Are you ready to put a website together, now? I bet you’re thinking, “hey, this hasn’t been terribly easy and all we’ve done is set up some useless web server that we can’t even really use. I don’t really know how to PHP or anything. How do you expect me to make a whole website?” The fact is, I don’t. It’s time to come clean. We’re going to cheat.
Part 4: Stop the Wordpresses
You’ve probably heard of wordpress. It’s a pretty big thing on the Internet, and there’s a pretty simple reason why. It’s powerful, it’s easy to customize, it’s vastly extendable, and it’s free. Unless you have some pretty specific requirements, you have a budget in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, or you’re an obsessive idiot like me, there really isn’t much reason to make a website without just using Wordpress.
Wordpress isn’t just for blogs, either. By building plugins and other modifications you could get it to do absolutely anything you can think of. Well, maybe you can’t (no offense), but you can probably find some plugins and things that other people have made that will do whatever you want. That’s Wordpress’s true power: it has an incredibly active development community. Also, if you use Wordpress you’ll be able to use Google Adsense ads and potentially make money from it, which is more than I can say about DenyConformity.com.
Anyway, we’ll get to the plugins and things down the road. For now, we have to get your itsy-bitsy web server set up to host a Wordpress site. Okay, so you can just go to wordpress.com and set up your own blog there, where you can do plenty of stuff for absolutely free. You can even point a domain name to it and save yourself a lot of money and effort by not dealing with a web host. However, hosting a Wordpress site on your own web space puts all of the power in your hands, and you’ll be able to do quite a bit more stuff with your site than if you just went with Wordpress hosting. Also, you’ll feel much cooler because you have your own website, which is actually pretty cool.
First off, you’ll need to head to wordpress.org/download/
and click on the “Download WordPress” button. It’s not huge, so it won’t take very long, but it’s good to get it downloading so it will be ready for us.
Now first you have to create a new folder somewhere. This will be the folder in which your website will live. Put it somewhere easy to get to, because you’ll be hanging out there a lot. I created my own Windows Library for web stuff, because I do a lot of it, but you don’t have to go that far. Look, I’m not going to pry into your personal organization of your folders, so just make a folder somewhere. Also, remember where you put it.
Right click your new folder and select “Properties.” Now find the “Security” tab. You have to give IIS access to read your folder so that you can open it as a website. By default IIS has access to nothing (except the default Web Site folder) on your computer - it’s more secure this way.
Click “Edit” and then “Add...” and then type “IIS_IUSRS” into the box. Hit “Check Names” and it should turn into what you see above (it’s your computer name slash IIS_IUSRS). Hit “OK” and then do the same thing for “Users.” Now the folder should have the following under “Group or user names” (there could be more, but it needs at least these): “SYSTEM,” “*Your Username*,” “Administrators,” “Users,” and “IIS_IUSRS.” Your folder is set up!
Now we’ll head back to our old friend, the IIS Manager (remember: “inetmgr”). We could install Wordpress into our “Default Web Site” and leave it at that, but it’s usually best to just create a new website and work with a clean slate. Don’t worry about all that work you did to set up PHP. We did that at the server level, so those are all master settings that will be in effect on every website you create.
Open your server, and then select “Sites” in the Connections area. Here you should see the only website you have running, the Default Web Site. Click “Add Web Site...” to add a new website, believe it or not.
You might be wondering how you can have two websites running on one computer. That’s pretty astute of you, sport. You only have one address to go to, “localhost,” so how can we get two websites at once? The answer is by using different ports. Use a port, sport! An Internet is like a bit loading dock, like they have on the big, fat butt of a Wal-Mart (not the big, fat butts of the people shopping at Walmart - those only have one port). You have to back your Internet-truck full of beeps and boops up to a specific door on your computer’s loading dock for it to accept you. There are thousands of possible ports, and different programs use different ones. Most beeps and boops for the Wild World of Web - including websites and stuff like that - travel through port 80. Just like how browsers access “index.php” by default when you don’t specify a file, they will access port 80 by default if you don’t specify otherwise (specify a specific port with a colon. No, we aren't talking about fat butts again - I mean “localhost:80”). All we have to do is set up a new website on port 81, and then we’ll be able to call it up by opening port 81 on localhost (which is done by going to “localhost:81”). Let’s do that, shall we?
So “Add Web Site...” and then fill out the form. For the name, just put whatever. Hit the “Select...” button and pick “DefaultAppPool” from the list (then hit OK). The Physical path needs to be that folder you just created. I told you to remember where you put it. Now, under “Port” change it to 81. Now this new site will only be accessible from port 81, because the Default Web Site is using port 80. Make sure “Start Web site immediately” is checked, and hit “OK.”
