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