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 Post subject: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:01 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:38 pm
Posts: 24
Server: Dath'Remar, Oceanic
Wordpress.com and self-hosting, domain names
Firstly, if you're just starting out on wordpress.com you should seriously consider buying a domain name and having wordpress.com map your site to that domain. It's a charged service, but not very expensive, and certainly cheaper than self-hosting.

Advantage is, if you move to self-hosting in the future (ie. if you want wowhead tooltips to work, or you want to put ads on the site), everyone including Google will still find you without any mucking around. I did this and am very pleased I did.

On a wordpress.com hosted site, you get limited theme choices. On a self-hosted site, you get every choice, and even themes with the same names (like Vigilance, for example, which I used on wp.com) have different options when you self-host (like you can no longer put a graphic header on Vigilance unless you pay).

So when you move from wp.com to self-hosted you may find you change themes, or if you're lucky, you will just get to play with some new theme settings.

Self-hosting
This requires you (a) have a webserver host (b) have a domain name (c) install and setup Wordpress yourself.
The hosting bit isn't too hard. I use LiquidWeb and am very happy with them. Any host you choose should be fine with wordpress.
I recommend against streamline and fatcow, I had problems with their performance and customer service and had to cancel accounts (painful).

Note DO NOT RELY on any site which is the "top 10 hosts" or whatever. They're all making money from referrals. They refer to the highest paying hosts, NOT to the best host. I didn't realise that. If you want a recommendation, you can read my very detailed review of LiquidWeb.

Self-hosting means you suddenly have to deal with spam and search-engines in a way that wordpress.com used to do for you. Some things you took for granted are now plugins you need to install.

That said, benefits include:
* your wowhead tooltips can work (wp.com won't allow their javascript)
* you can really get your teeth into tuning the layout of the site (quite fun if you're geeky), adding widgets that interest you
* tags work properly, and keep readers within your site. Tags on wp.com can send readers all over the place
* you can get 'related posts' to work as it should, within your site, whereas wp.com sends readers elsewhere.

RSS feed
This is important. I found a few sites steal your content through your RSS feed, put it on their site, and stick ads around it to make money off your creativity.
You cannot prevent this with wp.com, all you can do is ask the site owner to stop.
On a self-hosted site, you have an arsenal of weapons to stop them, including subtle ones like putting a footer at the end of each post saying where the content came from and that it's copyright.

To get the most from your RSS feed, and to protect yourself, set it up with feedburner.com, and install their plugins I mention below.

Recommended plug-ins
Here are the plugins I found to be very important and useful, with a brief note about each. My site is pwnwear.com if you want to see these in action.

Feedburner Feedsmith (only available from Google's feedburner site): lets you use the URL of your main site as feed address, even though Feedburner is handling the RSS. Feedburner then gives you statistics and tracking (including finding people who are using it for inappropriate purposes). Must have.

Better Feed: Ozh's plugin lets you add a copyright footer and a note about where the content came from. This means splogs will embed your footer into their site, which is a great protection. My example. wow.com does this, too. Must-have.

All-in-one SEO: lets you customise the window title, excerpt and other meta tags which Google cares about, or just install it and it automatically improves how you're indexed. Must have.

CommentLuv: also known as Comluv. Great for getting reciprocal visitors, and for encouraging other bloggers to comment. Must-have.

WP Ajax Edit Comments: lets your readers edit their own comments, which is a really nice courtesy.

Smart Youtube: lets you embed youtube videos. Best of all, it understands the wp.com shortcodes so when you migrate to self-hosted, all your videos will still work. Very handy. Must-have if you have any embedded videos.

WP-SpamFree: works to eliminate comment spam before Akismet gets to it. Has zero false-positives because if it's suspicious you're a robot, it gives you a second chance that only humans can pass. You can just rely on Akismet but I like having both.

Google XML Sitemap: easily automatically creates a sitemap which google can use to index your site, making sure no pages are missing. Must-have.