If you try to access the site now (by going to “localhost:81”), you’ll see something like this. This is because there’s nothing in that folder you created. When there is no default file (no index.php or index.html), the server tries to just send a list of what is in the directory. However, by default it’s forbidden from doing that for security reasons, so it has a bit of a crisis. This particular crisis is called an Error 403.14.
There’s still more to do before you can put some files there, though, so your new web site will just have to keep having a crisis. You’ll have to start up your MySQL server, if it isn’t running. Check your Task Manager for “mysqld.exe” and if it isn’t there, go to C:/Program Files/MySQL/MySQL Server 5.X/bin and run “mysqld.exe.” You could have your MySQL server run every time Windows starts up by placing a shortcut to mysqld.exe in your Startup folder (which is in “All Programs” in the Start Menu), but unless you plan on playing around with your MySQL server a lot, you don’t need to tie up your memories all the time.
Log into phpMyAdmin again (localhost/phpMyAdmin
). We need to create two things for Wordpress. First we’ll create a new user that Wordpress can use, and then we’ll create a new Database just for your new website. PhpMyAdmin makes this really super easy.
Go to the Users tab and hit “Add user.” You can name it anything, but “wordpress” works fine. Select “Local” from the dropdown box next to “Host.” The password should actually be something pretty secure this time, because you’re going to copy this user to your host when you’re ready. Hit the “Generate” button to get a really strong password, but for Pete’s sake write it down so you don’t lose it. Next, and this is important, select the option “Create database with same name and grant all privileges” before you hit “Add user.” Now you should have a new database on the left, called whatever you called your new user. It’s finally time to website!
Open up the Wordpress zip file you downloaded, and go into the Wordpress folder inside it. Copy everything you find there into your new website folder. You will now have three folders and a bunch of files right there in the root directory of your new website.
Now you can point your browser to localhost:81/wp-admin/install.php
. It may not look like much, but you’re now on your way to your very own website! Press the button to continue the setup process, and then press the button on the next page to continue even harder.
Fill out the form. The database name and username should be the same, and they’ll be whatever you named your MySQL user from a few steps ago. Enter that password you wrote down (you did write that down, right?) where it says “Password.” The last two settings are ok with their default values.
If you did it correctly, you’ll get this screen. Don’t let the “sorry” disappoint you, this is totally normal. Just select everything in that big text box (with all the technical beeps and boops in it), and Ctrl+C it to your clipboard.
In your website folder, create a new text file. Name it “wp-config.php” (remember to be sure it isn’t “wp-config.php.txt”) and open it up in Notepad.
Now Ctrl+V the text from that text area into Notepad (or just copy and paste the text however you feel most comfortable doing that). Save and close the file. Now, in your browser, you can press “Run the install” to run the Wordpress install.
Fill out the details on the next page with your information. You’re starting to get into actual stuff that will show up on your website, so I can’t really tell you what to put here. I’m calling my site “Alyson Thiel” because this whole tutorial is just a guise so I can finally get around to making the website that Alyson keeps asking me to make for her. Make sure your password kung-fu is strong here, because this will eventually (theoretically) be online where all your enemies will be trying to get into your account. Also, uncheck the Privacy option for now, because it’s irrelevant as long as the site is living on your computer. When you’re ready, hit the “Install Wordpress” button and you’ll be done.
Log in to your Wordpress with the username and password you entered in the last step, and you’ll get to your new website’s Dashboard. This thing is going to be your new best friend (sorry IIS Manager), so get used to it. You can click on the page title in the upper left corner (or just go to localhost:81
) to see your new website in all its default Wordpress glory.
Your picture may vary, but your site will look just like this, because this is the default Wordpress theme.
So there you go, you now have your very own Wordpress-based website running on your computer. Feel free to play around and see how it all works. The beauty is that since you’re running on your own computer you can do whatever you want to explore, and it will be really easy to fix if you break everything.
If you mess something up and you want to start over, head to the Users section of phpMyAdmin, check the box next to the wordpress user, check the “Drop the databases that have the same names as the users” option, and hit the “Go” button underneath “Remove elected users.” Now you can go back to the step where we created a new user and run the Wordpress installation again. It will be like those mistakes never happened!
Next time I’ll show you all around your new Wordpress site, and we’ll get it configured just for you, with a few pages, blog posts, and plugins so you can get exactly the website that you want. Then once it’s all configured, all we have to do is deploy the site to your web space. What you do after that is up to you. You had better not be posting your own tutorial about how to website, though, because that’s not cool, man. That’s not cool at all.