While power users prefer the dot org version of WordPress (or better known as the self-hosted version) because it gives users complete control over every aspect of the blog, this version doesn’t have some of the features that the dot-com users enjoy.
To narrow the gap between these two versions, the folks at WordPress released Jetpack, a set of cool tools that previously available only for the dot-com version.
Setting Up Jetpack
In a sense, Jetpack is a WordPress plugin consisting of several features. Even though you could find individual plugins that matches some of Jetpack’s features, using one plugin – instead of many – will result in a lighter load on the blog server. In the self-hosted blogging world, lighter also means faster.
- To add Jetpack to your self-hosted blog, download the compressed file from the website, upload it to your blog’s plugin folder and activate it.
- Alternatively, you can add the plugin directly from your blog’s plugin menu. Search for “Jetpack”, then install and activate it.
- Jetpack requires WordPress version 3.0.5 or later, so if your installation is below 3.0.5, you’ll get the following error message.
- Resolving this error is easy. All you have to do is upgrade your WordPress installation to the latest version. Don’t forget to also back up your data before upgrading.
- After Jetpack is properly installed, it will ask you to connect to your WordPress.com account to enable the functions. But since Jetpack requires a secure connection to WordPress.com, some self-hosted WordPress users might get the “glitch” message telling them that the connection failed.
- The cause of this error is in the server setting. Due to security concerns, some hosting companies set their systems to block any automatic attempts to contact external locations. The easiest way to solve this problem is by adding WordPress.com to the whitelist. If you have no idea how to do it, you should contact your hosting company for help.
- If everything went well, you will be able to authorize Jetpack with your WordPress.com account.
- You are then ready to go.
Inside The Package
There are currently eight WordPress.com features inside Jetpack that you can use right away in your self-hosted WordPress. Some of them require further configuration while others are immediately ready to use. You will also notice that there are empty “Coming soon” boxes at the bottom indicating more features will be forthcoming in the future.
Here are some of the features that I find useful for my blogs:
This feature adds a widget that will display tweets from a Twitter account. You can configure it by going to the “Widgets” menu under the “Appearance” sidebar.
Drag the widget to the widget area, fill in the necessary information, and click “Save“.
This feature will add the ability to shorten the URL of your posts/pages so that you can share them easily via social media. You can find the “Get Shortlink” button under the title of your posts/pages.
Click the button and you will get the wp.me shortlink.
After The Deadline
This tool will help you proofread your post so that you can ensure the language quality of your blog. The configuration is located inside the “Your Profile” menu under the “Users” sidebar.
You can set the tool to automatically proofread the content of your post/blog every time you publish and/or update a post or page.
You can also deactivate features you don’t need. Go to the Jetpack menu and click the “Learn More” button inside the feature box. The “Deactivate” button will appear and you can click it.
Jetpack is a great way to supercharge your self-hosted WordPress blog, and even though I won’t use all the features, I found some of them to be very useful.
What about you? Will you use Jetpack? Which features did you find useful? Share your opinions using the comments below.