Wordpress.com Stats: a plugin which gives you the lovely easy-to-read stats you're familiar with from wordpress.com but within a self-hosted site. Also get the 'wordpress.com smiley remover' plugin.

GD Star Ratings: if you want to have rating or voting on your site, this is the gold standard plugin. Not very easy to configure, but it's the best.

W3 Total Cache: you will not need these unless your site host is really slow or you're likely to get loads of traffic, like if you get exclusives or first-news or similar. They can also reduce your CPU usage. I use W3TC, the latest version is much better than Super Cache (Aug 2010).

wowhead-tooltips: I love this script; I've donated money to the developer. It lets you type [item]luffa[/item] instead of finding the URL at wowhead, and so many more features.


Last edited by Gravity on Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:49 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:38 pm
Posts: 24
Server: Dath'Remar, Oceanic
Few more very useful plugins:

"Login Lockdown" to secure your site against brute-force password guessing.

"Who sees ads" lets you have content which only appears if the reader came from a search engine, or is not a regular visitor. Also useful for 'welcome back' or 'hey you newbie, my site is pwnage' messages.

"Sideblog" lets you have a mini-blog within your blog. I use it for technical and site announcements, like 'new index page you might like'.

"W3 Total Cache" a better cache in my opinion, particularly great if you have dynamic content (ads, for example), it handles properly. I use it now.

"MCEComments" lets your commenters format their comments without knowing HTML.


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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:07 pm
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Location: Desert Wasteland, CA
Server: Smolderthorn
This is great. Thanks for posting it! I am working on my guilds new site, and not having been self hosted (ever) and using Blogger for my own blog site, everything has been greek to me.

Do you know of any add-ons or tweaks that allow the Wordpress login to bridge over to SMF forums?

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:03 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:38 pm
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Server: Dath'Remar, Oceanic
Edited update: I have written a very detailed report on forum integration with WordPress.

Theme integration is a pain in the ass, regardless of forums software. User/password integration is automatic with bbpress forum software, and there is probably a bridge for SMF (I know there used to be) but haven't looked into it recently.


Last edited by Gravity on Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:07 pm
Posts: 41
Location: Desert Wasteland, CA
Server: Smolderthorn
Thanks for the help. Since my guildmates haven't made any posts worth saving (or have they? that pyramid of quotes is getting pretty long) I might still be able to switch to something a little less confusing for everyone.

It's kind of rough having to sign into Wordpress just to leave a shout on the wall, then clicking over to the forums and having to sign in again. Poor guys...

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:38 pm
Posts: 24
Server: Dath'Remar, Oceanic
yeah, for similar reasons I like Simple Press, even though it's fairly ugly.


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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:38 pm
Posts: 24
Server: Dath'Remar, Oceanic
Just installed MobilePress. Lets browsers on mobile phones see your site (optionally) in a much faster version, custom.
http://mobilepress.co.za/

Note at time of writing, mobilePress is incompatible with Total Cache, so I went back to SuperCache (which is compatible).

Update: I'm not using this anymore, see next post.

Also I'm now going to maintain a list of all my active plugins on this page, fyi. It's down the bottom of the page, under a sliding text.


Last edited by Gravity on Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:11 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:38 pm
Posts: 24
Server: Dath'Remar, Oceanic
I no longer recommend YARRP as it's coded so badly the CPU usage from its MySQL queries caused my site to get suspended: Related posts, yet another. I also found that Broken Link Checker, which is otherwise good, uses some queries when I don't think it should.

In both cases I advised the developers so this might change in the future (Feb 2010).

Lastly, I swapped from MobilePress to WP Touch, which is an iPhone-lookalike but also just works better with more mobile clients.


Last edited by Gravity on Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:38 pm
Posts: 24
Server: Dath'Remar, Oceanic
Another important change, I don't use YARPP for related posts. It completely screws your CPU usage, it's badly written.

Use this instead, which really works well:

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/eff ... ted-posts/


Last edited by Gravity on Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:59 pm
Posts: 10
Server: Emerald Dream EU
Depending on your preferences, I'd wholeheartedly recommend the plugins "No self pings" and "Insights". I wouldn't call them "essential", but I know I couldn't live without them.

