Create a WordPress blog on Windows Server 2008 R2, IIS 7.5 and MySQL

20130502200705I think it is fitting that my first ever post on this WordPress Blog would be about setting up a WIMP server (Windows Server 2008 R2, IIS, MySQL & PHP).

Being a former Windows Systems Administrator I wanted to keep as many components running on familiar Microsoft applications (IIS 7.5 & SQL Server 2008 R2) and found this article explaining how to do it. However, at the time of writing this article I found that the WordPress on SQL Server (wp-sqlsrv) distribution was unavailable* so the only option was to use MySQL. In retrospect I am very happy with this outcome as the process of learning about MySQL has been very enjoyable and so far has proven to be a very stable and easy-to-use database application .

* Please note that the WordPress on SQL Server (wp-sqlsrv) distribution is now available.

The Environment

  • Server: Rackspace Cloud VM running Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Web server: IIS 7.5
  • Database application: MySQL

This blog you are reading is running off the environment above. So far I have found it to be an excellent blogging platform.

Install IIS 7.5

Logically, the first step is to install the web server application, IIS 7.5. From this point onwards I will simply refer to it as IIS.  To do so, perform the folowing steps:

1. Click Start > Run then enter servermanager.msc in the Open dialogue box then click OK  to load Server Manager:

C:\>servermanager.msc

2. Once Server Manager has loaded, right-click on Roles and click Add Roles, which initiates the Add Roles Wizard:

3. Click Next in the Before You Begin section:

4. Select Web Server (IIS) on the Select Server Role section and click Next:

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5. Select the IIS services to be installed on the Select Role Services page. Keep the defaults but also select the CGI check box under Application Development. This enables both the CGI and FastCGI services which is required to use PHP:

6. Click Next and on the Confirmation page click Install.

7. Once the installation has completed, click Start > Run and then enter inetmgr in the dialogue box then click OK to load Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager. This will fire up IIS Manager and you will see IIS running and configured according to the options you selected earlier:

For more information, this article shows how to install IIS 7.5 with default settings and this article shows how add the CGI feature as described above.

Configure IIS 7.5

We now need to configure IIS in preparation for WordPress:

8. Click Start > Run and enter CMD in the dialogue box and then click OK.

9. At the command prompt enter the following and then hit enter on the keyboard:

md C:\Websites\Wordpress

This creates the directory where the new WordPress site will be located.

10. Open IIS Manager and click on Sites.

11. Right-click on Sites and then click Add Web Site:

In the Add Web Site dialogue box enter these details:

  • Name: WordPress
  • Physical path: C:\Websites\Wordpress
  • Bindings: All Unassigned. If your server has multiple IP addresses and you want the site to listen on a specific IP address select it from the drop-down box.
  • Host name: www.yourdomain.name. This should contain the fully-qualified domain name for your blog site.

Once all the sections have been completed click OK. You will now see the WordPress site under the Sites folder.

12. Click on Application Pools and in the middle pane you will see an application pool named WordPress. Right-click on it and select Advanced Settings:

13. Find the setting Enable 32-Bit Applications and click the drop-down box and click True. Click OK to save the settings:

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We will leverage the improved security in IIS 7.5 by utilising ApplicationPoolIdentity. More information about this can be found here.

14. Select the WordPress site in the Connections pane and then double-click Authentication:

15. Select Anonymous Authentication and in the Actions pane on the right side click Edit:

16. Then select Application Pool Identity and click OK:

17. Click Start > Run and then enter CMD in the Open dialogue box then click OK  to load a command prompt enter the following and hit enter:

icacls "C:\Websites\Wordpress" /grant "IIS APPPOOL\Wordpress":(OI)(CI)(RX,W)

This configures the WordPress application pool to have write permissions to the directory where the new WordPress site is located.

IIS is now configured and ready for PHP to be installed!

Install PHP 5.3.10 for Windows

WordPress uses PHP therefore it is the next component to be installed. We require a ‘Non Thread Safe’ version and facilitate the installation we will use the latest version that comes with an ‘Installer’. At the time of writing, version 5.3.10, has an Installer. To proceed, perform the following:

18. Go to http://windows.php.net/download/.  Find version 5.3.10, under VC9 x86 Non Thread Safe, click the Installer version to download it. Click here for a direct download.

