Peter

Creative, customer focused, results oriented Windows web developer and server administrator who enjoys providing the highest level of customer service supporting complex Windows server hosting solutions. MCITP SA, EST, DBA 2008

Apr 032014
 

Microsoft’s Web Platform Installer (Web PI) makes installing applications a breeze. In a recent blog post I covered just how easy installing IIS has become using Web PI. In this walkthrough I’m going to cover installing WordPress, PHP, and MySQL using Web PI.  I remember the days when installing these applications was a manual process. Depending on your level of expertise it was quite a challenge to get everything working properly. If you’ve ever tried to uninstall and then reinstall MySQL you know what I mean.  Now thanks to Web PI with just a few clicks of your mouse you can have WordPress, PHP, and MySQL installed on Windows Server 2012 R2 in a few short minutes.

Setting up Your Site

On my test server I have a new installation of Windows Server 2012 R2 with IIS 8. Using the default site you’ll see the familiar IIS 8 welcome page called IISStart.htm. This page is automatically created for the default site when you install IIS. Be sure to delete it once you deploy your files.

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Launching Web Platform Installer

After installing the IIS role on your server you’ll be able to launch Web PI directly from IIS Manager by clicking on Get New Web Platform Components . The real power and ease of using Web PI to install WordPress, PHP, and MySQL is evident after you choose WordPress and Click Install. Web PI will automatically select the other application dependencies and include them in the installation.

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Choosing MySQL Root Password

Web PI will prompt you to choose a password for the root administrator user for MySQL. Be sure to make a note of this password because it will be needed later and resetting the MySQL root password manually can be challenge.

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Click Accept. The installation will start running.

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Web PI will download and install all the necessary applications. It will complete within a few minutes.

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Configuring the site for IIS

At this stage of the installation Web PI will prompt you to choose a few settings for the IIS configuration. You can either install WordPress on an existing site or select New Web Site. I am going to install WordPress into the root of my site so I am using “/” for the application name. If you plan on running WordPress from a subfolder then enter a name for the application. Once the required parameters have been entered you will be able to click Continue.

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You will be prompted to enter a few unique phrases to strengthen the password security.

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Once Web PI completes the installation process your new MySQL Database Name, Database User Name, and Database Password will be displayed on the screen. Make a note of these settings. You will need them later to log into the database.

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Installing WordPress

Once Web PI completes its installation process the WordPress installer will be launched. This final step of installing WordPress completes quite quickly. Enter the Site Title, the admin username and password, and your email address. Click Install WordPress to finish setting it up.

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WordPress is now ready for use. Click Log In to go to the WordPress Dashboard.

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Securing WordPress

Any serious web developer or server admin knows how important it is to secure your web site.  So after I install WordPress the very next thing I do is secure it. There’s a great WordPress plugin called Limit Login Attempts which can help block automated brute force attacks to your login page.  If you wanted to take it a step further you could even use Url Rewrite to block requests except for your own IP which I chose to do when my site was once targeted by brute force attacks. One other plugin you may want to consider is called Bad Behavior. This is a great plugin for mitigating link spam and the robots that deliver it. Combined with Akismet your site’s blog post comments will be spam free.

Summary

WordPress is one of the most widely used free CMS products. Installing WordPress on Windows Server 2012 R2 also requires PHP and MySQL. Now thanks to Web PI installing WordPress, PHP, and MySQl has never been easier. Your site will be up and running in mere minutes. After installation take some extra time to secure the login page and prevent comment spam. Thanks for reading.

Dec 272013
 

Thanks to Microsoft’s Web Platform Installer (Web PI) installing IIS has never been so easy. Before using Web PI to install IIS became available,  you had to use the Server Manager to install the Web Server (IIS) role and then select various Role Services that you need to be enabled. Depending on your level of expertise this could be a challenging task with lots scrolling back and forth and click upon click to get things just right,  but now you can have IIS deployed with just 3 clicks of your mouse.

Install Web PI

If you’re not familiar with the Web PI, it is a powerful tool that can be used to install not only IIS but also SQL Server Express, Visual Web Developer, Express, PHP, WordPress, Umbraco, and many other 3rd party applications from the Windows Web Application Gallery. If you haven’t already done so first Download Web PI and install it. It’s free and has a small footprint of only 2 MB.

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Select IIS Recommended Configuration

Once Web PI has been installed just launch the program . It will open to the Spotlight tab so just click on the Products tab and click Add next to IIS Recommended Configuration. If you don’t see it in the opening list just search for it. All you need to do after this is just click Install at the bottom of the window.

 

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You may be curious as to what options are installed with the IIS Recommended Configuration. Here is what will be installed:

  • ASP.NET
  • Static Content
  • Default Document
  • Directory Browsing
  • HTTP Errors
  • HTTP Logging
  • Logging Tools
  • Request Monitor
  • .NET Extensibility
  • Request Filtering
  • Static Content Compression
  • ISAPI Extensions
  • ISAPI Filters
  • WAS Process Model
  • Management Console
  • WAS Configuration API
  • WAS .NET Environment
  • .NET 4.5 Extended with ASP.NET for Windows 8
  • .NET 3.5 for Windows 8

Before the installation starts you need to accept the license terms so just click I Accept.

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The installation will run for a few minutes installing the essential features for IIS to work properly.

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Once Web PI has completed installing IIS just click Finish.

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Using IIS Manager

Your server is now ready for hosting web sites. Open IIS Manager and you’ll see the Default web site has been configured.

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When you browse http://localhost you’ll see the familiar IIS Start Page.

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This page is named iisstart.htm and appears in the Default Documents list above default.aspx so once you upload your web site files be sure to delete this page.

Next Steps?

Now that you have IIS installed what’s next? Well you’ll want to go back to Web PI and at least install FTP Publishing. Once you have FTP Publishing installed you want to look into configuring FTP User Isolation as well as using FTP over SSL for greater security when transferring content to and from your server. You may also want to look at installing Url Rewrite 2.0 from Web PI. Url Rewrite offers many ways to rewrite urls for SEO and perform 301 redirects as well as blocking page requests.

Summary

The Web Platform Installer (Web PI) is a powerful tool for deploying a wide variety of 3rd party applications such as WordPress and other popular CMS products but it can also be used to install IIS or even SQL Server Express on your server. The Web PI offers  unparalleled ease and convenience with installing applications on Windows servers. Thanks for reading.

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