How to use the trust.txt plugin

This post will show you how to use the trust.txt plugin in WordPress. (If for whatever reason you can not use the plugin and want to post your trust.txt file directly into your root directory, the instructions for that are here.)

Before you get started, you will need two things:

  1. Your WordPress login
  2. Your trust.txt file

If you do not have your trust.txt file created, you have two options. The first is to create it, and it is not very hard. If you are a publication and you belong to three different groups (for example) and you have four different social media accounts, your whole file will be as short as seven lines long. All the instructions are in the spec file.

Your second option to create that file is to join JournalList, and have us create it for you.

Once you have your login and your trust.txt file, here is how you do it:

Install the trust.txt plugin

If you are an admin for your WordPress site, you’ve undoubtedly done this a zillion times. Just go to this link and follow the instructions on that page.

Or… go to your admin page and click the plugins item on your menu bar, and then on the plugins page click the “Add New” link, usually in a box near the top of the page. From there just search for trust.txt and go to the page for the trust.txt plugin.

Then install the plugin as you would any other plugin.

Using the plugin

To use the plugin, first you open it by going to Settings>Trust.txt.

Once there you will see perhaps the easiest looking plugin you have ever seen. It will look something like this:

trust-txt-blank

Not much to it, right?

Now, go over to your text editor or wherever you have created your trust.txt file, and copy all of the contents of the file. (Again, it might be only seven lines.)

Then paste all of it into the window. Here’s an example taken from the spec document for a paper in southwestern Colorado, the Durango Herald:

durango herald sample trust.txt file

You will notice something about what you paste in there:

Some of the color will change. If you have a hashtag (#) at the start of a line, the whole line will turn orange. If you use the word social at the start of a line, and put an equal sign (=) after it, the word will turn blue. This is just done for you, so that you can see any issues with your file more clearly. If you accidently put a dash instead of an equal sign, the word at the start won’t turn blue, and you will notice that and be able to fix it.

The final step is for you to click Save Changes at the bottom of the window.

The plugin has some checks built into it, so if there are issues, those will be visible to you under the window, complete with instructions about what line the issue comes up on. Whatever those issues are, you will be able to fix them, and if you aren’t sure how, you can just cut that line out and return to fix it later.

That’s it! You did it!


If you have questions, you can contact JournalList, the caretaker of the trust.txt framework.

One note of thanks here for rtCamp. That is the development shop that created this plugin as a community project. They did an amazing job! If you need help with a plugin, or just about anything else in the WordPress world, you would do very well to contact them.

Further thanks goes to Adam Silverstein, who introduced rtCamp to me at JournalList, and was a contributor to the original ads.txt plugin, which was an open source community project based on the framework managed by the IAB TechLab. That plugin provided some of the code and inspiration for the trust.txt plugin.

Thanks very much to all of them, and thanks to you for using the plugin, posting your trust.txt file, and making the internet just a bit more trustworthy for everyone.