19. Once downloaded, run the .msi setup file, click Next at the first screen and accept the EULA (End User License Agreement)  and then click Next again.

20. Keep the default installation directory, which is C:\Program Files (x86)\PHP:

21. At the Web Server Setup step select IIS FastCGI:

22. Install the following features also; Script Executable, Register *.php files to open automatically and PEAR Install:

23. Click Next then Install and then click on Finish to complete the setup:

Install PHP Manager 1.2

PHP Manager is a plugin for IIS that allows you to manage and configure PHP settings and installations.

24. Go to http://phpmanager.codeplex.com/ and click on ‘View all downloads’ and download and install the x64 version.

25. Open IIS Manager and in the Connections pane select the server name. In the middle pane you will see all installed features within IIS. Select and open PHP Manager:

26. Under the PHP Setup section select View Recommendations:

27. Select all of the recommendations and hit the OK button:

Install MySQL

At the time of writing, MySQL 5.5.21, is the most recent version available.

28. Go to http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/mysql/ and download the 64-bit MSI Installer and run the setup (mysql-5.5.21-winx64.msi)

29. Accept the EULA and click Next.

30. In the Choose Setup Type section select Typical and click Next:

31. In the Ready To Install MySQL 5.5 section click Install:

32. When the installation completes ensure Launch the MySQL Instance Configuration Wizard is ticked and then click Finish:

33. Select Standard Configuration as the configuration type and then Next:

34. Select Server Machine as the server type and then click Next:

35. In the Windows Options section ensure the settings match the image below:

36. In the security options section check Modify Security Settings, enter the root password of your choice and then click Next:

37. In the configuration section shown below click Execute:

38. Once the process completes click Finish:

Configure MySQL for WordPress

We will now create the database for WordPress within MySQL. We will do this via the command line client.

39. Click Start > All Programs > MySQL > MySQL Server 5.5 > MySQL 5.5 Command Line Client to open a MySQL command prompt:

40. Enter the root password you chose earlier in the MySQL setup and hit enter:

41. To create the WordPressDB database type the following and hit enter:

CREATE DATABASE WordPressDB;

You will receive a confirmation that the command was successful:

Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)

41. To create the wp_user and grant it access and requisite permissions to the WordPressDB database type the following and hit enter:

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON WordPressDB.* TO "wp_user"@"localhost" IDENTIFIED BY "password";

Please note that the “;” signals the end of the command. To go to a second line just hit Enter without a “;” at the end of a line.

42. Type Exit and hit enter to exit the MySQL command line client.

The confirugration of MySQL is now complete. We should now have the following information available for the WordPress install:

  • Database Name: WordPressDB
  • Database User: wp_user
  • DB User Password: password

Install WordPress

Go to http://wordpress.org/download/ and download the latest version of WordPress (currently 3.3.1) and then folllow these steps:

43. Extract the WordPress files to the location of the WordPress site we created earlier in IIS – C:\Websites\Wordpress.

44. Navigate to C:\Websites\Wordpress and find the file named wp-config-sample.php and open it with Notepad, as per below:

45. Ammend the following fields in wp-config-sample.php with the MySQL database info we created earlier :

  • DB_NAME: WordPressDB
  • DB_USER: wp_user
  • DB_PASSWORD: password

The screen shot below shows the variables that need to be changed. This is telling WordPress which database (WordPressDB) to store the configuration data in MySQL and also the connection information (wp_user and password) to be used:

46. Save the file as wp-config.php

47. Type in the following into your browser to start the WordPress installation script:

http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/install.php

Be sure to replace www.yourdomain.com with your domain.

48. You will now see the WordPress welcome screen:

You need to configure the following fields with your own personal information:

  • Site Title: My First WordPress Blog
  • Username: choose your username (default is admin)
  • Password: choose your password
  • Your E-mail: email@yourdomain.com

49. Click the Install WordPress button and the setup script will run and you should see the following page soon after:

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50. Click Login to go to the Admin Login page then enter your WordPress username and password you created earlier and start blogging!