What happens to your Sites@Duke WordPress site when you leave Duke?

If you are a graduating student, a faculty or a staff member leaving Duke (and therefore will no longer have an active Duke NetID), you have several options for your site, depending on your desired outcome.

Course Sites

1. If you want to make access changes to a site related to an academic course…

Per the Sites@Duke Retention Policy, academic sites remain on Duke’s server for 5 years.

Unless you changed the Site Visibility settings to a Subsite that you created in a class (Dashboard > Settings > Reading Settings), the default setting is that the site is only viewable to the members of your class.

Consult with the faculty member who taught your course if you have any questions or concerns about your site.

Non-Course Sites

1. If you want to keep your site active and available after you leave…

You can export your Sites@Duke WordPress site and move it to another WordPress instance by following these steps:

  1. On your Sites@Duke Dashboard, use the menu bar on the left side to navigate to Tools and then Export.export
  2. If you want to export your entire site, select ‘All content’, which is the default option, and click the button to ‘Download Export File’.
  3. This should download a .xml file into the default folder your computer uses for files downloaded through your browser.
  4. Log into, or create, your WordPress account at https://wordpress.com/ and create or navigate to your site that you would like to transfer your Sites@Duke site to.
  5. Once on the dashboard of your WordPress instance site, navigate again to Tools, this time selecting Import.importNOTE: If this option does not appear in the menu bar, copy and paste this link in your browser: https://*******.wordpress.com/wp-admin/import.php Replace the ****** with the name of your WordPress site (found in the URL as https://******.wordpress.com)
  6. On the Import page, select ‘WordPress’ from the list of options.import_options
  7. Click ‘Choose File’ and select the .xml file from step c from your Downloads folder, then click ‘Upload file and import’.
  8. Assign authors to your posts/content as necessary.
  9. WordPress will process your site and send you an email when it is finished being processed and uploaded.

2. If you want your site to expire and disappear after you leave…

If you don’t need or want to access your site after you leave Duke, you can leave it up and it will eventually expire along with your Duke NetID.

Alternatively, you can delete your site with the following steps:

    1.  On your Sites@Duke Dashboard, use the menu bar on the left side to navigate to Tools and then Delete Site.delete_site
    2. You must check the box that acknowledges that your site will be permanently deleted and can never be recovered – DO NOT delete your site if you are unsure whether you would like to access it again!
    3. If you are sure, click the button that says ‘Delete my site permanently’.
    4. Once you do this, you will receive an email to your Duke email address asking you to confirm that you’d like to delete your site – click the link in this email to permanently remove your site. If you do not click this link, your site will NOT be deleted.

3. If you want your site to continue at Duke without you, after you leave…

You can add another member of the Duke community to your site as an Administrator. For example, if you are the President of a club, you can add the future president as the new Admin so he or she will be able to access and update the site when you leave Duke.

NOTE: It is best practice to have a second administrator on your site. Student groups should consider adding their advisor.

Follow the steps below to add a new user:

    1. On your Sites@Duke Dashboard, use the menu bar on the left side to navigate to Users and then Add New.addnewuser
    2. Enter the Duke NetID (or Duke email address) of the person you would like to add to your site, and select ‘Administrator’ as the role.adduser
    3. The user will have been added to your site and requires no further action.


4. You don’t want anyone to see your site or find it through searching the web….

  1. Go to Dashboard > Settings > Reading Settings to check your settings.
  2. Check “I would like my site to be visible only to Admins” so that only you (and any other Admins) can see the site and no one else.  Check “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” to prevent your site from being searched.site_visability

NOTE: You will be prompted to renew your site annually and once you lose your DukeNetID you would not be able to renew your site.

Questions? Contact the OIT Service Desk, http://oit.duke.edu/help/.

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How to embed a Google Form (or any other Google doc) into your Sites@Duke website

From your site’s Dashboard, go to the Plugins tab. Scroll down to “Google for WordPress” and click Activate.


When you activate this Plugin, another tab, “WP & Google,” will appear on the left-hand side of your screen. Click on this tab. Under the modules section, click the “YES / NO” button next to Google Drive to activate the Google Drive module. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Save changes.”


