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56 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 62968 18-Jun-2010 09:11 Send private message

First apologies if this is not the correct forum.

I am keen to learn website design - purely as a personal thing and not for any commercial purposes (at this stage anyway).  I use Linux(Mint) on my home machine but would not classify myself as an Advanced or probably even an Intermediate User.

I am keen to learn to use Joomla for Web Design and at the same time gain an understanding of Administering my own Server...so I am ambitious.I am over 65 and I figure that I need to keep the brain active with new challenges

I have a number of spare PCs at home and thought I'd start by setting one up as server using something like Ubuntu Server Edition. I'd then install Joomla and use this "offline" server as a training tool.

Eventually I would either like to transfer my site to a hosting site - preferably where I can maintain the site using Joomla there. I understand there are several around. Alternatively I may host my own site on the server used for training provided I am sure that I am capable of keeping it secure.

Is what I am proposing doable and can anyone suggest any issues/problems that they feel I need to consider in this project.


[Mod (N8): Please don't type all in capitals]

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296 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 342905 18-Jun-2010 10:18 Send private message

Personally I wouldn't bother about mucking around with your own servers at home as if web designing is your goal then focus on that rather than having to manage servers.  Instead you should sign up with a hosting service like Host Gator's Web Hosting plan (http://www.hostgator.com/shared.shtml) or Media Temple's GRID service (http://mediatemple.net/webhosting/gs/).

I would recommend you look at Host Gator first as it's control panel is probably easier to use than Media Temple's plus it's cheaper than Media Temple.  Host Gator's baby plan is great value and provides you with unlimited domains so you can create as many sites as you want.

Unless you've got your heart set on Joomla, you might want to check out WordPress as well (http://wordpress.org/) - It's great for building both blogs and websites, plus there are literally thousands of plugins and a massive community of users.  

Finally, Host Gators control panel provides you the ability to install both Joomla and WordPress in a matter of seconds and provides full database and file system management.




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  Reply # 342916 18-Jun-2010 10:37 Send private message

I would say Wordpress as well, it's just hit version 3. Drupal would be my 2nd choice.

I think setting up your own dev machine is a good idea and when you want to make the site live go for the Host Gator. I find having my own dev machine makes developing things faster.

But I'm hardly an Intermediate User, so having my of dev machine means I'm not so worried about messing up the host with some infinite loop that makes a GB size file or eats all the processor power.

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  Reply # 342935 18-Jun-2010 11:11 Send private message

Hi, I do a lot of stuff with Joomla. I can also vouch for hostgator as a good place to get started.

I do it a couple of ways. I have a laptop running xmapp which gets me an offline webhost on my Windows 7 laptop. I also have a host online in the States. The home part is free so that is a good place to get started.

Now for the Joomla part. Joomla is pretty powerful from a content management perspective however being open source it is not always plain sailing. There are loads of components and modules which enhance the basic functionality of Joomla.

The real problem is that being open source a lot of the add-ons that developers make don't often play nicely either with your templates or with add-ons. I can be quite frustrating at times as it can be very time consuming nailing down what part of the website is causing issues (template, component, module, plugin etc....)

However, I enjoy working with Joomla and the Joomla community are generally very helpful. Learning CSS would probably save you some heartache as most issues are around the CSS side of things.

Cheers! Matt.




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  Reply # 343128 18-Jun-2010 20:45 Send private message


I do it a couple of ways. I have a laptop running xmapp which gets me an offline webhost on my Windows 7 laptop.


Just a correction to save any confusion, that should be "Xampp"

It gives you a PHP environment with MYSQL on your local PC, that is ideal for mucking around in and installing things like Joomla into

I've done a bit of Joomla work. If you are starting from scratch the learning curve is reasonably steep as there is a lot to get your head around - it's a very flexible CMS. However it's well worth it. Definitely some php knowledge is helpful also

I'd also vote for HostGator or something similar. I'd suggest using fantastico on your Hostgator account, and let it do a default install for you. This will allow you to get to know the application first. You can then delete it all, and ftp a new install up, so you can get your head around what the setup process is like.

As has been said previously, there is plenty of support around in the Joomla community

Cheers
Andrew

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Vodafone NZ

  Reply # 343138 18-Jun-2010 21:33 Send private message

I recommend Wordpress. Have been using it for my site for the past 4 years.




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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 343141 18-Jun-2010 21:53 Send private message

I have had experience with CMS systems too and I didn't really like what Joomla offered, Drupal would be my first choice, Word Press my second




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  Reply # 343151 18-Jun-2010 22:37 Send private message

There are a lot of recommendations here but not a lot of explanation, so i thought id chip in.

Wordpress - Its a good place to start, because it is one of the most intuitive content management systems out there. This being said it is designed to be a blog engine not a fully fledged site.

Joomla - Joomla is a fully fledged content management system which can be adapter in almost whatever way you like. It is very flexible, powerful and has a huge community backing. If you are looking to do a full website (rather than blog) i would recommend it.


Hosting:

I started out quite a few years ago by going with one of the hosts like Host Gator. They talk big (Unlimited data, unlimited space, unlimited everything) but everything is hidden in the terms. You cannot use the host as a unlimited resource like it implies. Personally if i was you i would chose a simple and cheap plan where the barriers are clearly defined and the speeds are generally better.

Alternatively if you are only having a play i could happily host you for free.

If you need any help or would like to take me up on my offer feel free to pm/email me any time, i don't mind helping out anyone in this area as it is a hobby of mine.

1163 posts

Uber Geek


  Reply # 343164 18-Jun-2010 22:59

ArcticSilver: There are a lot of recommendations here but not a lot of explanation, so i thought id chip in.

Wordpress - Its a good place to start, because it is one of the most intuitive content management systems out there. This being said it is designed to be a blog engine not a fully fledged site.

Joomla - Joomla is a fully fledged content management system which can be adapter in almost whatever way you like. It is very flexible, powerful and has a huge community backing. If you are looking to do a full website (rather than blog) i would recommend it.


Hosting:

I started out quite a few years ago by going with one of the hosts like Host Gator. They talk big (Unlimited data, unlimited space, unlimited everything) but everything is hidden in the terms. You cannot use the host as a unlimited resource like it implies. Personally if i was you i would chose a simple and cheap plan where the barriers are clearly defined and the speeds are generally better.

Alternatively if you are only having a play i could happily host you for free.

If you need any help or would like to take me up on my offer feel free to pm/email me any time, i don't mind helping out anyone in this area as it is a hobby of mine.


I would backup what you said about 'unlimited'. These hosts don't trade in NZ, so they can probably get away with advertising that way, but I can tell you that it is not unlimited, and is why web hosts in NZ don't tend to advertise in that way. If you begin using more than your fair share of resources, they will contact you to move you to a VPS or dedicated environment. Also hosting on those types of plans, you website can load very very slowely, depending on how many other thousand websites are on your server, and how much server resources (CPU and memory) they are using. 

I would suggest silverstripe as a CMS. It is also run from NZ.



56 posts

Master Geek


Reply # 346057 28-Jun-2010 14:56 Send private message

Thanks guys.

I had a look at Silverlight but I'm not sure thats the way I want to go. I quite like Drupal and will still consider Joomla. I'll also look at Wordpress but it sounds that it may be too limited for me ...hmmmm...maybe thats the way it should be??

Thanks for the info on hosting and even the offer to host for free. However I would still like to dabble with my own server so that I can understand a bit more about what is invloved. There is no great hurry for me to plunge right in as I am mainly doing it as a hobby project.

I still have some more investigation to do but the information you all provided has helped a lot.

Expect to see me back asking questions as things develop

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