Logo Rob Buckley – Freelance Journalist and Editor

Install Movable Type on your site

Install Movable Type on your site

Setting up and running a blog from your own website is easier than you think: just follow Rob Buckley's guide to installing this powerful system

Having your own blog is almost mandatory these days. Although there are many different online blogging services, such as TypePad and Blogger, getting them to behave exactly as you’d like, integrating them with your own site and domain name, and adding on extra functionality is usually impossible, time consuming and expensive. When you’ve got as far as you can with other people’s tech, sometimes it’s better just to do it yourself.

Running your blog from your own web site is actually very easy. Although there are a variety of blogging systems available, the big two – WordPress and Movable Type – are free and very powerful. Which you pick is somewhat a matter of taste, but there are compelling reasons for using both.

Movable Type’s chief strengths lie in its power and versatility. Unlike WordPress which requires a MySQL database, Movable Type can work with PostgresQL, Berkeley, Oracle and flat files. Also, it writes out files to the server’s file system that Apache – or whatever web server you use – can read. That means the database only gets used when MT produces these files, not when users access web pages, reducing stress on the database and speeding up access; the web server can also use its cache to improve performance, something it can’t do if the pages are served up dynamically.

But if you want to use PHP and other server-side includes, that’s fine, too: Movable Type lets you do that and it’s got a dynamic publishing system as well, in case you’d prefer to have pages generated on the fly. All the same, unlike WordPress, you don’t need to know any PHP to use Movable Type, since it uses HTML-like tags to add content to your page templates.

In conjunction with those unique strengths, version 3.3 of Movable Type shares features with other pro-blogging systems, such as a wide range of plug-ins for enhancing functionality, a library of downloadable styles to change your blog’s look, and support for categories, tagging, comments, RSS feeds and trackbacks.

Movable Type’s one big drawback is its reliance on Perl and Perl modules. Although you won’t need to understand Perl to use it, your server will. Step 10 of this tutorial, which runs through Movable Type’s installation process, will confirm whether your server has all the things necessary to run Movable Type.

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