Setting up WordPress on 1&1

I just want to get down a few notes on setting up WordPress on 1&1, my web host. 1&1 has something called “click & build” that lets you do a quick setup of WordPress, or Drupal, or Joomla, or a bunch of other stuff. First, I should say that there’s no reason I couldn’t have done the setup manually — creating a MySQL database, then unzipping the WordPress files into a folder in my web space, and running the regular WordPress install. I’ve done that before, in other environments, and I don’t think it would have been hard to do with 1&1.

But I decided to try the click & build option. When you first go into that section in the 1&1 admin, you have options for three kinds of installs – basically an eval install, a “safe” install, and a “free” install. I skipped the eval install. I had heard that it wasn’t terribly useful, unless you just want to set up a simple temporary install that you’re going to tear down later. So I started with the “safe” option. In that option, 1&1 locks down a few things, and gives you a basic WordPress install that will (supposedly) be automatically kept up to date. Poking around a bit, I didn’t see anything too unusual about it. It includes a special WordPress module that, I guess, is used to handle the automatic updates. After messing with that for a little bit, I went back and converted it to a “free” install. This wasn’t too difficult, but it did involve moving the SQL data to a different database. (I guess it was in a shared database before.) So, with that done, I had an unlocked WordPress install that was pretty reasonable. I used that for testing, and still have it set up, but I decided to start fresh for my “production” install.

For the final install, I went straight to a new “free” install. With a new “free” install, you’re prompted for a lot of the same things that the normal WordPress installer prompts for, but it’s all done in the context of the 1&1 admin interface. Once you’ve answered all the questions, then 1&1 chugs away for a few minutes, and, at the end, you’ve got your WordPress install.

I think it worked out pretty well, and I have a reasonably standard and up-to-date WordPress install in place now. If you go out to Google and look for opinions on the 1&1 click & build experience, most of what you’ll find is pretty negative. Many of the posts I found on this were pretty old, though, so I’m guessing that 1&1 has improved the experience over time. And some of them were just expressing frustration with the “safe” install, in cases where that obviously wasn’t the right choice. The one fairly balanced, and fairly recent, review I found is here. A lot of what he writes doesn’t really apply to me, since I’m a long-time 1&1 customer, on a plan that’s probably not available to new users. So, as long as things keep working for me, there’s no compelling reason for me to switch to anyone else.

So that’s my long and exciting post about the experience of setting up WordPress on 1&1. Next up, I want to post some notes about my experience with the Blogger importer.


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