CMS Support

One-off questions

Some not-so-frequently asked questions which deserve some explanation in case other intrepid voyagers stumble into the same issues.

Server and or Software Maintenance

Sometimes we get asked who runs the service and when it is updated/maintained. Here’s our answers to those questions.

Do I need to make any updates?

Only to your content whenever you see fit. We update the server infrastructure, integrate with CWL, update WordPress itself, and the plugins and themes we provide.

Who runs the CMS service?

The LT Team at the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. Some sites on CMS also wonderfully supported by the folks at the LT Hub, as well as several Faculty and Unit Support teams across the university.

What version of WordPress is CMS running?

We keep CMS up-to-date. With major feature releases we will usually update CMS within 72 hours (just enough time for the dust to settle in the WP ecosystem to see if there are any larger issues that our own testing didn’t find) and for security releases we’re up-to-date within minutes of their release. As an administrator of a site on CMS you can see the current version UBC CMS is running by looking in the bottom right hand corner of your dashboard and then compare that to the release archive on the release archive page.

We also publish a blog post whenever we update WordPress core on our news feed.

Where is CMS hosted?

We use UBC IT’s EduCloud to host the service and are thankful for their support over the last 15 years+ of CMS running on their infrastructure. EduCloud is physically within the province of British Columbia and meets all BC FIPPA regulations.

How are backups handled? Do I need to make them?

The entirety of CMS is backed up every night, off site, and is available for us to access for up to 6 months. You do not need to make backups of your site’s content, however, we encourage you to regularly use the Tools > Export functionality to keep a copy should you ever need it.


Who owns sites? Their content? The service?

Who is the Service Owner for UBC CMS?

Tammy Yasrobi, Associate Director, Teaching and Learning Technologies at the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology.

Who owns my site?

Whilst we own and maintain the CMS service, we’re very clear that individual sites are owned by the faculty or department who request them. They are your sites, and we treat them with the care that entails.

Who owns the content on my site?

This is a trickier question to answer. There are theme options (Appearance > Theme Options > Display Options > License) for how you wish to qualify the ownership of your content. The default is © Copyright The University of British Columbia, however you have a choice of several licenses (or none at all). It also depends on who writes the content and under what capacity they have written it. There are different rules for Staff and Faculty compared to Students, for example. We refer you to the University Counsel’s office.

Have some other questions?

You have a couple options. Below here you’ll find several more FAQs and support documents. And if those don’t help, then you can submit a support request.

About CMS itself

Sometimes we get asked questions about how CMS itself works. How meta.

How long has CMS been going?

The platform itself began life in late 2008, and the first live site on CMS was in 2009.

How big is CMS?

CMS accounts for somewhere between 85-90% of the public facing web at UBC. It covers most faculty and department websites. As of early 2023 we have over 4,400 websites.

How much does it cost me to host my website on CMS?

If you are a member of faculty or staff, or a student of UBC, then the cost to you is the time it takes you to make the content of your site. There are no monetary costs to you.

General WordPress advice

CMS is a WordPress-based platform. So in order to get the best out of it, you need to learn how to effectively use WordPress.

Where can I learn how to customize my site?

The most common way to customize your site is using Custom CSS and Custom JavaScript. There are several places where you can input custom CSS or JS (Appearance > Custom CSS and Appearance > Global JavaScript being 2) but in order to do that you need to know how to code CSS and JS! The best place to start, in our opinion, is a course that is free to all staff and faculty at UBC on LinkedInLearning called HTML Essential Training by Jen Simmons. After that, go for the CSS Essential Training by Christina Truong. And finally, for JavaScript, try JavaScript Essential Training by Morten Rand-Hendriksen.

Can I collect Personal Information (PI) or Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on my site?

No, you may not collect PI or PII on websites on CMS. Doing so is against the UBC CMS Terms of Service, and against UBC Policy. If you need to collect PII then UBC IT recommends the use of Qualtrics.

How do I set up redirection on UBC CMS?

There are currently 2 ways on UBC CMS to set up redirections.

If you are looking to redirect traffic from a particular post or page to a different destination. We have a plugin called ‘Page Links To’ and you can activate it at Dashboard -> Plugins. The plugin adds a meta box in the post-editing screen which allows you to specify the designated URL where the traffic will be redirected to.

If you are looking for a more generic redirection solution, we also have a ‘Safe Redirect Manager’ plugin available which is not only capable of setting up redirection for posts, but also for specific URLs, or URL patterns.