So what is CMS, I hear you cry. CMS is a dynamic Content Management System. Let me start with an example. I am a teacher (I am really) and I would like to setup lessons online so that different classes can download different content depending on what class(es) they are subscribed to. A CMS system would be ideal for this as it delivers specific pages depending on the user.A smart CMS designed especially for schools like Moodle, can deliver courses which can take one of a number of different paths depending on how well a student scores in a particular test.OK so you are not a teacher but a CMS can still be useful in a) reducing the amount of code redundancy and b) allowing you to create virtual web pages that don’t really exist thus allowing multiple pages to be created depending on the user’s request.Just think for a second about your own web pages. You probably have a header, a middle bit and a footer. Now, the header and footer exist on all, or at least most of the pages. It makes more sense to create the header and footer once and then to use a language like PHP to serve them up for every page you want to use them on.Oh no, PHP, I don’t even know what that is, how can I write dynamic web pages“? Well actually I don’t write much PHP code either. There are so many different CMS solutions out there that it seems crazy to reinvent the wheel. A lot of the solutions are free so you are left to setup the cosmetic parts of the web pages.I must admit that when I first started looking at CMS solutions I felt a bit out of my depth. I thought that only an expert would install such a system. When my school asked me to investigate I came across Moodle. It was a breeze installing it and the parts of each page or course are made up of a number of interchangeable modules that you can just drop into the course.After that I decided to try a few others. First was PHPizabi to set up a dating site for a friend. Again it was a breeze and followed similar steps to Moodle. Next I tried phpBB to setup a bulletin board for a site giving away free software. Exactly the same results as the previous couple of attempts.I have also tried setting up Droopal, Joomla, PHP-Nuke and quite a few others. I believe the ones mentioned above are the easiest to setup but most follow a similar number of steps e.g.

  1. Create an SQL database on your server. This is probably the most confusing step so I will talk about it in a little detail.
    • If you have CPanel installed on your server you may well have an option for SQL databases. Click on the icon and select the option to create a NEW database and give it a name.
    • Make a note of the name. You will also need a Username and Password to access the database. If you are not shown what it is from the CPanel it may well be the same username/password combination you use to access the server. If you are in any doubt at all email your server host, don’t be nervous, he has answered this question a hundred times before, that’s his job.
  2. Once you have setup the database, download and unzip the CMS package to your local computer. After this point you will be working in one sitting to get everything setup so if you need a break, now would be a good time to take one.
  3. Upload the contents of the CMS to your server in the usual way using FTP.
  4. Once you have uploaded everything, open your browser and go to the home page of your site (if this is where you installed to). The program goes into setup mode and you answer a number of questions online in order to set everything up.

And that’s it, all done. You will need to setup an administrator account as the first account. That’s why I said the last section needs to be done in one sitting. If you stopped someone else would load up your home page and setup an administrator account for themselves.Make sure you read the instructions for configuring your CMS but I really do urge you to take a look. They are nowhere near as scary as I first thought they were.[amazon_carousel widget_type=”NewReleases” width=”500″ height=”200″ title=”” market_place=”GB” shuffle_products=”False” show_border=”False” browse_node=”” search_index=”Books” /]Mike Atkinson runs an SEO and website design website at http://www.themeetingjunction.comAuthor: Mike D AtkinsonArticle Source: EzineArticles.com

2 Comments

  1. CloudPollen

    I strongly recommend WordPress for any user, beginner to advanced.

    Reply

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