The page will then reload, and under the “WP & Google” tab on the left side of the screen there will be a new option, “Google Drive.” Click on it. It will bring you to a “General” section. Type in your site’s name in the text box next to “Site name” (if you aren’t sure what the name of your site is, it is in the upper-left-hand of your screen next to a house icon). Also make sure the “YES / NO” button next to Shortcode is selected. Click “Save changes” at the bottom of the page.


Next, go to the “Embed” section, click the button next to Shortcode, and hit “Save changes” at the bottom of the page. Finally, go to the “Viewer” section and do the same thing.

Next, you want to go to the page you want to embed the form in, and type (or copy and paste) the following:

[sz-drive-embed type=”forms” id=”1I9MLjVZdSDII25yp9ZRweSt1lGpV60QNeEooXLBL6CI”/]

Before updating, change the id to your form’s id. The id is taken from the following section of the form’s embedding URL (which can be found by clicking SEND and then the chain link):


Alternatively, you can just copy it from the editing page URL:


Then, all you have to do is update the page, and then it will be embedded in the page!


The process for embedding any other type of Google Drive file is very simple. All that is required is that you type the shortcode for the appropriate formats, and change the id to match your files:


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How can I embed a Duke Qualtrics form into my WordPress post or page?

Duke’s Qualtrics survey tool makes it easy for Duke faculty, staff and students to create surveys. Qualtrics also provides several ways to email or link to a survey – but doesn’t directly show you how to display a survey on a WordPress site – though it’s possible with a few small tricks. (Please note that if this method proves too cumbersome and/or doesn’t work for you, you can always just add a link to your survey for people to access and take).

1. First, create your Qualtrics survey and make sure you’ve launched and activated it . Once activated, Qualtrics will provide you with an Anonymous Survey Link. Copy that link and hold on to it.

2. Go to the Dashboard for the Duke WordPress site you want to add your Qualtrics survey to (note: you must be an administrator of the site you want to add a survey to in order to do this next step!). Click Plugins from the dashboard, and choose Activate under Qualtrics Survey Embeds on the page. This plugin will allow you to add the code necessary to display your Qualtrics survey.
3. Create a new Page or Post in your Duke WordPress site and give the page a title. To embed the survey, simply paste the Anonymous Survey Link to your survey on its own line in the editor (making sure you’re on the Visual tab, not Text).

4. Click Update or Publish to create the page or post. You should now see your embedded Qualtrics survey on your WordPress page or post.


To change the default embed settings (e.g. survey dimensions). Go to the Dashboard and under Setting select Qualtrics Settings.


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How do I customize my site’s menus?

Many new WordPress themes offer a way to customize their menus. Here’s how it works:

1. Login to your site and visit the Dashboard view.

2. Click the Appearance menu and select Menus.

3. Check to see if your theme allows Custom Menus. Look in the Theme Locations box (see image below):

If the text states that your theme supports at least 1 menu, then you can use the Custom Menus options to customize your overall menus on your site. If it doesn’t, you can still use this tool – but the custom navigation will have to be placed in your sidebar as a Widget instead.

4. Click the ‘+’ button to create a new set of menus. Give the menu set a name.

5. If you’ve already created Pages and/or Posts on your site, you can use them to build up your custom menu. For example, if I want to add several of my site’s pages to the menu, I can place a check next to them in the Pages box, then click Add to Menu. The pages will show up under the new menu. Click ‘Save Menu’ then enable it under the Theme Locations box by choosing it from the drop-down menu as your ‘Primary Navigation’ and clicking Save.

You can rearrange menu items by dragging and dropping them as needs be (meaning, in most cases, the top most item will appear on the left of your navigation on your page). You can also drag items under other items to create subpages. To illustrate, here’s the WordPress site using the navigation in the images above:

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How do I turn off comments?

Allowing readers of your site to comment on specific posts or pages is a hallmark of blogging technologies such as WordPress. With that said, there might be times you don’t want to allow readers to comment on a blog post or page.

