Keeping WordPress Features but Hosting Blog on DreamHost

wordpress

#1

I have a hosting account here on DreamHost, but recently I started a blog on WordPress.com. However, I became quickly frustrated when every bit of customization, such as simply editing your own CSS stylesheet, required a premium (aka expensive) account. I’m thinking of moving my blog to my DreamHost account, but I would like to maintain the ability to have comments at the bottom of my posts. I also like how easy it is for users to subscribe to my blog. Is there a way to have these features yet host my blog on my DreamHost account?


#2

Using a self-hosted version or WordPress will allow you to edit the CSS/theme, have comments and allow subscriptions.

Since it is self-hosted, you will have to roll up your sleeves and figure out the details on your own (or ask for help in the WordPress community).

For features that are specific to WordPress.com, take a look at the JetPack plugin.

I hope that helps!


#3

Thanks for the reply, Magic.

So I’m fuzzy on the details here. There is a WordPress website where I currently have a blog, but I’m very constrained on editing the look and feel. But there’s also a WordPress stand-alone app? One that I can use in conjunction with my DreamHost account and edit the layout as I like? Is there a cost for this app, or how does WordPress make their money off it?


#4

Technically, it isn’t an application as much as php and css code, that is distributed as a open source blogging/publishing platform.

WordPress.org is where you get it. You’ll need to download it, uncompress the files, and set up the config file. You’ll need to set up a MySQL database on DreamHost and put the MySQL account info in the WordPress config file. Then you upload (FTP) all of the WordPress files and follow the installation info. For the technically inclined, this is pretty easy, and it gives you complete control over WordPress. WordPress.com does all of this for you, which is why they charge for the service.

I believe that DreamHost offers a “one-click” install of the software for the less technically inclined. This option is much easier to install, but then you are limited to how DreamHost has WordPress configured. Since I am not an expert in their setup, you may have limited choices with this option (as in you might lose the ability to edit CSS, etc.).

For more info, you should read DreamHost’s wiki on WordPress:

WordPress makes its money off of donations and its parent company, Automatic, which offers paid services, such as WordPress.com. Because it is open-source, it is “owned” by everyone.

Think of WordPress.com as the commercial venture, and WordPress.org as the community-driven, open-source platform for all.

If you want to learn more, here is a good article, and if you enjoy it, check out the rest of the site for tutorials and advice:

Enjoy!

Jim


#5

The dreamhost one click install of Wordpress does not limit what you can do with Wordpress. It’s the best way to get started.

I’ll only add one word of caution, don’t go plug-in crazy. A common theme of beginners to Wordpress hosting, is to get the one click installed and then sit and read plugin descriptions and say “oh cool, I need that” or “awesome, I wondered how to do that” or even just “oh, I gotta have that”. BUT, you can install too many and it will effect performance. Also sometimess although plugin “A” is great and works fine alone or with most other plugins, but mix it with plugin “b” and it will bring your site to its knees. So start slow with those.

Also completely delete unused themes and plugins, don’t just deactivate them.


#6

Jim, thank you so much for the crash course in WordPress! I really appreciate you taking the time to fill in some of the blanks for me. I have a much clearer understanding of WordPress now.

And LakeRat, thanks for the advice, and for making me feel like I can tackle this undertaking using the one-click install method.

Wish me luck!


#7

Good luck!


#8

Any suggestions on which ones are useful ? You are correct and as my first WP site has so many now I do not know which links to what. Probably make sure I have all the content backed up ad remove most of them and start again.


#9

Got my installation up and running without a hitch, thanks to the wisdom and encouragement I found here. So thanks!

As for which are the most useful, I’m new to this but I did install, um, I think it’s called Jetpack, as I wanted access to custom CSS.


#10

This really depends on what you want to do. There are lots of plugins in the official WordPress plugin repository:

http://wordpress.org/plugins/

Stick with ones that have been updated recently and that have a good record of support, and you should be okay.

Jetpack actually adds a lot of features that you may not need. There are actually custom css plugins that have a smaller footprint. If you add a lot of CSS (say, more than 50 lines), you should look into creating a child theme.


#11

Thanks for the tip. I’m assuming a “child theme” is simply a custom stylesheet? I’ll try and track down a tutorial on YouTube.


#12

[quote]I’m assuming a “child theme” is simply a custom stylesheet?
[/quote]

It’s a little more than that. (Actually, it can be a lot more than that, if you need it to be.)

The WordPress codex page:
https://codex.wordpress.org/Child_Themes

My page on child themes:


#13

Great article on why you’d want to use a child theme. Thanks for that. :slight_smile: