WordPress as a Service

WordPress is an open-source publishing platform used to power millions of websites around the world.

Thanks in large part to the thousands of plugins, widgets, and themes contributed back to the software by the open source community, WordPress has evolved beyond its original roots as a blogging tool and is now used as the basis for a broader range of online publishing needs including content management.

There are essentially two ways to use WordPress here at UBC:

  1. Self-Managed WordPress
  2. WordPress as a Service (otherwise known as SaaS, software as a service)

What’s the difference between Self-Managed WordPress vs. WordPress as a Service?

Self-Managed Model:

WordPress is available for download through WordPress.org. Anyone is able to download and install the software on their own web servers, as well as activate themes and plugins of their choosing (i.e., whatever you can find on the open web). The Faculty of Medicine does not actively support self-managed WordPress installations; questions regarding self-managed WordPress can be sent to digitalcomms.med@ubc.ca.

Running a Self-Managed WordPress Model, you (your unit) are responsible for all aspects of software maintenance / upgrades, selection of Plugins, site configuration, and any modifications or customization work you have done on the Theme. WordPress is a relatively easy tool to set up and run, but long term maintenance will always require someone with technical knowledge to properly maintain a site.

If you do have dedicated web resources in place, however, you will be able to build on top of a very flexible and easy-to-use system, and tailor the site to meet your specific needs.

WordPress as a Service:

With WordPress as a Service, all of the software and server support is handled by the service provider – in the case of CMS at UBC, this is provided through a partnership between UBC IT, the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT), and UBC Communications and Marketing.

With WordPress as a Service, you would jump straight to building your website – no need to download software, nothing to install or configure, nothing to design or develop. Add-ons such as themes and plugins are provided automatically by the system and are tested and maintained by the service provider.

The Faculty of Medicine encourages and supports the WordPress CMS as a web publishing platform for all Faculty related sites.  The Dean’s Office Communication team supports all new site requests, as well as site maintenance queries and monthly training wordshops on WordPress and Writing for the Web. MedIT offers technical support for Faculty-related sites through their service desk.

With WordPress as a Service, all aspects of running a site — system maintenance and upgrades, evaluation of plugins, and site design and development, to name a few — is supported through the Dean’s Office Communication team, MedIT, CTLT, and Communications and Marketing. An added benefit of WordPress as a Service is that you will be a part of the continued evolution of content management at UBC, including integration with other existing centrally-provisioned web services (such as CWLUBC WikiUBCevents).

The WordPress as a Service offering means that new plugins, new updates made to the CLF, and new services added onto the baseline system will be incorporated automatically into the CMS offering. The same goes for system upgrades and backups. Best of all, this will be invisible to you as an end-user – you won’t need to worry about any of the traditional aspects of building and maintaining a site, leaving you free to concentrate on the most important part of the site: your content.

The Difference is in the Business Model

The core software is the same whether you opt for a Self-Managed or WordPress as a Service model. The choice is more about the business model in terms of what you need from your website (and hence what functionality you would like to add on top of the core system), and more importantly what you are prepared to support with dedicated budget and staff time.