Photography had always been a passion for me, and I was clicking pictures (good and bad) and reading about photography techniques all the time. With the time just right for buying a good camera (read: have enough money), and putting months of research into good use, I finally decided to buy a camera on my own. And what better way to showcase my photographs than a dedicated photoblog?
The first option I considered was WordPress, for obvious reasons. Inverse Karma has been running on WordPress for over a year now, and I’m very comfortable with it. However, WP just didn’t cut it for a simple photoblog, as it had way too many features, as it is originally intended as a blogging CMS platform. My next choice was Pixelpost.
Pixelpost is a very simple photoblog software running on the trusted PHP+MySQL combination. Though it hasn’t been updated in a year now, it still works like a charm. Having hunted down a really nice template for it (Pixelution), I installed it on a subdomain on my website a month ago and started testing it. Having customized the template to my heart’s content – there was one thing left to do – caching.
Caching is the technique of storing HTML copies of your dynamic webpages to speed up retrieval and also to reduce server bandwidth. It works by intercepting the PHP executions and MySQL queries and showing up a previously cached HTML page. It also means navigation between different pages on the website will be extremely fast. This kind of mechanism is already in place on Inverse Karma, thanks to the WP-Super Cache plugin, and I wanted to find an add-on that does the same for ShutterScape.
Sadly, I couldn’t find any add-on to carry out caching in Pixelpost. So I went off, searching for a simple PHP caching solution – and I found PHP Speedy. As the developer puts it, “PHP Speedy is a simple script that you can install on your web server to automatically speed up the download time of your web pages”. It does come with instructions to set it up on any generic PHP page, but confusingly, shows only the download link for the WordPress plugin. I had to do a bit of digging in to the directory listing on the developer’s website to find the download links for the generic version of PHP Speedy. So are we ready to speed up our Pixelpost photoblog?
Download, install and set up Pixelpost.
Download the latest version of PHP Speedy from this page. All files are listed on the page. Look for the file with greatest version number and without the ‘wp’ suffix. Once downloaded, extract it to some local folder.
Inside the folder where you just extracted PHP Speedy, delete the index.php and install.php files. Open config.php in some text editor and add the details as shown in the screenshot and save it. Plan where you are going to install PHP Speedy and make sure you set the correct path in the configuration file. Once you’re done, save it. Then upload the folder to your website.
We’re almost done. All we need to do is to instruct Pixelpost to use PHP Speedy for caching. This requires adding just 2 lines of code in the index.php file in your PP installation directory. Open it in a text editor, and at the beginning of the file, add this line of code. Just replace the example below with the correct path for your website.
At the end of the file, add this line.
Save the file on the server. Lo and behold, your superfast Pixelpost photoblog!