Original content by Rebecca Kidder ’16; revised spring 2018 with updated info
Update May 2018: We’re preparing more informative documentation! Go to:
- Here for an overview of the below options (start here; this links to others below)
- Here for importing your site to WP.com for free (the cheapest/easiest option to keep using your site)
- Here for importing your site to a hosted server (the most flexible/functional alternative)
- Here for creating a static HTML archive (if you just want a non-editable snapshot of your site)
The Lewis & Clark Digital Scholarship multisite is unfortunately in transition as of spring 2018. You may be wondering how you can export your site to another platform, or save it as an archive. This page has some information for you. Once you have read it, just complete the form here by the extended date of April 15 to state your preferences—or complete this RSS feed form to share your new site feed with us.
Here are five options to consider. First, you can simply do nothing, which means that, following the ds.lclark.edu transition in summer 2018, all your work will be lost…not a great option, but you can choose it. The next three are to export your site to (a) WordPress.com (simple but not too flexible), or (b) to your own hosted site running WordPress (more flexible but more difficult), or (c) to another, non-WordPress platform. We recommend you consider one of these three options so that you can continue to document your scholarship. The fifth option is to save your site to a static HTML archive; you can’t add to this site any more, but this option preserves most of your current content.
Okay, let’s now consider these options in a bit of detail.
- Do nothing. It may be that you didn’t put a lot of content on your site, so it’s not a big deal simply to say goodbye to it…that’s okay with us if it’s okay with you. Do read the three options below, however, before reaching this decision.
- Export my site to WordPress.com (easy/less flexible). You’ll first need to follow the instructions here (Tools > Export) to export an .xml file of your entire site (i.e., choose “All content” under “Choose what to export”). Then import this file to a new WP.com site: see here for help from the WordPress.com folks on how to do this (note that Tools > Import is currently under Settings in WordPress.com). You’ll need a WordPress.com account, then choose a plan (from free to not-free) and follow their instructions. One big drawback with WordPress.com is that—outside of their top-end option—they, not you, control which themes and plugins you can use—so your site may be far less functional than it was on ds.lclark.edu. It will basically be a blog site vs. a multifunctional website. If you’d like more control over your site, see the next option!
- Export my site to my own hosted WordPress server (harder/more flexible). Here too you’ll start by doing Tools > Export as above. Then you’ll get a host, install WordPress on it, then use Tools > Import to import your DS site to it (you’ll install the WordPress Importer to do this). See here for recommendations from WordPress.org on hosts; there are many more out there as well, and almost all play well with WP. It’s actually not that expensive to have your own server, and it’s easy to install WordPress on it; from there you can choose whatever themes and plugins you want! Yes, you have to maintain the whole thing. But if you want to recapture much of what you were able to do on ds.lclark.edu, this is the option for you.
- Export my site to a non-WordPress platform (also pretty easy/less flexible). Here too you’ll start by doing Tools > Export as above. Indeed, WordPress is not the only platform in town; here is a comparison of ten top blogging platforms (written by WP folks, so you know what they ultimately recommend). Seriously, before you abandon WP do consider the professional cred it gives you: just take a peek here or here to see how WP is basically *the* web development platform of choice today. But if you do fall prey to Weebly or SquareSpace or whatever, basically all those other platforms have ways to import a WP site.
- Save my site to a static archive. The fifth option involves archiving a static version of your site, which you can either store somewhere or display on a web server. This option does not allow you to keep adding to the site, and does not preserve 100 percent of what your dynamic site currently does, but may be worth considering if you don’t want to do nothing, but you don’t want to keep using your site as in the options above. If you are interested in this fifth option, read this separate document and, if needed, email us DS multisite people for guidance.
Again, we recommend that you export your site (options 2, 3, and 4) so that you can continue your journey of digital scholarship and add to what you’ve started on your DS site. If you do choose to export your site, do bear in mind some additional details:
- All of your pages and posts will be preserved—but they may look different. And your widgets, and special things you did with ds.lclark.edu plugins, may disappear (unless you set up your own server with similar plugins). Remember, the hosted server option gives you the most flexibility!: you can essentially recreate your new site to look and work exactly like your DS site if you wish.
- We use Genesis themes on ds.lclark.edu, but they are commercial themes (i.e., they cost money) and you may want to try a free one. Make sure that it is well-reviewed—there are way more cool themes than good themes out there. (Watch out: hackers can access your site via bad themes.)
- When you export your site you’ll have the option to export all your media (including images), but your post/page featured images may not show up. One option (a bit out of date but still workable) if your featured images don’t show up is here, using this plugin. (This of course assumes that you can activate new plugins!…something you can’t do on WP.com outside of the full-frills paid option.)
- If you export your site to WP.com, you’ll see a slightly easier but still intuitive-to-you interface. If you export your site to your own hosted WP site, it should look pretty much exactly like what you know and love on ds.lclark.edu. Either way, it’s all WordPress, and you should get going quickly on that new site.
Remember, email the DS multisite folks if questions and we’re happy to help. And if you’re reading this spring 2018, complete the form here by April 15 to state your export preferences, or complete this site feed form for your new site.