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Thinking of using WordPress, a free open-source platform, to host out-of-class discussions, student responses, or a class homepage? You have a few choices make before you get started. Use this tutorial as a guide for choosing the option that works best for your needs:

WordPress.com CDLR Sandbox WordPress.org
Is WordPress free? Yes Yes Yes
Can I run it without installing software? Yes Yes No
Is the site hosted for me? Yes Yes No
Can I choose my own domain name? No (Premium $18) No Yes
Can I use existing themes? Yes Yes Yes
Can I customize themes? No (Premium $30) Yes* Yes
Can I install plugins? No Yes* Yes
Is there unlimited space to host media? No (Premium $20-$200) Yes Yes
Is it free of advertisements? No Yes Yes
If it breaks will someone else fix it? Yes Yes No*
Is it very stable? Yes No No

* Discuss with CDLR staff.

WordPress Glossary

  • Themes control the look and feel of the site. When choosing a theme consider the layout, colors, menu options, and available “widgets.”
  • Widgets are ways of organizing the display of content in the sidebar areas. Widgets are used to show post archives, recent comments, an “about” text, tag clouds, RSS feeds, calendars and other items.
  • Categories can be used like tags to indicate subjects that are relevant to posts and to allow users to see posts that share common subjects. They can also be used to organize posts onto different pages.
  • Plugins expand the functionality of your WordPress site to add private forums, integrate your site with other social media platforms, offer search engine optimization, and much more.

Want to learn more?