Hack and / - Your Own Personal Server: Blog

If your blog isn't on your own server, is it truly yours? Learn how to set up your own.
Set Up Your WordPress Virtual Host

Now that you are familiar with how Apache organizes files under Ubuntu, the next step is to configure a new virtual host. It turns out there are a number of different ways you can configure the WordPress virtual host under Apache, and included in the wordpress package are examples of the different methods under /usr/share/doc/wordpress/example/apache.conf. For this article, I'm choosing a configuration that makes it simple to manage multiple WordPress sites on the same host, so create a file called /etc/apache2/sites-available/wordpress that contains the following data:

NameVirtualHost *:80

<VirtualHost *:80>
    UseCanonicalName Off
    VirtualDocumentRoot /var/www/%0
    Options All

Now, enable this new site and disable any default virtual hosts Apache may have included:

$ sudo a2ensite wordpress
$ sudo a2dissite default

In my example, I have used the Apache option VirtualDocumentRoot, so I can more easily manage multiple WordPress sites. Unfortunately, the module to allow that feature isn't enabled by default, so I also need to enable the vhost_alias module so that feature works:

$ sudo a2enmod vhost_alias

The way I have set up WordPress, each WordPress site you host from this server will have its own document root under /var/www/<domainname>. When you add a new site, you need to create a symlink under /var/www/ named after your domain name that points to the installed WordPress software. In my case, I want to create a site called www.example.org, so I would type:

$ sudo ln -s /usr/share/wordpress /var/www/www.example.org

Instead of www.example.org, put the fully qualified domain name you are going to use for your site. While you're at it, if you haven't already set up an A record on your DNS server that points to your new site, now would be a good time. If you followed the steps in my previous column to set up a DNS server of your own, you already should have an entry in place for www. Simply change the IP address to point to the external, public IP address you will use for your Web server and reload the bind9 service.

After the symlink is created, I use the apache2ctl Apache management tool to reload Apache:

$ sudo apache2ctl graceful

Note: the apache2ctl program is the main command-line program you will use to manage the Apache service on your machine. In addition to the graceful argument, which tells Apache to reload any new configuration you have changed safely (such as when you add new sites), you also can use the following commands.

To restart Apache by forcibly stopping existing processes and starting them again:

$ sudo apache2ctl restart

To start Apache if it is completely stopped:

$ sudo apache2ctl start

To stop Apache hard (kill all of the current processes even if they are still processing a user request):

$ sudo apache2ctl stop

To stop Apache gracefully (it will kill processes only after they are finished with their current request):

$ sudo apache2ctl graceful-stop

Configure MySQL for WordPress

Like with many dynamic sites these days, WordPress gets its data from a database back end: in this case, MySQL. The wordpress package includes a nice little shell script you can use to set up your MySQL database automatically for your site at /usr/share/doc/wordpress/examples/setup-mysql. All you have to do is pass it the -n option and tell it the name of the MySQL user you want to use and the name of the database. In my case, I use the user name “wordpress” and name the database after my site, www.example.org:

$ sudo bash /usr/share/doc/wordpress/examples/setup-mysql 
 ↪-n wordpress www.example.org

Note: this command attempts to ping the domain name that you list, so if you haven't set up the domain in DNS yet, you will want to do it before you run the above command. Again, make sure your domain points to the public IP address you will use for your site.

Figure 1. The Default WordPress Configuration Page

Once you get to this point, your blog actually should be ready to use. All you need to do is visit http://www.example.org (in your case, you would visit the URL you set up for your blog), and you should be greeted with the initial WordPress configuration page as shown in Figure 1. From that point, all you have to do is enter the title for your blog and the contact e-mail you'd like to use. WordPress will present you with the admin user name and a temporary password. From there, you can log in and start tweaking, creating posts and changing your theme.

Kyle Rankin is a Systems Architect in the San Francisco Bay Area and the author of a number of books, including The Official Ubuntu Server Book, Knoppix Hacks and Ubuntu Hacks. He is currently the president of the North Bay Linux Users' Group.


Kyle Rankin is Chief Security Officer at Purism, a company focused on computers that respect your privacy, security, and freedom. He is the author of many books including Linux Hardening in Hostile Networks, DevOps Troubleshooting and The Official Ubuntu