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Retire Your WordPress on AFS Site

UIT is modernizing content management systems and moving to the cloud. As a result, WordPress on AFS will not be available for new sites as of May 1, 2021. WordPress on Stanford Domains is the recommended solution for individuals and groups interested in creating personal or collaborative sites using WordPress. For official department websites or those with more complex needs, Stanford Sites is the primary content management system. Additional information can be found on the WCMS WordPress Hosting project page.

If you no longer need your WordPress on AFS site and would like to delete it, you may be tempted to just remove the files from AFS. That frees up space from your AFS directory, but it does not delete the database that WordPress was using to store its content, nor does it clear the record from the installer (if you installed it using the WordPress installer).

The best way to delete your site is to submit a Help request.

In your request, mention the location of your site (your group or department name, and the subdirectory where you installed WordPress, e.g., /group/group-name/cgi-bin/blog). University IT will then delete the record from the installer, and free up the database. If you want to keep a backup of your WordPress site, make sure to copy it before you contact University IT to have it deleted, or ask University IT to provide you with a copy.

Make a final backup

To keep a backup of your WordPress site before you have it deleted, you need two things:

  • a copy of the WordPress files
  • a recent backup of the database

You can find both of these in AFS (the file system where they are stored). The WordPress files are in the directory where WordPress was originally installed. Databases are backed up daily in the early morning and stored in a special directory called db_private at the root of your group or department AFS space. 

For example, for a WordPress site installed for the department of History in a subdirectory called blog:

  • The files are found in /afs/ir/dept/history/cgi-bin/blog
  • The database backups are found in /afs/ir/dept/history/db_private/

Database backups are named after your group or department and include the word "wordpress" in them to distinguish them from other database backups. In case your department or group has more than one WordPress site installed, a number is appended to the filename as well (e.g., wordpress1, wordpress2, etc.)

The filename includes sql (the extension for database backups) and a number from 0 to 3. The latest backup uses the number 0. Finally, the backup is compressed and has an extension of .gz

So, the latest backup for the department of history's first WordPress site would be called d_history_wordpress1.sql.0.gz. The latest backup for third WordPress site for the tennis group would be called g_tennis_wordpress3.sql.0.gz

To make a backup of your WordPress site's files and database use either SFTP or OpenAFS to connect to your group or departments AFS space and download the files to a safe place.

If you have any trouble identifying which database backup to use, or can't find the location of the files, make sure to ask for a backup of the site when submitting your Help request.


For help, submit a Help ticket or visit the Stanford University WordPress Community of Practice.

Last modified July 23, 2021