Hello Everyone

Since last year, whenever I read any informative and enticing blog post, I always asked this question to myself; ‘when am I going to start one?’.

But last month I read a post, ‘Why make Site Prototypes?’ by Greg Wolejko. After reading this post, I thought to myself that not only is this post real educative, but also, it is like a valuable contribution, a fun and cool way of giving the world something that others can benefit from, like Open Source.

Going to WordPress.org and downloading the latest 2.6 build was the only choice I was left with now, for a number of reasons:

  • I had to start a blog myself; ‘Ain’t no stopping me now!’.
  • I believed myself to be technically sound enough to host my own blog (although WordPress makes the job a piece of cake!).
  • WordPress was the obvious reason because of its usability, dynamics and */read text between brackets of point two/* (for the fear of sounding repetitive).
  • Hosting is real cheap these days.  
  • Blogging is real fun and I am game for it.

I have met people who expressed real interest in starting their own blog but cited their limitation in computer technical knowledge as a prime reason for not doing so. So I decided my first post to be for those people, who dare to venture into new realms with eagerness to learn and apply. Blogging for everybody!

Open Source is beautiful and so is its one of the children, ‘WAMP’. WAMP stands for Windows Apache MySQL PHP. WampServer is a Windows web development environment. It’s got Apache to act as a server and PHPMyAdmin and SQLiteManager to easily manage your databases. For those of you with a Windows PC, this software is a must have if you want to give your future WordPress blog a demo run first. Achieving this is a seven step process:

  1. Install Wampserver on your PC.
  2. Create a new database with PHPmyadmin.
  3. Extract your WordPress installer package to the ‘www’ folder of your ‘wamp’ directory.
  4. Configure your wp-config file as instructed in the readme file of the WordPress folder.
  5. Run http://locahost or http://127.0.0.1 in your browser.
  6. Point your browser to http://locahost/wordpress/wp-admin/install.php
  7. Voila!

If you already have IIS installed on your PC and localhost configured on it then you can configure your httpd.conf file in Apache to use a different port for localhost to run Wampserver. For example I configured my Wamp localhost to run on port 8080, something like this, http://locahost:8080.

You have to configure your httpd.conf file in two places (using Ctrl+F will be a good idea to find these settings in the httpd file):

#Listen 12.34.56.78:80
Listen 8080

and

# If your host doesn’t have a registered DNS name, enter its IP address here.
#
ServerName localhost:8080

After you have done so and have your WordPress blog installed and running, it is a smooth ride now. You can customize your blog with themes and plugins of your choice. More details on this are given here. I would highly recommend a theme which is cleanly coded and is well supported. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a major factor to be considered here. For now, I would leave this topic for a later post.

Now you are ready to take the plunge! After having a demo run and satisfying yourself regarding your blog’s design and content, you are now ready for the ‘Real Deal’; present it to the world! This is where web hosting plays it’s part. Webhosting is real cheap these days and no matter whatever country you are in, as long as you have a credit card, buying hosting services is as easy as buying a soft-drink from a local store. There are lots of hosts around but there are some things to be considered as always:

  • Make sure your host has Linux hosting.
  • They provide WordPress auto-install and upgrade.
  • CGI, Databases, Plugins and Scripts offered by the host.
  • Most hosts give you free domain name along with their services.
  • The more the space and bandwidth they provide you, the better.
  • Make sure how many MySql databases they provide and what is the limit of each database (size of the database in Megabytes, that you are allowed to use) the more the better, unlimited rocks.
  • Also, the cheaper, the better!

After reading a lot of reviews and detailed comparison of the features offered, I shortlisted three web hosting companies, BlueHost, LunarPages and HostGator. They already host many WordPress blogs in a rich hosting environment, charging between $4.95 – $6.95 for a two year all inclusive starter plan, which is ample for any blogger’s need. I chose BlueHost because of its superior script security, secure shell access and backup restore feature than the other two. Also, when you follow BlueHost from this WordPress page, they donate a portion of your fee back to WordPress, which is a great way to support the project.

After you are finished buying the services you can go to your hosting control panel and choose to install WordPress from the ‘Fantastico’ feature in the cpanel. Fantastico installs and upgrades WordPress like a breeze in a three step process. You can then visit your blog’s admin panel by typing http://yourdomain/wp-admin in your browser and are now officially a proud owner of your very own blog. Write away your thoughts and make the web a better place to read in.

You can feel free to contact me, if you need any help setting up your blog.

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