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Question about CMS

Hey guys,

I need some insight on what exactly a CMS is used for. First let me tell you my situation, so you can better judge if a CMS would suit my needs.

I want to make a website with tutorials. The homepage would link to tutorial categories. Each category would have its own page with the previews of the each tutorial in that section. Then each tutorial would have its own individual page.

Now my question is, would I have to manually create an html file for each tutorial page or could I get a CMS to do that for me after feeding it the content (text/images)?

If I should use a CMS for this purpose, can I install and use one while building my site offline, or would I have to pay for a web server and install it on there just to experiment with it?

Thanks in advice for any help.


Active Member
Hi Monroe,

This sounds like an ideal situation for Wordpress, infact the vast majority of tutorial based sites are run as Wordpress blogs, using categories and posts in the method that you mentioned.

Wordpress would create the page layout for you, so for example you can style and customise the layout to suit, and then the common elements are used, eg. header, navigation, sidebar and footer, being the main ones. You would then be adding your content in the admin area using a very easy WYSIWG editor.

So yes, I'd definitely recommend Wordpress for this one, and I think you can install it offline but you would need a local test server, if you're not familiar with that then build it online and use the Wordpress setting to block search engines until you're happy to launch it :)

Hope that helps,
Thanks for the quick replies guys. I really appreciate it.

So it seems Wordpress is the way to go then. I have a router and keep my computer on 24/7 so would it be possible to turn my computer into a test server for free?


Active Member
That could be an option, but most free hosts will have a ton of adverts, I'd just buy some hosting, it's so cheap now, especially in the States! You can probably pick up a basic hosting account (with a one click Wordpress install) for $6/month :)
Wow I'm not getting the hang of mySQL at all. I downloaded wordpress and unzipped it. Now I'm trying to edit the wp-config-sample.php file but I don't know what to put.

I signed up real quick at 000webhost.com and got my html and css files uploaded and the site looks fine. But when I go to the control panel to try and create a new mySQL database, it says:


Unable to create the database a6102266_wordp, please try to give a different name to it or try again later. (please notify our staff if you got this error)

I've tried a million different names and it won't create any of them so I'm stuck.


give the database a name like wordpressdatabase, don't use any spaces or underlines, or something like that. Also remember to change the file name of wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php otherwise it won't work.


Active Member
Sounds like an error with ther MySQL server, looks like you'll need to contact them or try again later.
(Chris, I'm guessing the 'a6102266' is the user number/id for the hosting account, rather than a name inputted)
It will only let me enter up to 7 characters for the database name, the names I tried were wp, word, wordp, wordpre, monroe, wpdata, etc. None of them worked for me.

And Greg you're correct, the 'a6102266' is the user id the host gave me, not something I chose.

I just tried again right now and it finally allowed me to create a database named 'wordpre'. Now I can finally make some progress.
I would rather not use a template at this point. I'm not creating this site to be as successful as A List Apart or net.tuts+. The main reason I'm creating it is so that I have a working website to manipulate as I teach myself web design. I've only been at this for about a month now.

I started off with XHTML and constructed my homepage. Then I moved on to CSS and learned how to style the homepage in an external style sheet. I dabbed a little in JavaScript but after playing with it a bit I decided it's not my main concern right now.

So at the moment I just have a CSS-styled homepage with links that go nowhere. I was going to start creating the other pages that would hold the tutorials and realized there had to be an easier way.

That's where this thread sprouted from. I just want to incorporate MySQL into the (one page so far) website that I already have and continue to alter and expand it as my knowledge grows, rather than using a template and just "filling in the blanks".

At this point I've uploaded the wordpress.zip through my File Manager and altered the lines of code pertaining to my host name, user, etc. Not sure where to go from here.
Thanks to the both of you for your insight. I think I'm really getting the hang of CMSes, well Wordpress at least. I started rebuilding my site through WP and it is much easier as far as managing content goes (needless to say). What I don't like is that you have to pay to customize the stylesheet or even add your own, and you can only use the 107 themes they provide, rather than the thousands that people have created.

The site I'm building now is through WP, as I said above. Previously I tried using a free web host called 000webhost and installing/utilizing WP through their host. I managed to install WP and make it to the dashboard, but making new pages didn't actually make new pages, they led to an error page.

