WordPress Blog

WordPress Blogs

WordPress performs well on Eskimo North because of fast computing facilities, adequate memory, and memcached providing object caching for PHP.

WordPress is primarily a blogging application. It can also serve as a complete website.

WordPress is customizable with thousands of themes and plugins. You can edit the Style Sheets to further customize the look and free. It's open sourced, so if you really want to dig in, there is absolutely nothing that you can't modify.

Using WordPress gives you complete control over your blogs look, feel, and content. You don't have to worry about services being discontinued.

Installation

We do not offer one-button installs presently. We are happy to install WordPress for you. E-mail support@eskimo.com.

We will need the location where you would like it installed, the password for your MySQL database, and the password you would like for WordPress.

WordPress requires an SQL database. MySQL provides good performance and compatibility. If you do not have a MySQL database (they're included with your shell account), please e-mail support with the password you would like. The login will be the same as your shell login.

Copy WordPress into the location you desire. For example, say your login is "user" and you want your blog to appear at http://www.eskimo.com/~user/blog.

Use ssh (putty on Windows) or nx to login to shellx.eskimo.com. You need to have a shell terminal window. After you are logged in you will be in your home directory, (/home/login).

All of your web files go in a directory called "public_html" in your home directory. If you haven't already created a public_html directory, you will need to do so now. "$" is the system prompt but may be different depending upon what shell you are using and how you have it configured.

$ mkdir public_html

Change to that directory.

$ cd public_html

We keep a copy of WordPress in "/misc/wordpress". It is already unpacked and ready to copy into place. In this example you want it to be in public_html/blog.

$ cp -a /misc/wordpress 
blog

After you do this, the rest of the setup is completed with your Browser. Go to your blog URL, http://www.eskimo.com/~user/blog in this case, and you will see the following screen:

Initial WordPress 
screen telling you no wp-config.php file exists and offering to create 
one.

The Web interface for creating a configuration file will work fine with our server setup. There is no need to create one by hand. Press the "Create A Configuration File" button and boldly press on.

Wordpress telling you 
what you need to know to continue.  This would be your database name, 
username, password, hostname, and table prefix.

The database name and database username will both be the same as your login here.

The password will be whatever you requested when you asked support to setup a MySQL database for you.

The database host will be "localhost" as the MySQL server is on the same machine as the web server.

The table prefix will be "wp_" by default. I suggest you give it a name that identifies your blog so if you start multiple blogs you can easily tell what tables belong to what blog. For example, for my science blog, I use "science_wp_" as the table prefix.

Press the "Let's Go" button.

This screen is 
prompting for the database name, user name, password, hostname, and table 
prefix.

Fill these things in and press Submit! Do it! Now!

All right Sparky!  
You made it this far!

If you made it this far now press "Run the install!"

This screen is asking 
for information used to administer your WordPress blog.  Supply a user 
name, a password (which you will need to type twice), an e-mail address 
where you will receive notifications about actions in your blog such as a 
new user registering or a comment that needs moderation, and a check box 
which normally you would check but if you don't want people to find your 
blog, uncheck it.

Fill in the blanks. The username and password need not be the same as your database username and password. This username and password is used to login to your blog to post, moderate comments, and other administrative actions.

The e-mail address will be used to send notifications of things like comments waiting to be moderated and new user registrations.

Check the Privacy box if you don't want privacy, that is you want your blog to be found in search engines. I know it's bass ackwards.

After you fill these in, press the "Install WordPress" button.

Success!  This screen 
is to let you know installation was successful.

You've finished the basic installation. Now you can login and customize your new WordPress blog. Click on the "Log in" button to continue.

The login screen.

Enter your WordPress username and password then click the turquoise "Log in" button to really login to WordPress.

Wordpress Dashboard

Now that you're logged in, if you see the yellow bar across the top, that means the current version of WordPress is newer than the version we have available here. If that happens, it is easy to fix.

See the little circular thing with two arrows chasing each other? That is the update page. If it has a number, it means that there are updates available.

Updates to WordPress are super-easy to apply. Click on that arrows chasing each other thing and it will bring up the updates page.

Updates Page

At the top of the page, if there is an update available for WordPress, it will have an "Update Now" button. Click on it and about a second later WordPress will be updated.

Updates to WordPress are much less frequent than updates to themes and plugins which seem to be almost daily. These will show up below WordPress updates. Select what you want to update and click on the appropriate update button.

Update landing 
page.

This is the page you will arrive at after an update. All of the configuration tabs are still to the left.

Updates page when 
WordPress itself is current and there are plugins to update.

This is what the updates page looks like when WordPress is current and there are plugins to update.

At this point spend some time exploring. WordPress seems a bit daunting and overwhelming at first, but it is fairly intuitive and easy to learn.

Optimizing

To make your blog go fast, go to the Plugins tab and select New Plugins. In the search box, put "Tribe Cache", and hit the search button. It will find "Tribe Object Cache". Select that and select install.

After installation is complete, that will typically take about a second, select activate.

The Zend PHP engine works by compiling PHP code into intermediate pseudocode and then interpreting that code. The compilation phase is actually the most CPU intensive and time consuming portion of PHP execution.

The first time PHP code on one of WordPress's pages is run, the Tribe Object Cache plugin stores the compiled pseudocode in a memory cache object. Then, the next time that code is encountered, it doesn't have to be compiled again, it can be executed right out of cache.

The plugin is free, requires zero configuration, and does it's job well. It actually supports a number of different cache engines, it just happens that memcached is the one we have and it knows how to use it.

There are other caching plugins but in my experience they are either difficult to configure or not effective. Total Cache is a popular one but I found it very difficult to configure and Tribe Object Cache outperformed it here. It may be that some other sites benefit more from it.

AntiSpam

Another very useful plugin is the Akismet anti-spam plugin. This is simply the most effective anti-spam software I have ever seen. It has kept spam from getting posted to my blog while at the same time having an extremely low false positive rate.

I've only had one spam message make it through on any of my blogs and one false positive, using this plugin.

Eskimo North • P.O. Box 55816 • Shoreline, WA 98155 • Tel: 206-812-0051 • Toll Free: 800-246-6874