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If you've got a user need for a new plugin, there are a few things we need to do before installing it.

This guide is available as a Trello board to clone and use during the process.

1. Before scheduling the downtime

  1. Check the compatibility of the plugin with our current version of Wordpress.

    1. If it's not suitable, add it to the list of plugins we've checked out, and give a reason why it isn't suitable.
  2. Check whether we've already assessed the plugin.

  3. Define a test for the plugin to determine whether it works after installation, or whether it's just cruft (the middleground between working and breaking other things–only itself is broken).

2. Schedule the downtime

  1. Downtime should be scheduled for the university's at risk period, currently Tuesdays from 7am to 9am.
  2. Notify the blog maintainers about the downtime at least 1 week in advance.
    1. Subject: "Blogs downtime date"
    2. Tell them the start and expected end times.
    3. Give them a brief reason for the downtime; optionally give them an idea of functionality of the plugin we are installing if appropriate.
    4. Tell them you will notify them again by email once the work is done.

      Sample email

      Subject: Blogs downtime Tuesday 10 January

      Hello blog maintainers, 

      I hope you're all settling back in to work after the holidays.

      We are going to be testing a new blog plugin next Tuesday morning from about 7am until about 9am during the at-risk period.

      If the plugin works, you will see no disruption to operation; however if the plugin causes any issues we will revert the blogs platform to its state at the beginning of the testing. 

      Please do not add anything to any blogs during the testing period as it is possible any work will be lost.

      The plugin, if it can be installed on our platform, would give blog admins and editors the option to receive automatic email notifications when there is a post for them to review and publish, and the post contributor to receive an email when their post has been published.

      We will send out an email at the end of the test period to let you know when it is safe to resume working on your blogs.

      If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.



3. During the downtime

  1. Make a backup on WPEngine.
  2. Install your plugin.

4. Check and test the plugin

  1. Try to uninstall and reinstall the plugin. Is that possible?
  2. Check the homepage, make sure it looks OK.
  3. Check a few sites (e.g., to make sure they look ok.
  4. Log out, check all of those again.
  5. Try to log back in.
  6. Are you able to access all the normal drafting and admin functions:
    1. Drafting posts
    2. User management
    3. (You've already tested plugin management by uninstall and reinstalling the plugin.)
  7. Run your test of the plugin that you've defined; does it do what you want/expect?

If everything is working, go ahead and email the blog admins again to let them know the work is finished. Add the plugin to the list of plugins installed on WPEngine.


The plugin list is not currently up to date, this is something we will fix in the future.