Installing WordPress

by Harold Davis

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I'm installing WordPress to manage my digital photography blog. (Details about my photography site and blog coming soon!)

Why WordPress? Well, not change for the sake of change. My Googleplex Blog (and my wife's blog) are powered by a MovableType Blog content management system. I'm pretty happy with MT, the templates are all finally working, and conservative enough from a sysadmin perspective that I haven't even upgraded from version 2.6 (on the if it ain't broken don't fix it theory of IT, even though MT is up to version 3.16 by now!).

But the digital photography site and blog are looking to be a very Web 2.0 kind of thing, running on Flickr, the Flickr APIs, and PHP. WordPress fits in with this: it's written in PHP, with templates easily modifiable by someone who can hack a bit of PHP, truly open source, and truly free. Also the WordPress tag "Code is Poetry" hooked me for obvious reasons: Code is poetry!

Unlike MT, which is moving inch by inch towards becoming an enterprise software company. I can't quite tell if technically I'd need to buy an MT license for a new install. Are my blogs a commercial enterprise, which is the issue? Probably I would need a license, even though it's not very expensive, but I just prefer the home spun community of WordPress. As I say, it's very Web 2.0. Will I switch the Googleplex blog away from MovableType? Probably not anytime soon...

Anyhow, back to the topic of installing WordPress. I'd like to comment on WordPress's Famous 5-Minute Install. For me, five hours was closer to the mark. I'm documenting my two major problems here in the hope that this might benefit someone coming after me.

First, downloading the installation files, unpacking them, copying them to my server, and running the installation script didn't take a whole lot longer than five minutes. That's where my troubles began, however.

Everytime I tried to publish a blog entry, instead of my test item I got a 404 not found error. If you are thinking database problem, you are ahead of me - and correct. The docs say that 99% likely "hostname" in the config file should be set to "localhost" and that "if you don't know what this value should be, check with your system administrator. If you are the system administrator, figure out what this value should be." Well, I finally got wise and plugged in the right address for my dbms server (not localhost), and this worked fine.

Next, the permalink for each entry was broken. I opened the WordPress control panel, went to Options >Permalink > Edit Permalink Structure. I figured that I'd need a new structure, anyhow. Well, I followed the directions and it gave me a bunch of code to add to my .htaccess file, along with the statement that if permissions were set so the file could be written, it would have done so for me. Obviously, I have no problem changing file permissions, but this had me scratching my head for a while because I couldn't find an .htaccess file anywhere in the installation tree. (A red herring, this is a hidden file, so I had to figure out how to get my FTP client to show hidden files.)

Turns out, I simply didn't have a .htaccess file. Creating one from scratch, and copying the suggested code into it, then uploading to the directory in the install tree above where I wanted virtual permalinks worked fine. (But time I could have spent better if this had just been in the docs...)

A tough birth, but I think I'm going to like WordPress when all is said and done...


2005-05-08 19:11:21
Welcome to WordPress
I'm sure you'll get the hang of it soon. I've found it to be quite elegant. Oh, and don't read the docs. Read the Codex.
2005-07-10 08:05:16
.htaccess files
My host was the same way. For the longest time I had no .htaccess file then after blocking certain ip addresses through the Cpanel interface it "miraculously" showed up. It was at that point I realized they didn't have their servers configured to automatically make one in the virtualhosts home directory. Now I know just to make my own if I don't see one.

Working on my Mac I have a great ftp client that shows all the hidden files. Email me if you want me to tell you which one. You know where to reach me. ~ YosemiteBlog