Last weekend at our local WordPress Meetup some members suggested we share the plugins we use. Plugins can be very personal depending on the type of site you’re developing however I thought others would be interested in the plugins we use on Edublogs and our CampusPress networks.
So here it goes!
Here’s a summary of the plugins we provide for our users on Edublogs and our CampusPress networks as well as insight into the process we use when looking for new plugins.
About Edublogs | CampusPress
Here’s a bit of background on Edublogs and CampusPress to help provide insight into our plugin usage.
Edublogs is the largest education blogging platform on the web and hosts over 3 million blogs since 2005. CampusPress is our white-labelled WordPress for Education solution for Schools, School Districts and Universities that want us to host the service on their own domain. We host hundreds of WordPress Multisite networks customized specifically for education on CampusPress.
Edublogs and WordPress.com are both hosted solutions but have been customized specifically to meet the needs of their users. WordPress.com includes the more popular plugin functionality within their sites automatically. Users don’t see a plugin menu item and can’t activate plugins.
We use a different approach to plugins on Edublogs. Plugins that provide key functionality are automatically activated on all sites. Examples of these types of plugins are the Classes plugin (powers My Class) and Reader plugin (powers the Reader). Classes and Reader plugins were developed specifically for Edublogs by our developers and you’ll only find them on Edublogs and CampusPress networks.
We also provide plugins that our users can activate in Plugins > All menu in the dashboard of their sites. We don’t automatically activate these plugins because not all users want access to all plugins. There is no need to add extra menu items, features or functionality by activating a plugin if it isn’t needed.
Plugin Review Process
Edublogs and CampusPress is powered by a customized version of WordPress multisite. Plugins are often designed to work on a single installs of self hosted WordPress and may not work or can cause problems on WordPress Multisite.
All plugins we install are thoroughly tested to ensure they won’t cause issues such as compatibility problems with other plugins and themes or impact server performance.
Plugin selection process is based on:
- Can the functionality be achieved without installing a plugin? For example, our users can use embed code in posts, pages and text widgets or the URL. Sometimes plugin functionality they request can be achieved using embed code.
- Does the plugin provide a feature or functionality that many of our users would want?
- Does the plugin have potential to cause compatibility problems with other plugins and themes or impact server performance?
- Is the plugin user friendly? The less user friendly the more likely the plugin won’t be used.
New plugins are chosen based on requests for specific plugins or functionality from our users; or functionality we know our users would like. Where possible we try to provide a plugin that provides the functionality our users want rather than provide several plugins that have similar functionality.
For example, we’re currently looking at adding a Slider plugin as it is a common request. We start by looking at the specific plugins users have requested and compare them to review articles to see what others have said about the plugin.
Our testing process once we’re identified suitable plugins is:
- Test on a single install of WordPress (to confirm the plugin is user friendly).
- Test on Edublogs (Super admin user activated only as sometimes we need to make additional customizations for our server set up or to make it more user friendly).
- Change to Edublogs Pro so users can use.
- Upload to CampusPress networks once tested on Edublogs.
Below is a summary of the plugins users can activate in Plugins > All on Edublogs and CampusPress networks. Occasionally we change the plugin name to make it more meaningful for our users so where possible I’ve linked their plugin name to where you can download the original plugin.
The Plugin Help is linked to support documents in our Edublogs User Guide.
You may also find out Edublogs User Guide documentation helpful. Most of it is applicable to any WordPress powered blog. We try to provide very detailed instructions with screenshots since our users range from very young students across all educational sectors.
|Plugin||Used For||Edublogs Help link|
|3D Rotating Cloud||Adds the Wp-Culumus widget to Appearance > Widget which you use to add a beautiful rotating and animated representation of all your tags and categories to your blog sidebar.||Plugin Help|
|AddThis Social Share||Adds Social Share button to every post and page, so readers can easily share your content on their social networks. You can also add the Social Share widget to your blog sidebar.||Plugin Help|
|Calendar||Calendar allows you to display a calendar of all your events and appointments as a page on your site, and gives you the ability to add them to your sidebars too.|
|Calendar+||Create, manage, and share your calendar and upcoming events.||Plugin Help|
*Modified to check a banned word list to make safer search.
