When you open up a web hosting account and get ready to start on your website, one of the first things that you probably log into is CPanel (or its equivalent). I’ve been using CPanel for years, and I still get giddy when I visit it, and I’m setting up a new website. 5 years ago, I frequently used the ‘1-click’ installations of Joomla and WordPress – many times included either in the Fantastico area of CPanel or the MOJO Marketplace. However nowdays, I shy away from these quick and easy CMS installation scripts. Why? Well because I do not build my sites from scratch, but rather use professional templates.
In the past, CMS templates were pretty straightforward. They often built upon and/or were very similar to the default templates in regards to structure and design. However designers have been stretching the limits in regards to template design. And trust me, this is a very good thing. With these amazing templates, gone are the days when you could load a website and tell the underlying CMS just on appearances.
Because of this increasing complexity and customization in CMS templates, your best option is to install the quickstart package, if it is available, from the template designer. Many times, this quickstart package will re-create the demo of the template on your own domain. Then you get to see the site in the same form that attracted you to it to begin with. If you just install the theme over your existing CMS installation, the result may be a site that will require a lot of extra work in order to replicate the designer’s layout.
Another bonus with the quickstart packages is content. The site will already have sample content populated…often times active in all of the template’s available module/widget positions. Yes, you’ll have to go through and change or delete all this content in order to make the site yours. But it saves you the time of using trial and error to see the look and effect of these various module/widget positions and site features. It is much easier to see them, and then delete and deactivate them than to discover them on your own (trust me).
The one-click installs on CPanel are perfectly fine if you are just testing the CMS, or if you know that you are going to be using either a default template, or template that are similar to the default templates. It’s also a great option if you design your own templates, and you need the CMS up and running quickly….so that you can move on to testing, development, or design.
I wouldn’t suggest installing a CMS manually, although there are those who are fans of it. The big benefit with this is that many times, the 1-click script installers do not give you the latest version of the CMS. You also have more control over your MySQL database setup…and you get nothing “extra” installed when you manually install the CMS as provided straight from the developer.
So in a nutshell, go with the quickstart installation instead of the 1-click install script of your CMS that is provided by your webhost. It makes things much easier in the end….which is ironically, exactly what the 1-click installation script was supposed to do.