WordPress On A USB Stick

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Wordpress and USB stick

In this how-to article, I discuss running WordPress on a USB stick.

In a previous article, I talked about using USBWebserver as an alternative to XAMPP and WAMP. I found that the speed and small memory footprint makes it a great choice for local intranet web applications.

Lets get our hands dirty and apply USBWebserver to a practical use case. I assume that you have successfully installed USBWebServer and are ready to go.

Suppose you go to college and take notes while you listen to your teacher’s lecture. Instead of scribbling everything into a notepad, what if you could install USBWebserver and WordPress onto a USB flash drive and put it in your laptop? Does that sound useful? You bet!

Preliminaries

Before we install WordPress, we must make a few changes in our USBWebserver configuration.

Lets make life easier and use the default HTTP port of 80. Go to the UsbWebserver application and click on Settings. Then, change the Apache port from 8080 to 80.

Now, we need to create a MySQL database for our WordPress installation. We can use phpMyAdmin for this. Click on the phpMyAdmin button on the UsbWebserver menu.

Login with the default settings:

username: root
password: usbw

After logging in, click the Users button and the Add user link. For our database administrator, lets setup the following:

Username: dbadmin
Host: localhost
Password: password

Next, click on the Global privileges “Check All” link so that all the check boxes are set. Finally, click the Go button.

Now that we have a MySQL database administrator created, lets create the database!  Click on the Databases button. Then, enter in the following and click the Create button:

Database name: wordpress
Collation: utf8_general_ci

Congrats! You now have a MySQL database!

Go download the current version of WordPress. Then, take the compressed ZIP file and copy it over to the USB drive into the /root directory. Extract the file. What should happen is a /root/wordpress folder is created along with all the files. Your folder layout on the USB drive should look like this:

/
  usbwebserver
  wordpress-4.5.3
  /apache2
  /lang
  /MySQL
  /php
  /phpmyadmin
  /root
     /wordpress
  /settings

Delete the WordPress zip file (in this case, wordpress-4.5.3.zip) to save disk space. Now simply type:

http://localhost/wordpress

The WordPress pre-installer will now appear for you to walk through.

Choose the English language (or whatever is appropriate). Then, enter in the following:

Database Name: wordpress
Username: dbadmin
Password: password
Database Host: localhost
Table Prefix: wp_

If WordPress can connect to your Mysql database, you can proceed to run the installer.

Setting Up WordPress

Since you are running on Microsoft Windows, you need to go and make a change to the HOSTS file to set localhost to your internal website. Go to /windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts and open it up with Notepad under Adminstrator mode.

Change it to look like this:

127.0.0.1 localhost iyoursite.com www.iyoursite.com

Preface the website name with a lower case “i” to mean that it is an internal website just so that you don’t confuse it with the public website.

Next, we need to setup Apache virtual hosting. What this allows us to do is create a domain on our USBWebserver. With your text editor, open up /settings/httpd.conf and add the following to the end of the file:

   ServerAdmin localhost
   DocumentRoot "{rootdir}"
   ServerName localhost

This next virtual host rule should only be used if you have access to the Windows computer as an administrator. If you are on a laptop or desktop computer that you own, go for it. However, if for example, you are trying to use your USB stick on a public library system, this will not work. The reason is because you need access to the Windows HOSTS file.

  ServerAdmin admin@iyoursite.com
  DocumentRoot "{rootdir}/wordpress"
  ServerName www.iyoursite.com
  ServerAlias iyoursite.com

Backup the /root/index.php file and rename it to /root/indexold.php.

Copy (not move) the index.php and .htaccess files in the /root/wordpress directory to /root.

Edit /root/index.php to look like this:

require('./wordpress/wp-blog-header.php' );

Now login to WordPress via http://iyoursite.com/wp-login.php. Head to the Settings | General menu and change the following:

Wordpress address URL: http://iyoursite.com/wordpress
Site Address URL: http://iyoursite.com

You should be now good to go. I would suggest that you read my other article entitled Things To Do After Installing WordPress to further customize your installation.

Miscellaneous

If you find that your localhost web server is very slow, make sure of the following:

– You have the HOSTS file localhost setting correct
– You have disabled VirtualBox as an Ethernet device in your Network Connections
– You do not have any other HTTP server running including IIS

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