The New Dram

Well, it’s done. A Fine Dram is now a self-hosted1 blog. After two and a half years floating around the internet on various hosting services and platforms the site is now free. I started the Dram on in February of 2009 and went through Squarespace, Tumblr and Posterous before finally taking the big step of doing my own installation.

The current iteration of the site is running on a Bitnami Wordpress installation on an Amazon EC2 micro instance. In English? It’s a Wordpress-powered blog running on a small virtual server. The process of getting the server, and the blog, up and running has been very educational. I am still just a little surprised that I was able to get it up and running as quickly as I was.

The greatest amount of effort went into designing and coding the new theme for the site. This theme is 100% hand-coded by me, from the PHP templates to the CSS layout and styling. I learned a lot doing it that way not least of which is a great respect for web designers who do this stuff every day.

There are a few ‘tweaks’ that I still need to work on. The Archives page is still giving me trouble so it won’t make an appearance for a bit. And I haven’t settled on a Twitter auto-posting plug-in yet, so I’ll be tweeting about new posts manually2 for the time being. The biggest thing is probably going to be ongoing: I have to go back through all of the old posts and edit code to make sure the embedded media still works. And a lot of ‘junk posts’ are getting deleted.

But, I am finally happy enough with it to release it into the wild. For your edification, I have some screenshots that I grabbed during the process of installation and customization.

The Wordpress stack is installed:

Bitnami Wordpress Installed

The posts got imported and tested:

Testing in Chrome

I installed an instance of Wordpress on my MacBook Pro to code and test the theme. This is still very early in the process, just after I added the ‘loop’ to the Index.php file:

Loop Added = CONTENT!

Finished coding the 404 page:

404.php coded

Beginning to work on the CSS:

Starting on the CSS

And done:


  1. The ‘self’ being me. ↩

  2. Ultimate first-world problem. ↩