|Easy tool to quickly find, add Creative Commons images to your posts with attribution. Once activated it adds a Compfight icon to your visual editor which you use to search and insert images using Compfight.||Plugin Help|
|Contact Form||Designed to add a straightforward contact form to your blog which allows visitors to your blog to send you an email.||Plugin Help|
|Custom CSS||Enables you to modify the theme’s fonts, colors, border and backgrounds by adding custom stylesheets to your blog.||Plugin Help|
|Dogo Content widget||Designed to easily add DOGO widgets to your blog’s sidebar where you can display engaging content from one or more DOGO websites.||Plugin Help|
|Divi Builder||Replaces the standard WordPress post editor with a drag and drop WordPress page builder that allows you to build beautiful designs and more diverse layouts quickly.||Plugin Help|
|Duplicate Post||Quick way to duplicate a post, or page, including the title, contents, tags and categories so you can re-use an existing post easily with minimal effort.||Plugin Help|
|Easy Tables||Quick and easy tool designed to help you add tables to your posts and pages.||Plugin Help|
|Edit Flow||Edit flow allows you to collaborate within a team on a group blog.|
|Embed Any Document||Enables you to embed any document into a post or page.||Plugin Help|
|Fancier Author Box||Used to add detailed author biography with links to your social media networks to your posts, pages and custom post types.||Plugin Help|
|Feedburner FeedSmith||Allows you to redirect all your original Edublogs or CampusPress feed to your FeedBurner Feed.||Plugin Help|
|Footnotes||Provides an elegant and easy to add footnotes to posts and pages.||Plugin Help|
|Formidable Forms||Allows you to create a wide range of different types of forms.||Plugin Help|
|Forums||Adds forums to your blog.||Plugin Help|
|Google Maps||Allows you to easily embed, customize, and use Google maps on your blog. You can also display local images and let your site visitors get directions in seconds.||Plugin Help|
|Image Widget||Makes it easy to add images and badges to your sidebar.||Plugin Help|
|JetPack||Jetpack is a single plugin that provides a suite of different features including post by email, ability to control which pages widgets are shown on, slideshows, extra image gallery option, auto post to your social media accounts, social share options and more.||Plugin Help|
|JSON Feed||Provides feeds in JSON form.|
|LaTex Maths Symbols||Allows you to use LaTeX code in posts and comments. LaTex is good for formatting mathematical formulas and equations.||Plugin Help|
|Lightbox for images||Adds an overlay that goes over the site and shows the larger version of the image when a reader clicks on the image so that readers can view without navigating away from the page.||Plugin Help|
|Live Shortcodes||Lets you quickly and easily add cool things to posts and pages such as accordions, toggles, tabs with minimal effort by configuring and inserting shortcode.||Plugin Help|
|Live Stream||Displays latest posts and comments in a continuously updating and slick looking widget.|
|Media Tree||Allows you to easily group files into categories and display them in “tree” view in a post or page using shortcode.||Plugin Help|
|PayPal Donations||Designed to easily add a PayPal donate button to your blog’s sidebar.||Plugin Help|
|Podcast||Allows you to embed video and audio files inside an embedded player so your visitors can view them directly in their web browser. Enhances WordPress’ existing podcast support by adding multiple iTunes-compatible feeds, media players, and an easy to use interface||Plugin Help|
|Polldaddy Polls & Ratings||Create and manage Polldaddy polls and ratings inside your blog.|
|Post Types Order||Allows you to change the order of any posts or custom post types.||Plugin Help|
|Print Friendly and PDF||Optimize your posts and pages for printing and lets your readers download or email a PDF version of your posts or pages.||Plugin Help|
|Review Notifications||Notifies administrator of posts pending for review by email.||Plugin Help|
|RSS Images||Enables featured images in rss feed automatically.|
|RSS Just Better||Allows you to display RSS feeds in your posts or via RSS Just Better widget.||Plugin Help|
|Scheduled Content||Allows you to make certain post or page content available only at scheduled periods.||Plugin Help|
|Simply Snow||Creates a snowing effect on your site.|
|Submission form creator||Allows you to create and add almost any type of submission form to a post of page.|
*modified to only load selected fonts with more options in Settings > Writing
|Adds Google webfonts into a nice dropdown list in your visual editor which you can use to change your font type and/or font size.||Plugin Help|
|SyntaxHighlighter Evolved||Easily post syntax-highlighted code to your site without having to modify the code at all.|
|Table of Contents||Designed to help you add tables of contents to posts, pages and sidebars.||Plugin Help|
|User Widget and profiles||Displays blog participant info – number of posts and comments, and links to profile page.|
|Visual Editor Widget||Adds a new ‘Visual Editor’ widget based on the native WordPress TinyMCE editor.||Plugin Help|
|Wiki||Adds a wiki to your blog.||Plugin Help|
|WP Accessibility||Provides options to improve accessibility in your blogs, including removing title attributes.|
|WP-CORS||Allows you to control which external domains may make.|
|Zotpress||Adds Zotero and scholarly blogging to your blog.|
Hope this information helped!
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or wanted to know more.