You’ve probably heard a lot about the freedom that comes along with self-hosting your own WordPress site. You have the freedom to install any theme you like. You have the freedom to install any plugin you might need. You have the freedom to do anything you want with your website. Meanwhile, WordPress.com users are stuck with a limited number of themes and no plugins.
But that’s only part of the story. What you may not realize is that WordPress.com users have access to a bunch of standard features that aren’t part of the WordPress.org software that you installed when you setup your site. Features like email notification on new posts and comments, sharing buttons for social sites like Twitter and Facebook, and some very nice site statistics that integrate neatly with the WordPress dashboard.
The good news is, there’s an easy way for self-hosted WordPress users to gain access to all of these amazing features. A plugin called Jetpack brings the best of the WordPress.com features to self-hosted WordPress sites. This video introduces you to Jetpack and shows you how to get up and running quickly.
18 thoughts on “Supercharge Your WordPress Site with Jetpack”
I am new to wordpress and have enjoyed watching some of your video tutorials.
How do I know which version of wordpress I currently have?
Is the best way to upgrade via the ‘5 minute installation’…..and in your opinion….what are the top 10 plugins every wp user should install?
You should be able to see the version number of your WordPress installation in the admin dashboard. It’ll be in the Right Now box, below the section that tells you how many posts and pages you’ve created.
Unless you’re using WordPress.com. In which case, you won’t have a version number. WordPress.com is constantly updated, so you always have the most current version.
The best way to upgrade is through the automatic upgrade process that’s built into WP. Just follow the link on your dashboard.
As for top 10 plugins, well, that’s a good question. The answer really depends on what type of site you’re running. Plugins that I recommend for all types of sites include JetPack, Akismet, and Yoast SEO.
Once you get past the list of all-purpose plugins, the value of each plugin becomes situational.
I have almost watched all your videos and they are brilliant, can you explain what a self hosted website means please.
Whenever I refer to a “self hosted” website, I mean WordPress.org. Basically anything other than WordPress.com.
I have multiple sites. Would I need to create a WordPress.com account for each site that I want to sign up with Vaultpress?
Your tutorials and screencasts are excellent. I will be joining.
You can run JetPack on multiple sites with a single WordPress.com account. But you’ll need to go through the authorization process on each site.
The same is true of VaultPress. But that service charges a per-site backup fee.
Hi! Awesome tutorials.
I see that one of the features of Jetpack is “Shortcode Embeds.” But I don’t need Jetpack to embed videos (from YouTube and Vimeo) onto my website — right?
I haven’t tried yet — I’m waiting for my domain name to be authorized — so I’m watching all your tutorials while I wait. My website will feature a good number of videos.
You’re correct. JetPack isn’t needed for embedding YouTube or Vimeo videos. In fact, you don’t even need to use the embed codes from those sites. You can embed by simply pasting the URL on its own line in the post editor.
More info in this video: https://wpapprentice.com/essentials/working-with-media/add-video-to-posts/
I watched your excellent tutorial on Jetpack. I was able to add all the social links I wanted except the button “Like.” I have version 3.5.1 wordpress.com. When I hovered my mouse over the facebook icon, I don’t get the option of “Like.”
Hi Tonia, I just took a look a look at the latest version of Jetpack and it appears that the FB like icon is no longer available. Instead, you get a generic FB icon. That should have the same impact (user clicks to like the post). But if you’re looking for an regular like icon you may need to try another Facebook plugin.
Wow, this is an eye opener on the issue of functionality and really the best of both worlds. Understanding Jetpack will definitely take my blog to the next level in term of options…..
I just noticed the custom css feature of jetpack. Is this something you’ve tried out yet? If so, does it render the need for using child themes and/or saving a copy of your styles.css file, unnecessary? Jus curious. Thanks.
I haven’t tried that feature yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s intended to give you more control over the display of Jetpack specific features. So, for example, you’d be able to use custom CSS to position social sharing buttons.
That won’t change the need for creating a child theme or backing up your main style.css file.
Kirk, I opened up Jetpack and used the Insert Contact page on a page. It now fills out the form with my contact information instead of being blank, Can you tell me where it is drawing the information from and how to correct it. The page loads with the Fields , Name , email , website all filled out with my information.
Terry, JetPack is displaying your username and email address because you’re logged into WordPress. Try logging out of WordPress and view the page again. The name and email address should be blank.
Now I understand what Jetpack is all about. There’s been a nagging little message at the top of my admin page telling me it’s almost ready for months, but I never knew what to do about it. Thank you, Kirk.
One question: can these Jetpack features be added to a custom designed, not theme-based site such as ours (www.mygoforthegreen.com)? I suspect the answer is yes … but only if you can do some CSS editing! Still, I remain hopeful it might be easier.
The answer is yes, no, and maybe. Jetpack is a mega plugin with a bunch of functionality — new features are being added all the time. You can enable Jetpack with any theme and many of the features will work out of the box.
Features like WordPress analytics and email subscriptions to comments will work regardless of your theme. Other features depend on how your theme is coded. For example, the social sharing buttons should work, assuming your theme author used standard coding techniques.
And finally, some features definitely won’t work if your theme doesn’t offer support for widgets — I think we’ve established that your theme does not.
You’ll need to do some experimentation with your site to figure out what you can use.
Hi Kirk, and, yes, you remember correctly about widgets not being coded for our site’s custom theme, but it’s great news that some of the other features will work or at least, should. When I connected Jetpack and checked its updated list of features, there were even more than there had been at the time of your course, so you’re right: they do keep adding them. It will take some time just to discover all that are available. It is an amazing plugin!
I will do some experimenting. It will be fun to see which works and what each feature does! Thanks again for a great course and another chunk of new and worthwhile WordPress knowledge!
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