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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.