How to Guides, News, Windows Home Server

Host a WordPress Blog on Windows Home Server

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As I know all too well, blogging can be a great way to share your thoughts with the world, as well as to connect with like-minded (or opposite minded) people all over the world for discussion and debate. Whilst the bigger blogs out there in the world are hosted on dedicated servers that have the bandwidth and connection speeds to support many thousands of simultaneous users, if you’re just starting out, your home server provides a great platform from which to host your blog. Best of all, it’s free, too!

There are a variety of popular blogging applications available for free on the Internet, but WordPress is the king of them all. We Got Served is run on WordPress, (although we don’t host it on a home server) as are million of other sites around the world. It provides a great content management system for writing, editing and publishing your posts, an ecosystem of themes to create fantastic new looks for your blog as well as tons of plugins which can greatly extend WordPress’ core feature set. Once you start working with WordPress, you won’t want to stray!

Installing WordPress, and the associated database files and scripting languages required to run it, would usually be a laborious job, requiring a lot of detailed knowledge and a healthy amount of time. Fortunately, the Windows Home Server developer community have come up trumps with a number of add-ins which make the process a lot easier. That said, there are potential pitfalls along the way, as you’ll be making a number of changes to Windows Home Server’s website settings, so make sure you follow our guide step by step and you’ll have your blog up and running in no time. Let’s get started!

1. Install PHP On Your Home Server

Before installing WordPress, we need to install a number of additional enabling files which WordPress needs to run. The first is a scripting language, PHP. PHP, along with the popular database application MySQL, powers a huge number of websites, including many of your favourites, I’m sure. (This one for a start!) Last year, Nigel Wilks and Drashna collaborated on an add-in for Windows Home Server which installs PHP on your home server with little interaction required from the user. We love lazy, so first up, visit mediasmartserver.net and download WHS PHP Installer.

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The add-in arrives in a .zip package, so unzip the files and you’ll find the Windows Home Server add-in file (.msi) and a readme text file. Copy the add-in file over to your home server’s Software/Add-ins shared folder.

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Next, log-in to your Windows Home Server Console and head over to Settings, then click the Add-ins tab, and finally the Available tab, where you should see the WHSPHP add-in waiting for you to install. Click the install button, and when prompted, restart the Windows Home Server Console.

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Helpfully, the add-in authors have included the ability to test whether the installation has worked correctly. So, open up your internet browser and go to http://SERVERNAME/test.php (swap SERVERNAME for the name of your own home server). As long as the installation succeeded, you should see the following:

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That’s the first step completed – your home server now runs PHP code. Tell your friends!

2. Install MySQL on Your Home Server

Now that we can run PHP code on our home server, the next step is to get a database installed. WordPress uses the popular MySQL database application to store user and configuration details, posts, links and the rest of your content. Fortunately, there’s an add-in for that, and we turn to Nigel and Drashna again, whose MySQL Installer for WHS installs the files we need as well as the phpMyAdmin console, which can be used to administer the database.

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Download and copy to your home server and install the add-in in the same way we installed the PHP add-in earlier.

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Again, once prompted, restart the Windows Home Server Console.

To check whether your installation has been successful, switch back to your web browser, and go to https://SERVERNAME/pma (as before, swap SERVERNAME for the name of your own home server). You’ll see a login screen for the phpMyAdmin console.

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3. Set up a Root Account and Password for phpMyAdmin

Log in to phpMyAdmin with the username “root” and leave the password blank. Once you’ve accessed the phpMyAdmin console, select Change password to create the password for your root account.

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Terry Walsh is the founder of We Got Served. He started the community in February 2007 with a mission to help families, tech enthusiasts everywhere figure out the technology needed to run the modern home and small business. He's the author of a number of guides to Windows, Windows Server and OS X Server and runs his own successful publishing business. Born and raised in Liverpool, England, Terry has been awarded Microsoft's prestigious Most Valuable Professional Award each year since 2008 for his work on We Got Served.
  • I used WordPress and think this is an amazing technical development, but I wonder if it's little more than an exercise?

    Why is this any better than going with a free blog hosted directly at WordPress? Surely the performance would be better, as anyone accessing a WHS-based WordPress from the Internet would be confined to the (usually smaller) upstream bandwidth available from most Internet providers? In other words, unless you're cable, phone or other high-speed internet provider sold you a connection with a high-speed upload rate… anyone visiting your WHS-based blog could get frustrated with how long it took to view a page. Does anyone have one running that we can test?

    • Etoa

      I have done exactly what was described above. The blog has been runing about 6 months now and I have had no complaints. But I have to say that it is a narrowly focused neighborhood blog and averages only about 10 to 15 hits a day although there are days where it may have 100 or more hits. It is runing on an older (but upgraded) HP EX475.

      • Thomas

        I don’t know how you got it working because the “how to” stops at the most important part. All the links don’t work, because windows server with IIS 6.0 doesn’t support any kind of URL rewriting none of my links are working except if a manually add “/index.php/” after my URL but before the link I want to go to. Nothing I’ve looked up can fix this except if I upgraded to IIS 7.0

    • Mike

      I agree with you – hosting your blog on WordPress will take care of a lot of the issues around running and supporting your blog, not least of which is availability!

      Although it certainly is nice to have a local copy of your blog to play around on 🙂

      Andrew

      • Hosting WordPress on you own Home Server has the advantage that you don't have to pay an ISP for hosting or for an SQL database – many ISPs charge for databases – mine does 🙁

  • jackyred

    Fantastic, many thanks for this post !

  • Aileron

    Looks good. I would say the future of the internet may not be as free as it is now. This is a good way to start learning early how to control your own blog. Peace of mind that you control your material is also an advantage.

  • Spain

    It always says
    You are not authorized to view this page

    The URL you attempted to reach has an ISAPI or CGI application installed that verifies user credentials before proceeding. This application cannot verify your credentials.
    Please try the following:

    Contact the Web site administrator if you believe you should be able to view this directory or page.
    Click the Refresh button to try again with different credentials.
    HTTP Error 401.5 – Unauthorized: Authorization failed by an ISAPI/CGI application.
    Internet Information Services (IIS)

    How I can solve it?

  • Minister

    Great!!…. Worked like a charm. Will this work with WHS "Vail"? Any plans for a Vail install?

  • dominicb@tpg.com.au

    I have installed but it only works from the PC that I to home server from. When I vew from any other machine the index.php does not render correctly everything is to the left no images and links do not work. How do I fix I'm sure it's a config thing on the server side.

  • I was browsing the internet looking for some good sites and came across your website. I just wanted to tell you that I think your site has some good stuff and that I have already favorited the page so I can visit again soon! Nice Job!

  • Nicky Stepman

    It was very interesting for me to read the blog. Thank you for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.

    Nicky Stepman

    escorts travel

  • Rick Mathes

    I have tried to update to latest wordpress on my whs, Apparently the only one that works is 2.8.4. Is it possible to use a new version.

  • cga

    I’ve followed all steps above and I’m hosting wordpress on my WHS HP490 with one website running on it
    I just wonder if there is a way to have another wordpress site running on my WHS

    Thanks

  • Mischa402

    I have the same problem! Didi you allready (after 9 months) solve the problem or maybe somebody else who will read this?? Please let someone give a solution!

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