This Site

This site is running on an Apache web server hosted by through an "Advanced" account at about $18/month. This kind of hosted account includes all the libraries necessary to run Movable Type.

The content on the site is managed using Movable Type 2.661, with SixApart's nofollow plugin and Jay Allen's blacklist plugin (both to combat comment spam) as well as Brad Choate's ifempty and textile plugins.

The stylesheets and layout are based on those used on Mike James' weblog.

For security, Movable Type is running inside cgiwrap, though the visible URLs are cleaned up by simple URL rewriting.

How to set up Movable Type at

Every ISP is slightly different. Here are some exact steps you can use to set up Movable Type within an "Advanced" level account.

  1. Grab a version of Movable Type. I use 2.661, which is available for free download once you register a free account at SixApart's Movable Type website. I believe version 2.661 is the last unrestricted free version - there are free 3.x versions that are licensed with minor restrictions that are lifted if you pay for an upgrade. They probably work well, but 2.661 seems very well-supported and so I have not tried the 3.x versions yet.
  2. Create a public_html/cgi-bin directory (spell cgi-bin right!) and unzip all the Movable Type files and directories into that directory. Why put everything into cgi-bin? So that you can use cgiwrap.
  3. Lock down your executables so that they can only be run under cgiwrap by executing "chmod og-rwx *.cgi" inside your public_html/cgi-bin directory.
  4. Create a public_html/mt-static directory, and move the Movable Type docs, images, and styles.css files out of cgi-bin and into this directory. You will also want to create a ~/weblog_db directory for the Berkeley DB files used by Movable Type.
  5. Avoid exposing cgiwrap inside your MT URLs by adding the following two lines inside an .htaccess file in public_html: "RewriteEngine On", "RewriteRule ^mt/(.+).cgi$ cgi-sys/cgiwrap/yourusername/$1.cgi".
  6. Verify that your Movable Type executables work up by running
  7. Edit your public_html/cgi-bin/mt.cfg file to point to the right paths and names as described by the instructions.
  8. And execute to set up everything as described by the instructions, and then be sure to delete mt-load.cgi.
  9. When setting up your weblog, you will want to make sure that your archive URLs are organized in a way you will be happy with, because after you have incoming links you will not want to change them in the future. I have set, in config/archiving/individual archive/archive file template, the archive URL for individual entries to "<$MTArchiveDate format="%Y/%m/%d"$>/<$MTEntryTitle dirify="1"$>.html".
  10. You probably also want to enable pings by default, to enable the trackback feature (config/preferences/allow pings by default). And with comments and trackbacks enabled, you will want to install the blacklist plugin to reduce spam as well as SixApart's nofollow plugin to eliminate the value of spamming in the first place.
  11. Finally, find yourself a good set of templates. In the movable type default layouts, much of the magic is in clever CSS stylesheets. Feel free to use my stylesheet as a guide.
Posted by David on November 30, 2003 | Comments (3)