How We Converted an Entire State to

by  Rosie  &  Nathan

from Hawaii Information Consortium

How We Converted an Entire State to



A look at how Hawaii State Government has been using WordPress to launch

  • Cloud-based

  • Open-source

  • Mobile first 

over  450 websites

since 2013.

    Bringing Government to   the People Since 2000!

Rosie Warfield

Manager of eGovernment Services & Customer Services (and CMS!)


Leader of all things WordPress (on the business side)


9+ years

Nathan Hutchinson

Web Coding & CMS Specialist


Leader of all things WordPress (on the tech side)


3+ years

Rika & Jenly (say hi if you see them!)

The State of Hawaii

bit of

As of 2015,

  • We have over 80 WordPress installs,

  • Hosting almost 450 sites,

  • And all state agencies are now using WordPress.

And this is where our story begins...


In 2012, we responded to a proposal by our 1st CIO to build a common state template for all agency sites. We had < 6 months to build and implement EVERYTHING!!


As of Jan 1, 2013:  28 sites were launched.

So what is this state template?

Establish a consistent look & feel for all government sites.



  • 1 template
  • 3 page layout
  • 3 themes

See more at :

  • Home page layout
  • Sidebar page layout
  • Full-width layout









Fully Featured

ADA Friendly



Styleguide + State Authority = Success!

Building the

State Template

v 1.0

v1.0 = Fast!

  • Paid theme due to time constraints

  • Layout modifications for a 12 col grid

  • Broke ability to update the parent theme


  • Infinite WP

  • NCloner 


3 devs in the same code?

NO problem!

Need to roll back an update? 

NO problem!

Need to fork the repository?

(kind of a problem)

HIC Repo


Instant test environments are a developers best friend.



Now that we've caught our's time to go back and make some improvements...

Improvement #1

Lower the overhead

Improvement #2

Create a framework that has a separation of front end and back end

Improvement #3

Better integration with the Multisite search

Improvement #4

Better commenting

Sharing the Open Source     

Giving back to the community

Hawaiʻi Diacritics

kāne (kaa-nay) = male

kane (ka-nay) = skin disease

Alt Text Checker

Tablepress + Custom Post Types

Pain Points Along the Way

Another Core Update?


(Time to test again)

Multisite Search


(Relevanssi & USA Search)

Font Awesome

version 3.2.1
<i class="icon-heart"></i>
version 4.3
<i class="fa fa-heart"></i>

Example: Icon Heart

Code Changed... 

What's Next for Hawaii?

Fully Utilized AWS Hosting

Surprisingly Fast Development

Focus on Content


Rosie Warfield

(808) 695-4629

Nathan Hutchinson

(808) 687-6140

WordPress for Government!

By Rosie Warfield

WordPress for Government!

A look at how Hawaii State Government has been using WordPress to launch over 450 cloud-based, open-source, mobile first websites. In the fall of 2012, we responded to an RFP by our 1st CIO Sonny Bhagowalia to build a common template for all state agencies. We had <6 months to build and implement EVERYTHING! As of January, 2013, 28 sites were launched. As of 2014, we have over 80 WordPress installs hosting almost 450 sites and all state agencies are now using WordPress. Learn how we did it and hear about our custom solutions and unique updating process that allows the State to push out bug fixes and feature requests with ease.

  • 4,153
Loading comments...

More from Rosie Warfield