Getting Started on WordPress

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By using WordPress on your own domain, you are already a part of the IndieWeb. Below are some suggestions to help you get started with upgrading your WordPress site to support IndieWeb philosophies.



These relatively short instructions are targeted at roughly the level of Generation 2 or Generation 3 indieWeb users. If you've got the ability to set up WordPress yourself (or find the documentation on line and muddle your way through), you should be able to follow the following documentation to add a lot of additional IndieWeb functionality to your site in a short amount of time. In fact, if you've got a self-hosted WordPress site already up and running, hopefully the addition and small amount configuration of some additional plugins will be even easier.


The instructions below roughly follow the step by step approach of IndieMark. Because IndieMark is particularly useful for developers building a personal site from the ground up and some bits of related functionality fall into different levels, some parts of the following details won't necessarily follow them religiously.

As most people on the internet are aware, these steps are by no means the only ways to do these things, but below are the most general and relatively standardized recommendations for beginners or even very advanced users who would like to get started very quickly. Additional documentation can be found within the other WordPress related pages as well as within IndieWeb examples throughout the wiki for those who would like to extend, improve, or further automate the functionalities described below.


For the sake of this document, we'll presume you've got a domain name already set up with hosting and have installed WordPress on it. There are a huge number of sites which can help with these portions if you need them. A good place to start if you do need help is Download WordPress from Most hosting companies provide detailed installation instructions if not one button installations as well.

Some of indieweb philosophy is about building/adding what is useful to you, so if you don't need or want pieces of functionality, please feel free to skip sections as necessary, though be aware some portions may be prerequisites. Users are also welcome to try other methods of attack, some of which are enumerated at Advanced WordPress Set Up, in other WordPress related pages, or spread throughout the wiki on topic pages. Naturally, everyone is welcome to try their hand at writing their own code and self-dogfooding their work. Most, if not all of the plugins mentioned, are open sourced and can be found on Github if one wants to contribute code or documentation, report bugs, or suggestions.

WordPress out of the Box

Because WordPress is such a robust and developed content management system with a long history on the internet, it provides many of the levels of IndieMark out of the box. These include:

  • Level 1
    • Simply installing WordPress on your own domain means you own your own personal domain and have a presence on the web
    • You have the ability to easily and immediately begin publishing your own posts
    • Permalinks are built into the system
    • As long as you checked the box during set up, robots are able to index your site
    • Content can be posted in HTML
    • Site-specific searchability is enabled
  • Level 2
    • UI for searching your posts
    • Multiple post types including: articles, notes, bookmarks, photos, videos, audio
    • Simple linear previous/next navigation between posts (possibly theme dependent)
  • Level 3
    • Search: show search results on your own site

Below, we'll discuss adding the additional pieces which weren't included out of the box.

As you complete steps, try plugging your site into It will give you instant feedback, confirming that it's working or helping you fix it if not.

Microformats and Themes

Some of the most basic functionality within the IndieWeb community is enabled by the use of microformats which are semantic classes added to HTML tags. While one doesn't need to know much, if anything, about microformats, suffice it to say that they're relatively important and they are handled primarily by one's WordPress theme. Because there are currently not many WordPress themes which properly implement microformats, we highly recommend starting out using either Sempress or Independent Publisher which do an excellent job of integrating microformats version 2.

IndieMark Level 1


Indieweb Plugin

The Indieweb Plugin is a plugin with an installer interface that includes a bundle of several useful related standalone plugins that can help you quickly get set up to be a more active member of the Indieweb. Some of these plugins are available in the WordPress repository separately and some are available via external sources like Github. Many of these plugins will be described below. Others may be described at WordPress/Plugins or on their own pages.


For various reasons, one of the first things one will want to set up are rel-me links on your WordPress site which indicate or point to your other identities on the web. Among other things, this will allow you to sign into this wiki with IndieAuth. You can then begin wikifying yourself and the rest of the site here.

