Troubleshooting the Famous 5-Minute WordPress Installation (Part One)

WordPress LogoThe short story. The famous 5-minute WordPress installation took six hours.

The details. Those of you in the know will know that as well as signing up to WordPress to host your blog, you can download the WordPress application and use it as a content management system to host your own website and/or blog.

This is what they say:

‘With our famous 5-minute installation, setting up WordPress for the first time is simple.’

So. As I am a web developer, I’d built my own website (it’s called Screenwriting Resources in case you’re interested) and I was looking for ways to spice it up a bit. Adding a WordPress blog seemed an obvious thing to do, especially with the famous 5-minute WordPress installation. To be fair, if you’ve done the prep work, you’ve got all the required elements in place, and you’re familiar with the general idea of database-backed websites, you can probably get a default installation up and running in under half an hour.

Where I really ran into trouble was when I started to try to customise the thing. The first change was to switch to ‘pretty urls’. That broke all the links. An hour or so later and I’d removed the entire application, including the database tables, and installed 3.0.1 instead (figuring that the 0.1 had fixed the broken link thing). It didn’t. By the way if there’s any of y’old WordPress folks out there reading this, a ‘famous 5-minute un-installation’ process would be a useful addition.

It took quite a bit more head-scratching to notice the ‘you need to update your htaccess file’ message, discreetly tucked away at the top of the page.  And even longer to work out that there was no htaccess file to update (in this I was hampered by my desktop Windows machine, but even so). I was going to have to create one.  That bit, at least, was easy, and fixed the links problem. But there was worse to come.

To be continued…

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