Jetpack combines multiple goodies for your WordPress site all in one plugin and it’s developed by the team behind WordPress itself, Automattic. There’s so many reasons to get this plugin, and most people will want Jetpack for a couple features (I wanted stats and improved comments).
The question becomes what modules should you enable and disable in this huge Jetpack salmagundi? I’ve included notes on the Jetpack modules I’ve enabled / disabled and why I’ve done so.
Jetpack Modules that I’ve Installed
WordPress.com Stats & Notifications
WordPress.com Stats is a great feature especially if you don’t want to go through setting up Google Analytics. The Notifications module sits in your menu bar when you are logged into your site and tells you about recent comments and WordPress.com likes on your content. One note about the Stats module: you’ll get a smiley face appearing in your footer after you activate it. Click the configure button for WordPress Stats to uncheck that option in order to get rid of it.
Jetpack Comments (& Subscriptions)
I was using LiveFyre, but a couple issues I had with their service (most troubling was not having a simple way to disallow comments on static pages) made me adopt Jetpack Comments instead. The attraction for switching to Jetpack comments is to allow people to leave a comment and not require them to fill out name/email fields if they’re already logged in to WordPress.com, Twitter or Facebook. Jetpack still requires the user, if they are logged into Twitter for example, to authorize the WordPress.com app to use their credentials. That’s because the comment form is actually an iframe that goes through jetpack.wordpress.com in order to verify the identity of the person posting the comment. The Subscriptions module allows visitors to subscribe to your comments on a post (as well as all of your posts on your blog). My main goal is to increase interactivity on my blog, so the jury is still out on how well Jetpack Comments accomplishes this goal.
One problem I had was that the new Jetpack style comments were not showing on my blog. It turns out that my theme was formatting comments in its comments.php file. I had to simplify the comments.php file to only show comment_form(), as described here: ithemes codex – Jetpack Comments.
The Jetpack contact form is a breath of fresh air. The Fast Secure Contact Form plugin I used in the past was overly complicated in comparison.
This gives you some useful shortcodes to embed content from the likes of Slideshare, Scribd and video services like Blip.tv and MetaCafe. It also includes a very useful “googlemaps” embed code to display maps in your WordPress posts. Some people may wonder why they would ever use the included YouTube embed code when they can just paste any YouTube URL on an empty line in a WordPress post and have it converted to a video already? The shortcode actually gives you even more options on how your embedded media gets displayed:
Displays sharing icons below your posts. You need to configure this in the module before the sharing buttons will show, and you can click and drag in whichever social networks you want to display:
Enhanced distribution allows your blog’s public content to be included in the WordPress.com firehose. The firehose is a stream of public data (public posts, comments, etc.) that flows through WordPress.com as well as other Jetpack blogs that participate in Enhanced Distribution. The firehose is used by companies and people who are interested in public blog content. When these firehose users display content from your blog, they are required to link back to your blog. These are not scrapers, but people on the internet looking to discover new and interesting sites.
Jetpack Modules that I’ve Disabled
This is WordPress.com’s own CDN. I already use MaxCDN, plus users have had issues with the Photon CDN slowing down their site when the CDN is slow or unreachable. It’s the first module I’d disable if you’re having problems with Jetpack.
The Jetpack lightbox plugin only works with gallery images. Since I rarely use galleries and need lightboxes for single images, I’m sticking with Simple Lightbox.
Math / Latex
I’m not sure why this is enabled by default. The universities of the world (specifically math departments) surely appreciate it, but I doubt that the average WordPress user needs to format math equations.
This module allows you to share your posts automatically to social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo! and Tumblr. This offers good basic functionality, but I don’t like how it’s an an all or nothing solution (you can’t fine tune what gets posted and to what social networks. For example, it would be useful to autopost anything in your Recipes category to Pinterest, while autoposting anything in your Events category to Facebook). If you want to do more sophisticated auto-posting like
- Only publish certain categories to social sites instead of every post.
- Include multiple Facebook / LinkedIn etc. accounts and randomize by percentage which one gets posted to.
- Autopost to more social networks like Google+, WordPress.com and any WordPress blog.
then you need to check out socialbacklinker.com.
How to Deal with Jetpack Plugin Problems
Try installing the Jetpack Compatibility Plugin to run a diagnostic check:
- Download the plugin from http://plugins.svn.wordpress.org/jetpack/branches/jetpack-compatibility-test/
- Upload the plugin to your site via Dashboard -> Plugins -> Add New.
- Activate the plugin and go to Plugins -> Jetpack Compatibility Test.
- Click the “Select All” button.
- Send the Jetpack team the test results via their contact form.
Keeping Jetpack modules “Under Control”
The Jetpack plugin does something sneaky: it auto-activates new Jetpack modules. Instead of allowing you to opt in to new modules, Jetpack activates them without your permission. These modules can change how your site works and looks.
The Manual Control plugin stops the auto-activation of new Jetpack modules: