Welcome to the University Blog Service!

The University Blog Service provides sites for faculty (for non-course related purposes) and staff at The University of Texas at Austin. The service uses WordPress, a popular blogging platform. Blogs can be created for individuals, groups, projects, or departments.

Have a question? Read about the University Blog Service and find help and the Service Level Objectives (SLO). Alternatively, you can submit a Service Now ticket by emailing us at help@sites.utexas.edu.

Routine Database Maintenance

UBS stewards will perform routine database maintenance this evening between 5PM – 10PM which may impact service performance. Page load times may increase slightly while this task is being performed.

Customer Acceptance Testing Complete!

Dear Blog Owners,

We would like to thank everyone who participated in the acceptance testing in the new QUAL environment. We are on track and preparing for the April 3rd, 2017 maintenance window as originally planned.

As noted on March 1, 2017, UBS will be migrating its current server setup to a new version of the Linux operating system on April 3rd. We will be migrating all customer sites at the same time. What this means is we will be taking the service offline between 7AM and 12PM to ensure we’re capturing all site content and settings and to complete post-migration test cases.

Please feel free to continue testing your content at https://qual.sites.utexas.edu. Do note that any new issues relating to the migration discovered after this point will be noted and put into our work queue for deployment at a later date.

See further updates at https://sites.utexas.edu/. Got questions? Send them on over to help@sites.utexas.edu.

Changes to UBS Mail Relays

Tonight we will be updating how email is send from the UBS server. This is in response to upgrades that ITS Systems is performing with campus email appliances.

No service interruption is expected, however, if you should for any reason stop receiving any emails from the UBS server where you otherwise expect an email, please do contact the ITS Service Desk with a description of how this email is reproduced and the kind of email that you expect.

Thank you!

Customer UBS Acceptance Testing

UBS will be migrating its current server setup to a new version of the Linux operating system this April. Starting today, UBS customers are invited to visit their respective sites on qual.sites.utexas.edu and test for any defects.

Please note that this server is ONLY available to the campus network or VPN. 

Direct any questions you may have to help@sites.utexas.edu for further assistance.

UBS Quarterly OS Patches Tonight (FY17 Q2)

The University Blog Service will undergo a planned quarterly maintenance this evening. Updates to the operating system will be followed by a quick reboot.

Thank you for your patience!

Changes to Custom Domain Mapping

UBS Administrators will be replacing the current Domain Mapping plugin on 1/26/17. Information on the new plugin can be found here; premium.wpmudev.org/project/domain-mapping/.

This change is being made to ensure that UBS utilizes properly maintained plugins that are compatible with the most recent version of WordPress. In addition, this plugin promotes self-service by placing control of your sites custom domain configurations within your site dashboard.

For detailed instructions on setting up and managing a custom domain for your site, please read our Domain Mapping Guide.

WordPress 4.6.1 Incoming

The University Blog Service team will be updating its WordPress installation from 4.5.3 to 4.6.1 during the scheduled maintenance window on December 1st, 2016. The service will experience outages between 5PM and 10PM while the team performs all update operations.

This release is a maintenance and security update which includes the following changes

Editor Improvements in 4.6

Improved Auto Save Feature
WordPress 4.6 brings improvements to autosave feature in WordPress. Previously, when users disabled revisions, it also affected restoring posts from autosave feature.

WordPress 4.6 will fix this issue and users can restore WordPress posts from browser backups and autosave even when they have revisions disabled.

Highlighting Broken Links
If you are using the visual editor to write posts, then adding a broken URL will be highlighted.
As soon as you add a link, WordPress will check if the link is valid. If you take the cursor to the linked text, then you will see the link in red color instead of the usual blue.

New UT Branding Bar Plugin

The UBS stewardship team is happy to announce a new plugin called: UT Branding Bar. This plugin is optimized for sites using the UT Responsive Theme.

Activating this plugin will place the University Brand Bar bar across the top of your site.

The University Brand Bar provides visitors to UT websites with a quick identifier of the UT brand and a consistently implemented route back to the UT Austin homepage. – UT Brand Guidelines

Here is what it looks like –

UT Branding Bar Example

That’s GREAT – but can I hide the existing UT Branding logo built into the theme header?

YES! Simply add custom CSS code following  these steps:

  1. Go to Appearance > Customize
  2. Click the “CSS Styles” tab in the left-hand menu
  3. Paste this CSS code into the box “Custom CSS Styles”
#UTbranding {
    padding-top: 40px;
    -moz-box-shadow: 0px 1px 2px #707070;
    -webkit-box-shadow: 0px 1px 2px #707070;
    box-shadow: 0px 1px 2px #707070;
    background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #FFFFFF;
    height: 50px;
    width: 100%;
    display: none;

       4. Click Save & Publish

5. Now your site will look like this –

UT Branding Bar Plugin Example


If you activate this plugin and would like to remove the Black bar at the top of your site, do this:

  1. Go to Plugins
  2. Search for or find: MU Admin Bar
  3. Click Deactivate

We have added a Log In link in the footer of the UT Responsive Theme that will allow users to log in to their sites.

Please Note:

This plugin was developed for the UT Responsive Themes. It is recommend that site administrators use the UT Branding plugin with the UT Responsive theme. Your results may vary if using a different theme.

Archive in Progress

UBS stewards are in the process of archiving inactive sites.  A site is considered inactive when there have been no updates to it in over a year.

It is very important to us that UBS administrators be made aware of any actions or scheduled actions to their site.  In this effort, we have sent notifications to administrators with sites that are involved in the archive process.

If you are an administrator on many sites that have become inactive, you may have received a large number emails from the UBS service.

Phase Out of blogs.utexas.edu Domain for sites.utexas.edu

Hello Blog Owners!

In August 2014, the University Blogs Service transitioned away from blogs.utexas.edu to sites.utexas.edu as the service’s primary domain. Currently, this domain is being hosted on the UBS server alongside sites.utexas.edu where all visitors of blogs.utexas.edu are being redirected to sites.utexas.edu.

We are in the process of completing the final stage to this transition and do away completely with blogs.utexas.edu. This will occur in two steps;

First, anyone visiting a “blogs.utexas.edu” URL will no longer be redirected along to sites.utexas.edu but to a page advising of this change. The purpose of this is to give visitors the opportunity to update their applications that rely on the old domain to use sites.utexas.edu instead.

The final step will be to instruct UTNIC to remove the DNS entry for blogs.utexas.edu after which point the domain will be retired and visitors will no longer reach the service.

These changes will occur first on June 30th, 2016 after 5:00 PM. The final “remove” step will occur on August 19th, 2016 by the day on September 15th, 2016.

Be sure to review any bookmarks, podcatchers, RSS feed readers, or any application that relies in some way on blogs.utexas.edu will no longer work. Your websites and content will still exist but will require that it be accessed with sites.utexas.edu.

We certainly do appreciate your patience and understanding during these changes.

Be sure to send your blogs related questions to help@sites.utexas.edu


The University Blogs Team


EDIT: Updated “remove” date to September 15th, 2016.