What they do

No Self Pings

By default, if you write a post that links to another one of your posts it'll leave a trackback on that old post. Depending on your theme this could show up among all your comments and while it's fun when other blogs leave trackbacks, if you're linking to yourself a lot it soon gets tiresome. This plugin stops that behaviour, no configuration just activate it and stop the trackback spam.

Insights

I imagine we all have external links in our posts from time to time, right? I mostly use Insights for linking to wowhead, wowwiki and my older blog posts without having to go find what I want to link to, copy the link, come back and paste it back in. Basically it gives you a little search field underneath your post editing box, with options such as search google, my blog, images (flickr) etc. Type your thingy in there, see list of results, click the little button to put the link into your post, sorted. My blog is multi-user and some of the guys are a bit technotarded so this comes in extremely handy.

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:21 pm
Posts: 74
Location: Romania
Server: Alonsus EU
Insight sounds very cool! I had no idea something like that existed. <3 addons for the lazy. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:54 pm
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Location: Chico, CA
Server: Proudmoore-US
thank you for posting this. I need to redo my site, and some things, like the self-pingback, were really annoying.

I will be snagging several of these.


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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:49 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:03 am
Posts: 47
Location: United Kingdom
Server: Earthen Ring (EU)
Thanks for this. I really appreciated the recommendation of a Related Posts plugin. I've been looking for something like this for a while and the suggestion here was really helpful.

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:55 pm
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I think this has been discussed above, but I would like to recommend All in one SEO plugin; it's essential if you are concerned about SEO and Search Engine Rankings. Also, Google XML Sitemaps helps with SEO as well...

Thanks for the ideas, by the way! I'll give all those plugins a try

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:34 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:38 pm
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Server: Dath'Remar, Oceanic
I updated my list of wordpress plugins, and have them laid out on this page.


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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:02 pm 
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Gravity, I love that you have an explanation for each plugin! I'm lazy and just used a plugin-lister plugin.

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:17 am 
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Thank you for posting this, and for explaining cogently why the plugins should be used in addition to what they are intended to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:34 am 
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Hi everyone, I've written a very detailed post on integrating forums with wordpress, your choices, complications and risks.
I've got forums at pwnwear which are doing really well for the DK Tank community, and have learned a lot along the way.

If you're thinking of forums, please read my article first.

Also, poke around my garage for a bunch of other code tips that might interest you, mostly related to phpBB but some for WordPress too.

Lastly, I wrote a detailed report on my host LiquidWeb which is good to read if you're considering a VPS/dedicated server.


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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:39 pm 
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Location: United Kingdom
Server: Earthen Ring (EU)
I looked at doing full blog/forum integration, but in the end I cheated. I just copied the header/footer HTML and CSS from my blog and incorporated it into the phpbb header/footer. I then use phpBB Recent Topics to do the integration and pull through the recent posts into the blog sidebar. It's clunky, but it seems to do the job.

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:51 am 
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Location: Wales
Server: Kilrogg
A great plugin for preventing spam on your open comments (no login required) is NoSpamNX. This plugin is lightweight on memory and does the job really well.

Another good addon is Organize Series which allows you to create easy access links in your posts to other posts of relevance. For instance I have the ICC- click for an example sections all in separate series and Ruby Sanctum in another.

And one for the WOW server alerts (the bit on the left when you login into WOW) the plugin is called WOW Breaking News.

Hope these help you all.

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 Post subject: Re: Tips on self-hosting including recommended plugins
PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:41 pm
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Location: Louisiana
Server: Blackrock (US)
I know this is an old topic, but thanks so much for recommending the Related Posts plugin.

I've been wanting to include related posts for a while now, but I honestly had no idea that this was actually a PLUGIN! For some reason I thought this was something the blogger maintained on their own and shuddered at the thought of having to go back and retroactively add all those to my posts (yeah, I know, I'm a blogging noob). The settings were also very easy to figure out for this noob. :)

Thank you again for all the valuable information!

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