I had already set up the mySQL database and alter the wp-config.php file, but I'm not sure if it was connected to the WP properly or not. Any thoughts on this?

Here is the link to the current site I'm building through WP. Most of the links are fillers as of now, not too much content: The Inspired Designer


Active Member
Hi Monroe,
A Content Management System is exactly what it says on the tin. You have a handful of pages and an admin area, the admin area lets you easy add content that then gets made into the site.

We specailise in Joomla based sites. Joomla to be fair is a pretty good CMS with ecommerce and over 3000 add-ons or something like that.

Now CMS's have pro's and cons and it's up to you really.
These pro's and con's relate to Joomla bare in mind.

1) Development time is quick,
2) Allows you to do things that either you don't know how to or would take hours.
3) Are easy to use, (Once you know how, normally a step learning curve first)
4) Allows you to implament custom add-ons, facebook like links, twitter intergration, mailchimp intergration in super fast time rather than having to code it up yourself.
5) The ability to add a particular CMS to your CV which can open up more jobs for you.
6) Can charge more for a bespoke system that allows the client more control

Con's: (Bare in mind I'm biased to not using a CMS)
1) Code bloat. Joomla's main HTML ouput is tables for layout and unless you want to rewrite all the core files which will get overridden when updates come out your kinda stuck.
2) A lack of know how into what your doing if you don't know how to do it first. Now good coding techique's says you should know where the flaws are in your code to keep track of data and thus holes for hackers to get in etc....
3) A false sense of security as again you don't know it yourself.
4) Easier to be found by hackers via an internet search.
5) Less info to add to your CV as you relie on CMS's doing it for you.
6) Custom code can be hard to add if you can't read the code yourself.
7) Means clients can do more and don't come back to you.

Persoanlly I think, and how I did it, learn how to build your own first not that hard than learn all the other sides of web development then when you have that under your belt learn CMS's of your choice. From my experiance Joomla tend to be done by proffesional web dev companies where as wordpress are done more by freelancers.

Again that is from my experiance all the web dev jobs I have seen advertised allways wanted someone fulent with Joomla or have the ability to do it yourself never seen a web dev, or maybe only one position saying they wanted a word press specialist, but I could be wrong and it may just be the jobs I've seen advertised.

My sites I do personally are never done via a free CMS and if the site requires it I create a personalised one for that site. But it's all down to your needs/the needs of the client/company you work for. :)

Hope it helps. :)
Thanks for the advice Jazajay. I've only tried Wordpress so far, and although I like the idea of it, it sort of feels like cheating just because everything is so easy. So I might try my hand at creating a CMS from scratch. But isn't that like re-inventing the wheel? Wouldn't it be smarter to reuse code that works from previously made ones?

I haven't tried Joomla yet but I've seen references to it all over place. I might give it a try just to see what it looks like.


Active Member
Well that depends on you and what you want to do. Creating one from scratch lets you see why things have to be done in a certain way, which when it comes to ecommerce site is very important.

But if you use the free ones and you see something on another site that's good and there is no extension for doing it for your CMS you either have to put up of try and create it yourself. Now creating it yourself may just not be as easy as creating it job done, I can assure you.

One of my recent jobs was to fix a flaw in one of the Vituemart form's, that's the ecommerce side of Joomla. The problem is if one or two fields are all ready in the db the form will execute give an error but wipe the form, now if you don't know the code behind it your stuck.

However I wrote a script using Ajax that checked the db and stopped the form from executing until the fields where different from that in the DB. Then came the challenge of finding which files needed changing as it is really not clear cut as o that's it job done.

If you code it your self then adding features can be a dodle but I also find it gives me more ideas on things I could add at the same time and not just have to put up with what everone else has got access to.

I have a mate who's tried to run a sextoy website and now a fancy dress site. He uses free CMS's and phoned me up asking me if I can add stuff to it, and all the things it needs to work suck, no SEF URL,s autious coding and surprisingly he has been hacked twice so.....

But it is entirely down to you and what you need and how you look at CMS.
Wordpress, Joomla or another one might be right for you and your needs where as it wouldn't be for me.:)