If I start my site on PIE, can I later move it to another WordPress hosting service, like the web.illinois.edu cPanel service?
Yes! And our support team would be glad to help you with that migration, if you’d like! You can also check out this tutorial on exporting content from WordPress and importing content into WordPress if you want to try it yourself before you reach out for help (but please, don’t hesitate to reach out if you are so inclined — our staff love helping folks solve their problems).
I don’t like the URL my site has, https://publish.illinois.edu/mysite. Can I get a custom domain name like mysite.com or mysite.myunit.illinois.edu?
Yes, you can! Depending on the custom domain you want, there may be some minimal annual costs involved (for domain registration and upkeep), and if it is on the illinois.edu domain, some restrictions do apply (and you will need to get some assistance from your local IT pros that manage the myunit.illinois.edu subdomain to get your mysite managed as a subdomain under the myunit domain). You can find the details here, in the KB article, “PIE, Using a custom domain“. We’d be happy to help you sort out who, if anyone, you’ll need to solicit from your unit to assist you, as well as shepherding you through the entire process — if you want that level of help.
I don’t like any of the Theme options that are available on PIE. Will you add one for me?
Unfortunately, this is not something we can accommodate on PIE. PIE is a WordPress multisite instance, meaning everyone on PIE is using the same copy of the WordPress application. Part of how we keep PIE up and running with such high availability is by limiting the possible sources of errors that it could generate; part of that is limiting how many themes we allow to run on and support in PIE, and if we let everyone have us install any theme they wanted for every site, we’d rapidly have a support nightmare on our hands (PIE currently hosts more than 6,000 sites on it, and if we allowed the use of custom/requested themes, you can bet we’d quickly be supporting nearly 6,000 themes on PIE if we allowed it). You can choose from either the default theme, the University of Illinois WordPress Theme (developed by a great group of volunteers within the Web Implementation Guideline Group who are always looking for input and folks interested in contributing to the theme!) or the latest Twenty-X Theme (the available theme—the X in Twenty-X—will change each year, as the latest Twenty-X Theme is available: currently it is the Twenty Twenty-One Theme). The Twenty-X theme series is developed by the great folks at wordpress.org.
However, if you find you really, really need a theme that isn’t available on PIE, we’ve still got a another great (and still free—woot!) WordPress hosting solution that you can use where you can install and use any theme you want — the cPanel service at web.illinois.edu. Beyond the flexibility to add and use whatever theme you want on the cPanel hosting solution, you do take on some additional responsibilities; unlike PIE (where the PIE team handles all this for you) on cPanel, you will be required to manage your own WordPress updates (including making site backups, just in case). But don’t worry—our team can help guide you through the process of setting up your site, including automating your backups and updates.
I would like to use a plugin that isn’t available on PIE. Will you add it for me?
Maybe. Open a ticket with our Technology Services Help Desk (http://help.illinois.edu) and let us know that you’d like us to consider adding your plugin. Be sure to provide us with enough details to track it down and vet it (the plugin name and a URL to it’s about/download page would be greatly appreciated). If we assess that the plugin is stable (no history of major problems), currently support, meets our usability and accessibility floors and would be generally useful to a significant portion of our PIE users, we will add it to PIE. Please note that commercial (not free) plugins for use on PIE necessitate the acquisition of a multisite/unlimited site license, which can be cost prohibitive (especially for those plugins licensed on an ongoing, annual basis). This isn’t to say we will never add a commercial (not free) plugin to PIE — just that it’s a bigger ask and less frequntly accommodated. However, if you really need that plugin, and we can’t accommodate you on PIE, we’ve still got a another great (and still free—woot!) WordPress hosting solution that you can use where you can install and use any plugin you want—the cPanel service at web.illinois.edu.