I’ve been meaning to set up a new blog for some time and finally got around to playing with WordPress on Friday. It just so happened that WordPress 2.8 was released two days prior.
I have previously used Blogger and although I am quite happy with the service (free, simple, reliable) I have found it to be limited for some of the more advanced things that I wanted to accomplish.
One of my requirements for my new blog is that I would be able to host it with my current web host instead of using the free hosting services that many blog services provide. My reasons for this include: full access the code for tweaks and modifications; ability to backup the content; and the ability to use my own domain.
I am currently hosting with 1&1 Web Hosting. I have been with them for several years now and I am very happy with the service. I only use this hosting for basic web content, email and FTP so I am running the low-cost 1&1 Home package. This package doesn’t have shell access (SSH) but it does support PHP apps that can be installed via FTP. This package also includes MySQL which is required for WordPress.
To install WordPress on 1&1 using FTP, I followed this step-by-step procedure. The instructions were very clear and I was able to get WordPress up and running in less than 20 minutes.
I set up the blog to be linked to a subdomain (blog.allanglen.com) by pointing the subdomain to a subdirectory in the webspace. To avoid cluttering the root of the blog with the WordPress software, I installed WordPress into it’s own folder and then linked the blog folder to WordPress (instructions). After getting everything installed it was time to begin configuring the software.
The WordPress Dashboard is simple and easy to use. The dashboard is Ajax enabled and the settings were able to be changed quickly.
There is an ‘Add New Themes’ option available that allows themes to be located, downloaded and installed without having to leave the Dashboard. I started with the iNove theme and made a few tweaks.
Editing themes can be done in the Dashboard using the Editor option in the Appearance menu. This was useful for simple changes but I found it more efficient to use an editor like Komodo Edit. Komodo Edit allows files to be opened from FTP and will automatically upload files when saved.
After changing some the style sheets I uploaded a new header for the blog that I created using Paint.NET. Finally, I added an RSS link to the header by adding a new style and by modifying the PHP code for the header. All in all, the theme was very easy to modify with some basic HTML, CSS and PHP editing.