To turn off commenting on an individual post or page

1. From within the Dashboard, Edit the Post or Page

2. Scroll down past the content boxes and look for the Discussion options. Uncheck ‘Allow comments‘.

(NOTE: if you don’t see these options, they might be hidden. Look for the ‘Screen Options’ button toward the top of your WordPress screen. Click on it, and you’ll see a set of options drop-down. Make sure ‘Discussion’ is selected).

To turn off commenting by default

If you don’t want anyone to comment on any of your blog posts or pages, you can turn this off by default as well.

1. From your site’s Dashboard, click Settings and Discussion

2. Uncheck all of the options under Default Article Settings

3. Scroll down and click Save Changes.

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How can visitors subscribe to email updates on my site?

Duke WordPress doesn’t offer any built-in way for blog/site subscribers to receive emails when new posts are published. However, you can use Google’s Feedburner service to perform the same task.

First, you’ll need to set up a Feedburner feed for your site. Go to feedburner.google.com and sign in. You’ll need to add a feed for your site. for Duke WordPress, your main site’s feed will be http://sites.duke.edu/YOURSITE/feed/ (replacing YOURSITE with whatever your actual address is on Duke WordPress).

NOTE: Your WordPress site needs to be publicly viewable before it publishes RSS feeds. Go to Settings > Reading and choose either “Allow search engines to index this site” or “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”

Once you have the feed created, do the following in Feedburner:

  1. If you’re not already, go back to feedburner.google.com and login
  2. Click “My Feeds” in the upper-right-hand corner and select your site’s feed from the list
  3. Click the “Publicize” tab, then click “Email Subscriptions” on the left
  4. Click “Activate” to activate email subscriptionsfeedburner-activation
  5. Scroll down until you find the Subscription Link Code area, and copy the HTML in the box below ‘Preview Subscription Link’

In your Duke WordPress site, login and go to the Dashboard.

  1. Go to the Appearance section and click Widgets
  2. Add a Text widget to the sidebar you want, and paste the HTML code from Feedburner in the widget. Save and check your site. You should see an option to subscribe to your site by email on your sidebar. Students and/or other visitors can click this and configure their own options for how they’d like to receive email updates.
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How can I track my Duke WordPress site’s visitor stats?

You might be curious about how many people visit your Duke WordPress site (or want to know more about what they’re looking at!). There are two ways to do this:

Option 1: Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics gives you tools to track the number of visits to your site, plus ways to see which pages your visitors viewed, what devices they used, etc. The catch is that you’ll need a Google account to use Google Analytics. Once you login to Google Analytics, choose to ‘create a new account’ for your particular site. Google will provide a ‘tracking code’ that you can copy and paste into your WordPress site. Once you have the tracking code, go back to your WordPress site’s Dashboard, and click Settings>Google Analytics. Paste your tracking code in the tracking code box and click Save Changes. Give Analytics a few days to start collecting data, then visit Google Analytics to see your results.

Option 2: Use WordPress.com’s statistics tools

WordPress.com (the commercial site from WordPress) offers statistics tools that can be added to any WordPress site (whether they’re on WordPress.com or not). The catch here is that you’ll need a WordPress.com account to get the required API key.

1. If you don’t have one already, sign up for an account on WordPress.com

2. Once you have an account, login to your Duke WordPress site that you want to add WordPress stats to. Go to the Dashboard, click Plugins, and activate the Jetpack plugin. This plugin will then ask you to connect to WordPress.com via a brightly colored message on the screen (see below).

Clicking on the button above will then take you to a screen asking you to authenticate your WordPress.com account.

Once you’ve authenticated, you can chose from among a growing number of new add-ons from WordPress.com that can be added to your Duke WordPress site! Choose ‘Configure’ to finish setting up your WordPress.com Stats.


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How do I use re-use my WP course site from last semester?

