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WordPress Help Guide


Welcome to the Wordpress Help Guide for Mount Holyoke College

If you can't find your answers here, please get in touch with the team at We respond to questions weekdays, 9 AM - 5 PM. It may take us up to one business day to respond to your request. We regret that we are unable to answer questions from those who are not affiliated with the Five Colleges.

The Educational Technology team holds regular drop-in hours and occasional workshops for MHC instructors seeking support for teaching with WordPress, Kaltura, Moodle or other instructional technology tools; our current calendar is below. Faculty may also schedule a one-on-one appointment:

Getting Started with Commons/WordPress

Mount Holyoke College maintains a WordPress instance at Click the "Login to Commons" link on the front page to sign in to your account, using your MHC credentials.

You will need to create your own Commons site (see below) or be part of a site for a course or other project to begin using WordPress. Currently, all account holders are able to sign into the Commons, contribute to existing WordPress sites hosted there, or create their own.

Faculty interested in incorporating student WordPress projects into their classes are welcome to collaborate with the EdTech team on the development and execution of said projects! Check out the WordPress for Courses page.

Please review the College's Content Policy before working on a Commons site.

Make A New Commons Site

  • Log in to the Commons.
  • Visit this link: New Commons Site Form
    • (Alternatively, from your Dashboard, you can click on "My Sites," located in the top left header area of your screen. On the My Sites page, click “Create a New Site" button.)
  • On the form, you will see a list of any Commons sites you already belong to.
  • Enter a site name and create a custom URL for your site. Note: you cannot change this later. Please choose carefully!
  • Enter a site title for your site. You may change the site title at any time.
  • Select a privacy option. We recommend "visible only to registered users" as a general option. More information on privacy options is below. You may change the site privacy option at any time.
  • Click "Create Site."

Site Privacy

WordPress privacy options, described below

Privacy settings in WordPress can be found in the Dashboard, under Settings > Reading.

Wordpress allows you to choose between five privacy settings, as seen in the image above.

The first two options make your site available to the general public.

  • "Allow search engines to index this site" is the option to use if you'd like your site to show up in search engine rankings. The WordPress support team is not able to provide further search engine optimization for sites on Commons at this time.
  • "Discourage search engines from indexing this site" will leave your site publicly accessible but instruct search engines to ignore it. (Note that not all search engines honor this request.) Many Commons users who want a site to be public use this setting. 

The remaining three settings limit visibility to members of the MHC and Five Colleges community by requiring viewers to log in to commons before viewing.

  • "Visible only to registered users of this network" will let anyone with a Five College login view your site.
  • "Visible only to registered users of this site" will restrict visibility to only individuals you specifically add as site users. This setting is commonly used when building and adding content to a site, before making it more public.
  • The "Visible only to administrators of this site" setting is the most restrictive of all, and you will need to specify Administrators for your site, so that they can see it. 

Next Steps

Now that you've created your site, it's time to get started adding content! You will see your site Dashboard. More information about your Dashboard can be found here on | Dashboard Screen.

The links below will take you to areas of this guide that you will find helpful as you begin.

Pages and Posts

Appearance and Navigation

Adding Users

Changing your Public Name

  1. Hover over “Howdy, [Your User Name]” in the upper right corner.
  2. Click “Edit My Profile”
  3. On the profile page, enter the information you’d like to display in the First Name and Last Name fields. If there is already information listed there, make any adjustments you need to.
  4. Find the “Display Name Publicly As” setting. From the dropdown list, select the version of your name you would like to have displayed on all your posts.
  5. Click “Update Profile” when you’re finished.
MHC Accessibility Barriers Form