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Answering questions on installing blog software, server requiements and blog consultants

Another installment of the "Dear Blogmeister" series of weblog Q&A

Dear Blogmeister:

I am a non-technical person who has created a web site that I'd like to enhance by adding blogs. My problem is that, even though I've downloaded MySQL and PHP, I can't install them because I don't have a web server (IIS or Apache) and, for the life of me, get overwhelmed at all of the technical jargon that is on those sites so give up on trying to download that software. Please help!

My questions are:
1. Is there a simple, one-step software that I can download and install to get blogging capabilities?
2. If there isn't a one-step software, who do I turn to to help me figure it all out?
3. How much memory would I need, potentially, if for instance I want to open the site to allow 10,000 people to blog.

Awaiting your technical input,
Serverless in San Antonio

Dear Serverless:

Good questions.  Blog software is pretty easy, blog consultants prevalent, and server space a non-issue, so here goes.

1. You can download and install Movable Type or WordPress for blogging.  I recommend Movable Type.  There are others, but they are not as well supported.  Also, you can engage a hosted service like TypePad, but it might not meet your goals of having other bloggers on your site.

2. Who do I turn to for help figuring it all out?'  There are a number of weblog consultants out there.  You can find a list here:  http://www.businessblogconsulting.com/consultants/index.html

3. How much space for 10,000 blogs?  Think about the math of this one a bit.  Let's say that 1 blogger writes 5 posts a week for 52 weeks - that's about 260 posts per year.  Some will post less, some more, but let's use that at an average.  Personally, I've posted 1000 times in just under three years, so I'm not too far from the average.   

The full Movable Type blog install is less than 10MB, and each blog post is roughly 30KB, with the archive index pages, such as the index for each of them months, reaching 500KB, a year's worth of blog posts if you had monthly archives, a dozen or so category archives, and the individual archives would require about 33MB of space per blogger, per year. 

In reality, it's less than that due, in large part, to the variance in blog post sizes.  In the end, for 10,000 bloggers, you'd need less than 400 MB of space per year.  Now, you may have images and some other items in there, but the point of the matter is that blogs are pretty lightweight.

Server power is not all that much of an issue either.  Six Apart, Movable Type's parent company, does not have many requirements on servers except to say that you can use the following operating systems, servers, and databases with Movable Type. 

Operating Systems:
Mac OS X
Windows Server

Web Servers:
Microsoft IIS

Berkeley DB

The other alternative to installing your own is to go with a Six Apart partner host.  You can find a list of these at http://www.sixapart.com/partners/current

Happy Blogging,

Posted by Dana VanDen Heuvel in Putting Blogs to Work | Permalink


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