IndieWeb Logo

Last week I finally got around to reactivate my web presence after taking a break for a little while. This time I decided to go with WordPress and the whole setup process was a lot easier than initially thought (actually the most difficult part was figuring out the WordPress user interface). Here’s a quick rundown of what I did to become an IndieWeb citizen.

Signing up with DigitalOcean for hosting

I could have chosen a dedicated WordPress hosting service, but I wanted to see how the process changed compared to when I last had a WordPress installation running ten years ago.

Where DigitalOcean stands out is their documentation and community. For a semi-technical person like me, I knew that I probably could find answers and tutorials for any problems arising.

Installing WordPress made easy

Like most hosting companies, DigitalOcean happen to have a one-click installer for WordPress which is of course much easier than uploading and managing files via FTP like it used to be in the olden days.

All I had to do was to follow DigitalOcean’s WordPress tutorial where they explain the setup process in more detail.

Mapping the domain to DigitalOcean using CloudFlare

My domain registration is with iwantmyname, but for DNS hosting I use CloudFlare because I wanted to test out some of their features a while ago and stuck with them. Since it’s always the nameserver provider who is responsible for making changes to DNS settings, I had to add the A record pointing to my server at CloudFlare.

Setting up SSL with Let’s Encrypt

Every site should be encrypted these days which has become easy thanks to Let’s Encrypt. And again, DigitalOcean has a guide ready that was a breeze to follow:

How To Secure Apache with Let’s Encrypt on Ubuntu

It was the first time I’ve set up an SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt, and I didn’t expect the process to be that fast and easy. All up it took maybe 15 minutes before I could access the site via https.

Making the site the IndieWeb-ready

In addition to using my personal domain instead of writing on Medium, posting to Twitter/Facebook there are a few additions you can make to WordPress to make it part of the IndieWeb which is a “people-focused alternative to the corporate web”.

  1. Add the IndieWeb plugin to WordPress
  2. Install a compatible theme, e.g. SemPress
  3. Connect external services to Bridgy
  4. Check your setup using IndieWebify.Me

What makes this setup different is that it allows you to post on your site first but also pull in replies, likes, etc. from other sources. For example, I can post a status update, photo or article on my site and if people interact on Twitter/Facebook, it will show up as a response here.

I’m just starting out with my IndieWeb setup, but I hope it will give you a first idea of the possibilities and also raise awareness of the project. You should give it a go yourself!

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