So, you want to build a website. You start searching around internet how to do it as quickly and painlessly as possible. At the same time, your page must be fast. Blazing fast. There are two popular options: static site generators and WordPress. After hours of fighting with static site generators, you decide to check that awful, slow WordPress.
WordPress, over the years, has been labelled as slow and full of security holes. In reality, core WordPress, the clean one, is quite fast and secure. Most of the time, slowness and vulnerabilities came from plugins that were adding the ability to build style the WYSIWYG method. With the release of version 5.0, slowly those plugins are no more required. But first, let’s back a little to installing WordPress in the first place.
WordPress install my way
To install WordPress, you need to have access to some kind of server with working PHP. Basically, any hosting company offers such server. Or you can buy VPS and set up the whole stack by yourself.
I already have my own server, which I use to host different services. In my case, it was as simple as go to Docker Hub. Copy provided there recipe for docker-compose, change to beta version of WordPress (about that in a minute) and voilà my site is almost ready. Just needed to finish second stage of installation process (site name and my login details).
Why I chose beta version and not stable? Sadly, Full Site Editing is currently in development process, but should be released soon, anytime this month.
Full Site Editing
You keep repeating this phrase Full Site Editing, but what actually it is? At the beginning, I told you about those bad plugins that slowed down WordPress. They had one key, important feature – an easy, point-and-click way of building almost any site you wanted, as long as it looked like the most basic Bootstrap template. Many of the paid themes were based on them, and even many of the professional developers build sites using them. Sadly for WordPress developers, they were the first one to blame for anything that went wrong with those plugins.
So they started a project for a new page editor in WordPress called Gutenberg. This introduced blocks. The most atomic element of the page. If you every wrote something on Medium, Gutenberg editor looks kinda similar. On the start there is a big empty space with blinking cursor on one side and on the opposite, a plus icon. You can start typing your text or press plus to add different types of content and layout elements. In the backend, all of that is translated to HTML, with inline comments helping the editor. That was just the first stage, the ability to easily create post and pages with any layout you want. The end goal is to be able to build a whole site – Full Site Editor.
This site was built in about 20 minutes using this tool. It’s very minimal, as you can see. It uses a default, Twenty Twenty-Two WordPress theme, but thanks to this new way of creating pages in WordPress it has my personal twist and looks unique. There is more to that. I don’t have any extra plugins installed beside those that came with WordPress. On top of that, default themes have very good accessibility, especially compared to paid themes, and I get the benefit of frequent updates and very long term support.
Okay. My site isn’t the most feature rich. It doesn’t even have a menu at the top. I don’t need it right now. It will grow with me, and that is something that WordPress will allow me to do very easily anyway. So don’t be scared of WordPress and try to use it as vanilla and modern as you can. I promise you, you will be rewarded.
If you want to read about some more technical aspects of hosting and building a site on WordPress, just drop a comment here or on Fediverse.