Switching to Dreamhost & installing WP in /subdirs

The Holiday 2010 project of cleaning all my hard drives and syncing my iTunes library across three computers and two iOS devices has come to a close – or as much of a close as any tech project reaches.

Our amazing systems/servers master at work tipped me off on a great deal with Dreamhost last month and this weekend’s project is converting a few lower traffic sites over to Dreamhost WordPress installs.  If it goes smoothly, I will be moving everything over to Dreamhost over the next month.

Dreamhost

If you are in the market for a web host – check out Dreamhost RIGHT NOW. I have heard awesome things about it over the years, and they have a 90% off sale going on for the Super Bowl weekend. GO!

Dreamhost’s interface is nowhere near as slick as my current host (Media Temple), but it is also packed with options.  If you’re building your first website, you may not be quite ready for Dreamhost.  That said, and Ken will back me up on this, I know almost nothing about hosting and I’m happy as a clam in Dreamhost so far.  They’ve one click installs of just about every app you can think of (WordPress is the only one that I’m looking for); easy to set up mirroring to work on sites before redirecting the DNS; regular old hosted email as well as super duper gmail email; and boat loads of other things.

To give you an example of how Dreamhost isn’t as streamlined as Media Temple (and why I’m happy about it): When adding a domain, it asks me whether I want to a) support both www and no-www, b) force both to end up at www, or c) force both to end up at no-www. I have built sites on no less than 10 hosts in the last 14 years, and I have NEVER been asked that as part of a routine domain set up.  I’m sure almost all hosts offer that option, but buried somewhere deep inside a panel of Advanced options rather than on standard screen.

WordPress /cms

Something else that’s new that I’m trying is taking my WordPress installs off of the roots of my sites.  Troy Chaplin did this with the site he just built for pseweb.ca, and it seems like a good idea for security, so off I go.  I’m going to use instructions from here – I’ll let you know how it goes.

Elegant Themes

Rather than go in depth on free vs pro vs build your own WordPress themes – here’s a great article from Read Write Web.

Elegant Themes is a pro WordPress theme provider that continues to impress me.  I love finding a great tech company that continues to innovate and improve itself – Seesmic used to  be one of these in my opinion, Hootsuite is currently a great one, Involver.com is amazing (breaks my heart that I can’t afford their pricing) and WordPress obviously is master of all.

I signed up with Elegant Themes last April when I had a family member who needed a website redesign.  They had no budget for a designer and our in-family designer wasn’t able to pull through for us, so we went with a pro theme and tweaked it to fit.  When my annual subscription runs out, I will be upgrading to a Developers license because for someone like me who creates sites frequently but can’t code or design to save her life – it’s a godsend.  I will definitely be telling my clients about it and I’m sure they will jump at the chance to put on one of Elegant Themes’ gorgeous designs over what I was able to provide to them years in the past.

I’m  bringing up Elegant Themes today because, as I mentioned, I’m moving my low traffic sites over to Dreamhost as a test run.  I want to do this quick and clean and I don’t want to get bogged down in redesign & build – so WordPress plus Elegant Themes is going to save the day.  For example, I incorporated in August but haven’t had time to do the corporation’s website.  This weekend, it’s going to get done – and with zero stress thanks to the combo of these services.

I’ve recommended the ET + WP combo to every small business and blogger I know that has come to me for a site in the last year. Unless you really need a custom design, keep your money in your pocket and explore the awesome pro and free WordPress themes out there. And please, please, stop building static HTML websites 🙂

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