How Did I Build This?

This site is a work in progress. It’s a proof of concept I’m working on to provide a digital autobiography and memoir of my life. I’m still modifying many aspects from the design, to the content as well as structure. It will continue to evolve over time.

Below I have provided all of the details regarding the tools and services used to build this site. I want to help anyone else who is considering creating their own version of this site. You can learn much more about this process that I’ve been tracking at my blog.

Domain Name Registration

I register all of my domains through Namecheap which inludes which is used for this site.


I researched many different hosting companies and through that process found that SiteGround was always one of (if not the) top provider. They offer great server speed, excellent support which I’ve experienced first-hand, and extremely competitive pricing. I highly recommend them for your shared hosting needs. They also offer a free SSL certificate with easy configuration which I’m using on this site.

Content Management System

After considering several options I decided that WordPress was the best option for my needs. Even with that choice I focused on finding the right theme and plugins to manage the requirements I had for this website. I also wanted to try and minimize as much development as necessary so I could focus on the content. While it took months of research I believe that I’ve found the right combination of tools to achieve this.

WordPress Configuration

Note: I tried to configure the site as close to my requirements with free tools and in some cases I paid for add-ons that these great free tools to extend their features.

  • Theme
    • OceanWP – After spending countless hours testing over 20 different themes I decided to go with OceanWP for a few reasons. It’s a free theme that provided by far the most granular settings to configure so many aspects of the site that I hadn’t seen provided in other themes. It also works with the Elementor Page Builder (see below) which is another crucial tool I’m using for the site. Lastly they offer reasonably priced add-ons which I purchased to extend the functionality even more.
  • Page Builder
    • Elementor – The addition of a page builder will provide a ton of design and layout flexibility that isn’t offered by the core functionality provided by WordPress. After reading about several different page builders I decided on Elementor. They offer a free version that provides most of the functionality you need which can then be extended by paid upgrades.
  • Plugins
    • FooGallery – I wanted a simple, elegant, and flexible photo gallery and this one provided that for me more than all the others I tested. It’s free and they offer several paid add-ons to extend the functionality
    • Media Library Assistant – I wanted the ability to use categories and tags as additional meta data for the media I add to the site and this plugin provides that ability as well as making those features exposed in the media dialog box when adding assets from anywhere within the site. This provides a much easier way to filter and find media as your site library grows over time.
    • Smart Coundown FX – This was the best counter I could find to easily configure as a plugin which provides the counter on the home page showing my exact age in real-time down to the second.
    • TM Timeline – There are many timeline plugins and services I could have used but this one provided the closest functionality to what I was looking for. It didn’t meet all my needs but was the closest to what I was looking for. I only use it for the excerpts in the Milestone section of the site and link to blog posts for full stories.
    • SG Optimizer – This is a custom plugin created by SiteGround for caching your website.
    • UTubeVideo Gallery – I use this for displaying all Youtube videos on the site. It provides great control including ability to import complete playlists.
    • OceanWP Core Extension Bundle
      • Ocean Elementor Widgets – This extends the Elementor page builder with several features of which the custom blog post widget and carousel I found to be most useful
      • Ocean Sticky Header – This allows the header menu to follow you as you scroll down the page

If you have any question feel free to contact me using the form below:

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