7 things to get WordPress 3 up and running.

Frankly, I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, but like the rest of time-starved world, I haven’t made the time (notice I didn’t say “have” the time), to pull it all together.  Everything is about priorities and a blog hasn’t been a huge priority.  As I started to get more experience in the web development scene, I realized I could learn/share via a blog in the same spirit that so many great tech blogs have helped me along my path.

This is not a step by step  how to guide, but will add to the body of info on likely problems and opportunities for doing this stuff.  As I write this, I realize how much information and “luck” is assumed by the purveyors of these tools.  Never forget to Google your error messages – it’s remarkable how many solutions are out there.

  1. HostingProvider – I use a the VPS (virtual private server) from www.1and1.com. They’ve got a great server support team that is easy to talk to – and very helpful during those critical early times.  Their site is arguably “too loud”, but they’ve proven to be a great value IMHO.  Shared hosting can work for things like WordPress – but it’s likely that you’ll run into configuration problems.
  2. XAMPP for creating a local server testing framework (not critical – but will come into play at some point).  I’m mostly on a PC (although I’ve starting sharing time with Mac – but please don’t tell my wife)…so this works for me.
  3. FTP (file transfer software).  I love the free Filezilla that XAMPP suggests for moving things up and down.  Although the “auto-install” features of WordPress are supposed to work seamlessly, in practice I had to manually push things up and down to the proper locations – particularly in trying to upgrade my unusedWordpress V2 site to V3.  There’s no magic in WordPress – it’s just php files and a database connection.  However, if you move,edit  or delete the wrong files, and the result will be distinctly unmagical.
  4. MySQL Database Access.  This is the make or break aspect of setting up.  You need to be able to identify or define your database name and access.
    • host: at 1and1 – it can be your www.yourname.com address
    • database name:  on VPS, it will typically be “localhost” – but on shared it can be something assigned by your provide.
    • username:  you create
    • password: you create

    If you make it this far – that’s all that should be necessary to get your WordPress site up and running.

  5. ON WP:  Choose Theme. This is the coolest part of WordPress – that you can get a pretty sweet looking site without any heavy design lifiting.  Super impressive.
  6. ON WP:  Comment checking/spam stopping.  I found this blog with a great list that I’ve put in my “hold” list in the WP settings section for comments.  It’s a zip file, that unzips to a text file, that you can just copy and paste and put in your settings section.  We’ll see how it goes.  http://www.prelovac.com/vladimir/wordpress-comment-blacklist. Now, of course, this will never be sufficient if this blog gets some decent traffic, so I’ll have to add measures down the line.  A casual blog setup for a friend showed that if you leave comments open, it’s only a matter of time before the spam comes rushing in.
  7. Experiment:  That’s what I’m doing. The WP admin panel offers tons of features  – and the darn thing is so easy to use it seems to let you play without pay.

Having developed sites without the benefit of tools like WordPress, I post this with a certain amount of awe at what they’ve accomplished.  Good luck in your own WP travels.