The easiest way to add rel="me" support to your site is to install the Indieweb Plugin. This will add several common social media site fields to your "Edit User" page in the admin panel at http://YOURSITE.COM/wp-admin/profile.php. (Be sure to change this URL to include your particular domain.) Fill these in with the usernames for your identities on the various services you use (Telephone, Github username, Google+ userID (not username), Twitter username (without @), Facebook ID, username, Instagram username, Flickr username) and the plugin will create the proper (invisible) rel-me links in the header of your site. There is a field at the bottom of the "Edit User" page that one can list additional URLs for adding rel-me to as well. The rel-me and WordPress with Bridgy#Rel-me links pages can provide additional information if necessary.

If you view the source for your website afterwards, you'll see a number of links like <link rel="me" href="" /> in the header.

Now that your site has rel-me links pointing to your presences on several services, log into those services and include the URL of your site in the appropriate website fields of your profile so that they point back to your website in return. Having the ability to add rel-me links in your sites helps to indicate your ownership of them.

Some services like Twitter and Instagram, which only allow one URL in your profile, support putting a second URL into your bio field if you have second personal site. Examples: Kevin Marks and Chris Aldrich have indiewebified primary and secondary sites.

If your site has multiple Wordpress users, and you want to use it as an Indieweb site for one of the users, change the Indieweb identity settings in http://YOURSITE.COM/wp-admin/admin.php?page=iw_general_options.

You can now test your rel-me setup with: IndieWebify.Me Web Sign In validator

Nota bene: In late July 2016, IndieWebify.Me was having problems which may cause it to return incorrect results. If you think this may be the case, you can do an additional test described in "Authentication" below.


As an additional test you should now be able to use your domain name to log into this wiki using your domain name. You'll be redirected to an IndieAuth page which will present you with a list of supported providers for login.

You can then begin wikifying yourself and the rest of the site here.

IndieAuth Plugin

Included in the Indieweb Plugin or as a standalone plugin, you can now install and activate the IndieAuth Plugin. It will allow you to use your own domain name to log into WordPress' admin panel in the future instead of using your username/password or your credentials.

IndieMark Level 2


Next you'll want to add an h-card to your homepage. The quickest way to do this is to fill in all of the public facing personal details you'd like to present in your h-card at http://YOURSITE.COM/wp-admin/profile.php. Next, on your widgets configuration page (, place the "H-Card Widget" in an agreeable sidebar, footer, other location. Configure the few options of the widget if necessary.

Post Types

To quickly and easily support a broad array of post types (with the correct microformats) install the Post Kinds plugin (also bundled in the Indieweb plugin). The following post types are supported natively: article, reply, repost, like, favorite, bookmark, photo, listen, watch, wish, play, jam, read, and mood with others forthcoming in future development work. The plugin's admin interface is simple and intuitive and auto-scrapes data from sites for post types that use an input URL. It also employs oEmbed well in the post too.


"Post on your own site, syndicate elsewhere" is a cornerstone of the IndieWeb community. There are literally dozens of ways to implement it. The quickest and easiest of them is to enable WordPress's JetPack plugin and configure the Publicize module within it to syndicate your content quickly to the common silos like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. There's even a simple checkbox interface in the admin UI for choosing which silos you'd like to syndicate to. (Alternate POSSE plugins and methods can be found at WordPress/Plugins#POSSE Plugins.)

Syndication Links

A POSSE workflow is always nicer when one can provide links on one's site to the syndicated copies. The quickest way to do this is to install and activate Syndication Links which is also included in the IndieWeb plugin. This plugin provides a text box in the admin UI for posts which one can include the permalinks of the POSSE copies of one's original content. These permalinks are automatically properly wrapped in the appropriate microformats for other services to do original-post-discovery. Options in the plugin allow one to choose between text and either a color or black/white icon set for display. The plugin also has code for automatically importing/storing these permalinks based on other POSSE plugins including partial support for SNAP as well as Tumblr CrossPoster, WordPress CrossPoster, Diaposter (for Diaspora), and Social. Unfortunately, this doesn't extend to the JetPack suggestion above, so one will need to copy and paste the POSSE urls into Syndication Links manually. But then again, manual until it hurts is often worthwhile.

