Installing WordPress

If you’ve been following the frenzy (post 1 and post 2 on my weblog provide more details) over the more restrictive licensing clauses and the much higher than expected prices that Six Apart plans to charge for Movable Type 3.0, you might have noticed that a lot of bloggers are suddenly looking around at other blogging tools. The top three candidates for me are WordPress, Blosxom, and PyBlosxom. I might end up sticking with MT, but this was as good of an excuse as any to check out the competition.

I installed WordPress 1.2 Release Candidate 1 today and was very impressed. I have posted my WordPress installation notes in the same style as my Movable Type and Gallery notes.

Caveat 1 - I haven’t gone back and redone an install using the final version of these notes. I did slave over them for a couple of hours, though, so I think they are pretty accurate.
Caveat 2 - I haven’t tried migrating the content or templates from my MT blog to my test WP blog. I’ll update my notes once I’ve done that. In the meantime, the website has some good tutorials on migrating from MT to WP. I doubt there will be a lot of DreamHost specific details in the migration.


I’ve now done another install of WordPress using my WordPress install instructions, and I found a couple places where I could simplify the instructions.

But, the real reason I am responding to my own post is in hope of saving you from the couple of hours I spent yelling at my monitor when WordPress sent me into an endless loop of not being able to log in. The first login would work, but disaster struck as soon as I logged out. I had to wipe out the database and rerun the install script in order to log in again. Of course, as soon as I logged out, I was stuck again.

Finally, I found this post in the WordPress Beta Discussion forum. Due to a bug/limitation in WordPress 1.2 RC1, you can’t have your blog directory and your WordPress install directory be sibling directories. For example, and spells disaster. Or at least, it spells login nightmare.

The problem comes from how the WordPress developers are using cookies. Although someone posted a partial workaround in that thread, I saw a response in another thread from a WordPress implying that this might be a security risk. Hopefully they will fix this problem before the official 1.2 release.

In my first install, I published the blog content directly into my root directory and put WordPress into a sub-directory of the root directory. That configuration works fine. For my second install, I ended up putting the WordPress install directory inside of a blog directory, i.e., That config also works.

I have updated my install notes to include this new information.

And to address Caveat 2 from my previous post, I did migrate my old MT posts. The export/import went without a hitch. I even took the opportunity to clean up some absolutely horrid HTML generated by Radio Userland, which was the blogging tool I started out using.

I also set up some .htaccess files (using tips from the WordPress masters) to redirect my old MT pages to the equivalent WordPress pages. Details are, of course, on my blog.


Thank YOU!!!

Thanks for this post – i haven’t installed Wordpress yet because… well, I am still not sure. As an MT User I don’t know if I shoudl get the hell otu of dodge (I am on MT 2.64) or continue using it and trying to stay content with it.

Robert, I’d appreciate it if you could give me your opinion on Wordpress as compared to MT? I really want a direct comparison from someone who’s used both…

For me, the switch from Movable Type to WordPress was a good one. As my blog had grown significantly in size since I first migrated to MT, I was growing very tired of how long it took to build. A full website build with MT could take five minutes or more (sometimes, a lot more). Even a single page build sometimes took 15-20 seconds.

I hadn’t check out the MT website for quite some time, but I just noticed that they released MT 3.1 on August 31. The new features that would appeal to me are:

  • Choice between static or dynamic page creation
  • Subcategories

However, these are features that WordPress already has. Well, WordPress doesn’t offer static page creation, but that’s a feature I don’t want anyway.

The biggest MT advantage, IMHO, remains the rich set of plug-ins that are available for MT. WordPress can’t really compare. While it sounds like MT offers a very rich API for developers to work with, I can’t compare it to the WordPress API, because I have not written plug-ins for either platform. If MT or WordPress were written in Java or Python, I would be much more interested. I don’t have time, or a desperate enough need for my own plug-in, to learn PHP or Perl.

Given all that, my reasons for choosing WordPress over Movable Type are:

  1. I’m an open source developer and am naturally inclined to prefer open source tools (i.e., ones that use licenses like the Apache license, CPL, GPL, LGPL, etc.)
  2. I’m not a plug-in collector or fanatic, so the smaller supply of plug-ins wasn’t that huge of a factor for me (though there are a couple I miss)
  3. For my blog, WordPress handles spam comments better than the MT Blacklist plug-in. The new anti-spam feature is MT 3 is alledgedly better, but it didn’t look significantly better to me.
  4. Blogging is a very part-time activity for me, so I couldn’t justify spending a lot of money on the software. I would rather spend the money on donations to open source software development projects.
  5. I also run a blog for a non-profit, and at the time that I made my decision to go to WordPress, it looked like upgrading to MT 3.x would not be cheap for the non-profit. They have less than 5 paid employees, so I would have to ask MT about their special pricing.
  6. I would like to set up a couple of blogs at the start-up where I work. Cost is a significant issue, especially since I’m not sure how frequently they would be used.

I still think that MT is a great product and the people at SixApart seem like really good people. I think they received a very good, albeit tough, lesson in marketing and public relations. If I were more serious about blogging or were more interested in hacking on Perl-based plug-ins, I probably would have stuck with MT and paid the $70 license fee.

As for a blow by blow comparison, I think the comparison at is pretty dead-on.


Muchas Gracias Robert. Running Weblogs on and, it’s important for me to find out some of this stuff. i’d certianly miss certain plugins from MT but I haven’t even gone through the list of plugins availible on WordPress yet – there might be something else I like more in there than I already have on MT…

Thanks for the link, too, and the speedy reply to my post.