Because of the special URLs Duke WordPress course sites creates (course_section_term – for example, environ300_10_f2011), it usually makes more sense to start a new course site each semester. However, some sites might contain content or conversations that a faculty member wants to share with a new set of students. The following options might help with re-using WP content:

Option 1: Create a new course site and copy the material over

  • follow the instructions to create a course site for this semester-now. Leave that site alone for a moment.
  • in your ‘old’ course site, go to the Dashboard view, click Tools and then ‘Export’. Choose ‘All Content’ and click Download Export File. This should drop an XML file on your computer (in a downloads folder, on your desktop, or wherever your browser is set to download files to).
  • In your NEW site, go to the Dashboard, click Tools and click Import. Choose ‘WordPress‘. Choose your file that you just downloaded to your computer and click ‘Upload file and import’.

Caveats: WordPress doesn’t really make an exact copy of everything from your previous site -it only brings over the text, images and links. You’ll have to do some housekeeping on your new site. For example, you’ll probably want to change the theme to the same one you previously used, and probably check your ‘widgets’ to make sure you have the same ones.

Option 2: Add your new students to the current course (even though it has last year’s URL, etc)

This would be the simpler option. Faculty can actually add other student enrollments to an existing course site using the Duke Toolkits tool. See the page on combining multiple enrollments to learn how.

Caveats: you’ll have the same URL with the old term designation. Your students from the previous semester will also still have access to the site. If you don’t want your students from last semester to add anything to the site – just make them all ‘subscribers’ in the site prior to adding the new students. That way the posts your previous students wrote will still be properly attributed – and they’ll still be able to see them – but they won’t be able to write new posts on your site.

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How can I archive my Duke WordPress site?

‘Archiving’ can mean different things to different people. There are several ways to save and/or ‘freeze’ a Duke WordPress site, including the following:

Option 1 – Export your content

If you just want to take all of your content out of Duke WordPress and save it, the best way is to visit the site, go to Tools > Export, and download your site’s text as .xml. This file can then be reloaded into another WordPress site at a later date. VERY IMPORTANT: your images and attached files do not get loaded with this .xml file…so don’t delete the site you’re archiving! When you have created a new WordPress site, you can then import the .xml file you saved, and the new site will allow you to pull in your images and attachments from the old site. After you have everything restored in the new site, you can delete the old one.

Option 2 – ‘Freezing’ a site (stopping others from posting to the blog and/or commenting)

In some cases you might want to keep the blog/site viewable, but stop your authors (students or colleagues who worked on the project) from posting anything new. If you’re the blog admin, you can do one of two things:

a) from the Dashboard for your site, go to Settings > Reading and select ‘I would like ‘xxxxxxx site’ to be visible only to admins.’ This will allow only admins to view and add to the site

b) if you’d rather others still be able to view your site, just not add to it (ex: past students who might want to see what they wrote), you’ll want to change their role in WP. From the Dashboard for your site, go to Users and select all students (you can also select multiple users at once – see the image below). Change the selected students to ‘subscribers’ using the dropdown menu. They’ll no longer be able to edit the site or add new content, but will still be able to view it.

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How can I embed a Google Map or Google Calendar in my WordPress post or page?

Duke WordPress administrators and editors can embed Google Maps and/or Calendars on individual blog posts or pages.

1. Go to the Dashboard for the Duke WordPress site you want to add your map or calendar to (note: you must be an administrator of the site you want to add a survey to in order to do this next step!). Click Plugins then find and activate Unfiltered MU. This plugin will allow you to add the code that Google provides for sharing maps and/or calendars.

2. Go to Google Maps or Google Calendars and find the code you’ll need to add to WordPress.

For Google Maps:

Create your map, then click the ‘Link’ button. This will reveal both a hyperlink to the map and a box that displays the code you need to embed the map into your WordPress site. Copy the code and go back to your WordPress site.

For Google Calendar:

Visit your Google Calendar and find the specific calendar you want to embed. Click the dropdown menu for that calendar and choose ‘Calendar Settings’ (see image below).

Once in Calendar Settings, look for the options to Embed Calendar. You’ll be able to copy a chunk of code that you can then paste back into WordPress.

3. Create a new Page or Post in your Duke WordPress site. Once you’ve given the page a title, click the ‘HTML’ option for the editor.

4. Paste the code from Google in the HTML editor box and click Update or Publish to create the page or post. You should now see your embedded Google Map or Calendar on your WordPress page or post.

View Larger Map

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