In our last article we looked at options you should consider when choosing a blog server. A good place to start when setting up your own blog server is with a file-based blogging server. In the following walk-through, we are going to look at how to get the Pivot blog server up and running.

To start, you will need to download the latest Pivot installation files. All of the files for this project are hosted on SourceForge and you can download the most current version from here.

Editor’s note:

The latest full release is version 1.15, but there is a beta available for version 1.2 if you would like to try out some of the new features,

Once you have downloaded the zip file, you will need to unpack these files and upload them to your Web server. We tested Pivot with both Windows/IIS and Linux/Apache and both platforms worked well.

After you upload the files to your Web server, you will need to make sure that the permissions are set correctly so that Pivot can read and write files and folders. On the Linux/Unix platform, chmod the directory so that you have 777 permissions. On Windows, make sure that the directory has read/write/execute permissions.

With the permissions out of the way, the next step to get Pivot up and running is to set up the Administrator user. Point your browser to the location where you uploaded the Pivot files and you should see a page like the one shown below in Figure 1:

Figure 1: Administrator user setup

You will need to enter a user name and password for the administrator, as well as an e-mail address and nickname. When you are finished entering this information, click the “Proceed to login” button to continue on to the Pivot home page, shown below in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Pivot home page

The home page contains links to all of the different functions you can use to create and maintain your blog(s). If you would like to see what your Web log will look like, click the link marked “Test Weblog” in the left-hand column to view the blog using the standard template, as shown below in Figure 3.

Figure 3: The sample blog template

From the pivot home page you can post to your blogs, modify your personal settings, manage graphics and more. To administer your Pivot server, you will need to click on the Administer link in the left-hand column to open the administration page shown below in Figure 4:

Figure 4: Administration options

From the administration page you can create users, categories, blogs and configure template settings. And if you would like to create your own templates, Pivot has standard “starter” templates available for download from their Web site. These templates are the bare bones for your Pivot-based blog, as shown below in Figure 5 and allow you to build up from there.

Figure 5: A sample template

Pivot also supports Web standards for syndication, including RSS and Atom feeds from the blogs, comments, WYSIWYG editing and more.

So if you are looking for a robust blog server that is easy to install, configure and customise, you should have a look at Pivot. In addition to a robust feature set that rivals commercial offerings, you can be up and running in minutes.