3 Things to Look Out For With WordPress 1-Click Installs

by Martin Malden

The 1-click installation service offered by most hosting providers for various applications is wonderful.

In particular, it’s opened up self-hosted WordPress blogging to a whole tribe of people who might have baulked at the manual installation.

But there are some things to keep in mind.

And please don’t take these as criticisms – they’re not, because most of them have plus sides.

An important point to start with: the way your hosting provider sets up and manages the 1-click installation scripts affects every point that follows.

Character set

WordPress uses and recommends the character set UTF-8. However some Fantastico installations have used Latin in the past and this can cause problems with some themes.

I first realised this during the testing of Thesis 1.5, when some beta testers reported some apparently quite serious problems that were eventually traced to the character set. Turns out they were running Fantastico installations of WordPress, and Fantastico had used Latin.

Chris Pearson and the Thesis development team made the adjustments to accommodate this character set before 1.5 was officially released, but other theme authors may not be so diligent.

Moral of the story:

If you’re having problems with the way stuff is displaid on your site try activating the default WordPress theme. If the problem goes away you know it’s theme related.

You may be able to change the character set (in the WordPress Settings>Reading screen) but it would be worth checking with your hosting provider to make sure it won’t create problems elsewhere.

WordPress version

One of the sites that I’m a member of offers hosting, including 1-click installations of WordPress, as part of its member benefits package.

Unfortunately, the version of WordPress that their script currently installs is WordPress 2.0 – an archaic version in WordPress terms.

Even upgrading from that version is a pain because there was no auto upgrade in those days.

Hosting providers should always keep the version of WordPress their scripts install current, especially if the latest version is a security upgrade.

Moral of the story:

Check the version of WordPress you have as soon as you’ve done a 1-click installation and upgrade if necessary. It’s only a click of a button (from 2.7 on), and it takes about 10 seconds these days.

Themes and plugins

I was helping a friend recently who had just done a 1-click installation and I was showing them how to back up their system files.

Turned out their brand new installation, not even any posts on it yet, had over 2,800 files.

I was puzzled because this site, which has been going for 3 years now, has just under 1500 files on it.

A bit of digging revealed that her hosting provider had included 42 themes and 8 plugins as part of their 1-click install.

This is a definite benefit of you’re new to WordPress and not ready to go hunting for, and manually installing new themes.

But it almost doubled the size of her site, meaning that full site back ups (if she were to do them by FTP-ing everything back to her PC) would take twice as long as they needed to.

We deleted everything but the theme she was using and the default theme, reducing the bloat on the site by nearly 50% right off the bat.

Moral of the story:

Check to see if your installation has lots of themes and plugins already installed.

If you know what you want (in both cases) delete the pre-installed ones to reduce bloat and install the themes and plugins you want.

If you don’t know what you want, then leave things as they are. Once you’ve made up your mind on your themes and plugins you can blitz the rest.

If you have other tips or hints relating to 1-click installs (good experiences or problems) leave us a comment!

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