I wrote somewhere that I set-up this website as a diary of our adventures so that our family could follow our meanderings more easily, but as with most such ventures, it seems to have expanded from that basic initial requirement.
I have recently been asked for technical details of this website, as I’m a very non-technical sort of website builder that is difficult question for me to answer, but here goes:
I have used off-the-peg software call WordPress as the basis for this website. It is free software maintained and, I’m told, continually updated by a dedicated band of enthusiasts worldwide. Fortunately that means that I don’t have to know anything about it’s intricacies to be able to use it.
There are two versions of WordPress, which is a bit confusing, actually they both use the same basic software but differ greatly in how they are made available:
WordPress.com is a commercial version. If you don’t have any desire to mess about with software, domains, and hosting this could be the way to go, especially if you only need a small website and don’t wish to bother with the technicals. They do offer a free restricted starter package that is worth trying. You can build larger websites with it but it can get quite expensive, so as I’m a bit of a cheapskate I don’t use it.
WordPress.org is the version I use because it is much more versatile and, for larger sites cheaper to run. Not that this is a large site; yet! One other personal advantage is that the challenge of learning how to set-up and run this site is good brain food, essential for a semi-literate, mentally challenged pensioner such as myself, even if the wheels do fall off occasionally.
To operate this site I have to have somewhere to keep it. In website parlance (just in case you don’t know) this is called Hosting and I currently use a company called HostPresto to host it for me. In practical terms I hire space on one of their servers, no doubt its housed in a big tin air conditioned shed somewhere, but I’ve no idea where. HostPresto also provide one other essential item to me in return for the small annual fee that I pay them, a domain name, that’s basically my website’s address wandering.me.uk which allows it to be found among the billions of other websites scattered around the world.
As I wrote above WordPress is the basic software, it is embellished with Themes that provide the look of the site, just like a dust cover on a book can change and improve the look of a book. I’m using one called Weaver Xtreme as I find it more versatile than most. This versatility also creates more room for adventure, otherwise known as disasters, and also greater doses of brainfood in recovering from them. Did I mention back-ups yet?
In addition to the Theme (Skin, Template) there are things called Plug-ins, these are mini themes that are used to alter the behaviour or appearance of parts of the website, or to add functionality. The good news is that there are thousands to choose from and play with, however some caution is required because using too many will slow the site down.
The twenty-six basic themes and plug-ins that I have used are offered free but paying extra gets more features that may be useful to some. As a certified cheapskate I limit myself to the free versions.
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