This service is a multi-blog service intended to provide a large number of blogs with a basic level of service. This service is NOT like a standard, single user/single-blog instance of WordPress such as what you might get when you sign up for a blog from Wordpress.Com. There's some limitations involved in providing service using a multi-blog instance. The biggest limitation is around plugins and themes. Plugins must be installed on a global basis, by the central administrators of the server, the plugin or theme MUST be multi-blog compatible (not all are), AND we cannot allow any plugin to be installed that might either pose a security risk OR interfere with the proper functioning of the service. The guidelines for themes are very similar. In a multi-blog WordPress instance, individual blog administrators do not have the privileges to install or update themes. Themes must be installed by the central administrators, and again they MUST be multi-blog compatible and not pose any security risks (improper theme design is one of the major security issues around WordPress blogs). So in terms of theme development, we can't really allow it on our production server. We have provided a significant number of pre-built themes for folks to choose from, and we're looking at ways to enable blog administrators to make changes to a "child-copy" of any of THOSE themes.
If you are interested in creating a custom theme, or having a custom theme designed for you, other options outside of this service that are available to you MAY be more attractive to you in terms of capability, customizability and responsiveness.
Educational Media and Production (eMAP) at the U of S has a team of experienced WordPress designers who can provide you with custom design work. Themes designed by the eMAP New Media group are tested and guaranteed to work within the boundaries imposed by this service's multi-blog structure. Contact eMAP's New Media Group at
If you want to either design your own theme outside of this service, or have an external contractor design a theme for you then deploy it on this service, we will make our best effort to accomodate your needs. However, please be aware that you or your designer must work within the list of supported plugins (ie, do not design the functionality of your theme around using a specific plugin that is not on our list of supported plugins), and any theme developed MUST be tested for security and functionality on a multi-blog service.