IndieMark Level 3


@Mentions, the ability for one webpage or post to let another know the first has linked to the second, were popularized by Twitter, but are also built into services like Facebook and Medium. Unfortunately these mentions only work within the specific site and do not inter-operate from site to site.

In IndieWeb, we use an open protocol called webmention, which is a W3C recommendation, to allow independently operated sites to interact with each other just the way @mentions do on Twitter and other services. For those familiar with pingbacks or trackbacks in WordPress, webmentions are very similar, but are more secure, robust, and, importantly, display much better.

To enable this functionality the Webmention Plugin allows you to both send and receive webmentions by adding support to WordPress. Mentions sent to your site will show up as comments to posts or pages on your site. This plugin is automatically installed when the IndieWeb Plugin is activated.


Naturally one wants a better way to tell the world when one updates one's site with a new post. This is best done with WebSub (fka PubSubHubbub) (PuSH) support for posts and it can be handled by installing and activating the PubSubHubbub plugin. No configuration is really necessary as it comes preconfigured with custom hubs Superfeedr at and Others could be added if desired.

IndieMark Level 4

Handling Responses

One would generally like to have one's site be able to handle responses from other sites. Toward this end, one wants to be able to receive webmentions and display comments on every post type you publish. The webmention plugin discussed above handles both the sending and receiving of webmentions, so that is already covered. To better display these received webmentions one wants to install and activate the following plugins:

  • Semantic Linkbacks - makes indieweb comments look better on your site, recognizing them as being likes, replies, etc. and displaying appropriately. This plugin is automatically installed and activated with the activation of the Indieweb Plugin (already done above).
  • Webmention for (Threaded) Comments - Adds support for threaded comments for webmentions. No configuration necessary.

Accept Backfeed

In addition to sending one's content to silos, ideally one would also like to accept comments, replies, likes, and other replies to these copies back on one's own site. This is known in the IndieWeb community as backfeed.

The easiest way to implement backfeed on WordPress is to support webmentions (enabled above) and have properly configured rel-me links (see above) and connecting one's site to Bridgy. Bridgy then handles crawling one's siloed copies, finding the original posts, and then sending webmentions so those posts to appear as comments. Detailed instructions for doing this are laid out separately at WordPress with Bridgy.

Next Steps

These basic steps will take one's site a long way towards supporting some of the most common and powerful IndieWeb technologies that currently exist.

Naturally, there are alternate ways of adding some of the functionalities described above using alternate methods or plugins. Some of these can be found on the Advanced_WordPress_Set_Up page, within WordPress/Plugins, on other related WordPress pages, or within other parts of the wiki. Further, many pages in the wiki include examples of functionality, UI/UX, and even brainstorming for ideas that continue to extend the value and power of the independent web. We invite you to explore and experiment to help create the internet you'd like to have for yourself.


Why does the comment on my site not show the author's information?
Why does the comment show a link to instead of the social network?
Please ensure that you have both the Webmention plugin and the Semantic Linkbacks plugin installed.
WordPress seems to be blocking Bridgy
The WordPress service in Bridgy is only meant for people using who can't install the indieweb plugins from (or GitHub) themselves on their own server. If you're using self-hosted code, then you just need to connect to your social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
Where can I find help or assistance with adding Indieweb technology to my WordPress installation?
Try the WordPress_Outreach_Club or ask your question in the IRC channel. If you think you've found a bug, feel free to file an issue in the github repository for the particular plugin you're having problems with.

Topics Getting Started on WordPressAdvanced WordPress Set UpPluginsThemesExamplesWordPress with BridgyDevelopmentDataSecurityWordPress related wiki pages
Plugins Indieweb PluginWebmentionSemantic LinkbacksPost KindsOpenIDMicropub
Themes SemPressSemPress Lite (SemPress Child Theme)SenPress (SemPress Child Theme)Index (Sempress Child Theme)Independent Publishermf2_s
Assistance WordPress Outreach ClubJoin the #indieweb chatIRC and other chat options

See Also

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