other visuals?
Colors, fonts, and/or other visuals are decided by your theme. The easiest way to change the look-and-feel of your site is to change your theme. Some of the complex/premium themes available on the EdSpace network allow site administrators to edit the theme CSS within their Theme Options or Customize area inside the Dashboard. Users of any theme can also activate Jetpack (a plugin that will connect to a user’s WordPress.com account), which provides the option of editing any site’s CSS by going to Appearance > Edit CSS from the Dashboard. This feature is only available if Jetpack is enabled and Edit CSS is activated.
15. How do I back up my site?
All sites on edspace.american.edu are backed up every night, but if you would like to create a back up of your own site, you can export it by heading to Tools > Export. This creates an XML file that you can save on your computer. Once you’ve saved the download file, you can import the content into a site with the Tools > Import feature. You can also use this technique to move your site to a self-hosted WordPress site.
16. Can I use my own domain (e.g., fatima.com) instead of the EdSpace URL?
Yes, if you own your own domain, you can forward the domain name to your EdSpace site. However, instructions for forwarding and masking domains differ according to where a domain is hosted. Currently, the most popular option is buying a .com domain from GoDaddy and following their detailed instructions.
17. Are there any policies or regulations on what can be posted on EdSpace?
EdSpace is a platform for students, faculty, and staff at American University. As such, users agree to follow AU’s Policies.
18. Who do I contact for more help?
You can find helpful information within the links below:
Lynda.com Essential WordPress Tutorials (AU Authentication Required)
What is WordPress? 3m 51s
WordPress, WordPress.com, and WordPress.org: What is the difference? 3m 7s
Accessing your WordPress site 2m 20s
Using the WordPress Dashboard 8m 10s
Using the WordPress toolbar 4m 29s
Creating Posts (All) 1h 36m
Creating Pages (All) 11m 21s
Managing Content (All) 22m 24s
Selecting and changing themes 4m 57s
Using the Theme Customizer 7m 39s
Using a custom header image 4m 59s
Creating custom menus 7m 27s
Using widgets 8m 4s
Changing the front page from a blog view to a static page 4m 50s
Adding and managing users 5m 59s
Understanding user levels 6m 28s
Configuring general settings 9m 17s
Exporting and importing content from other sites 6m 24s
Google search is also a useful tool for finding tutorials and answers. In particular, it is easy to find quick answers to questions regarding themes and/or plugins by including the name within your search query (e.g. “front page image size Make WordPress theme”). You can also reach out to the CTRL team at firstname.lastname@example.org for help.