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WordPress is an excellent choice for blogging software. It's simple to set up and use, has a pretty good security record, and has lots of plugins. If you're hosting your own blog on GNU/Linux, WordPress is pretty much the way to go.

This is how we built WordPress to host several blogs.

Note that this installation is different than a standard installation in 2 ways. First, we're installing the package into /usr/local, and /var/local. This is to improve LSB compliance, and allows the possibility of sharing /usr/local across systems, as well as making it read-only. Second, we're not using WordPress' multi-site feature, but hacking in our own simple multi-site functionality. The reason we're rolling our own here is that WordPress multi-site makes some assumptions that we don't agree with. Most critical of these is that we want our sites to be able to maintain their own domain names, users, themes, and plugins.


WordPress 3.5 requires:

  • Apache
  • PHP 5.2.4+
  • MySQL 5.0+
  • Apache mod_rewrite (optional, but highly recommended)

This build process assumes:

  • A Debian-derived system
  • Commands can be run as root via sudo
  • The user has read/write access to /var/www/
    • In Debian, this probably means the user is a member of www-data
  • The user can create MySQL databases
    • Root username and password in [mysqladmin] and [mysql] sections of .my.cnf
  • Apache has been set up with virtual hosts for any WordPress sites
    • The virtual hosts' DocumentRoot are set to /var/www/$SITE_NAME/public
    • The /var/www/$SITE_NAME/public directories are soft links to /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION


# Set the version of WordPress we're going to install.
# Download and unpack the software.
tar xfz wordpress-$WORDPRESS_VERSION.tar.gz
rm wordpress-$WORDPRESS_VERSION.tar.gz
# Make sure attackers cannot view directory listings (especially listing of installed plugins).
echo 'Options -Indexes' >> wordpress/.htaccess
# Create a config file that will allow per-site configuration.
cat > wordpress/wp-config.php <<'EOF'
# Pull in per-site configuration. Assumes per-site config file is 1 directory up from DOCUMENT_ROOT.
include(dirname($_SERVER['DOCUMENT_ROOT']) . '/wp-config.php');
# Pull in all the WordPress settings and include files.
if ( !defined('ABSPATH') )
    define('ABSPATH', dirname(__FILE__) . '/');
require_once(ABSPATH . 'wp-settings.php');
# Move the installation to /usr/local/share.
sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION
sudo mv wordpress/* /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION
sudo mkdir -p /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content
# Move changeable content to /var/local/share.
sudo mv /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content/{plugins,themes} /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content/
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content
sudo ln -sf /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content
sudo mkdir -p /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content/uploads
# Set ownership of the directory so Apache can use it, and permissions so that web admins have write access:
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION
sudo chmod -R g+w /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION
find /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION -type d | sudo xargs chmod g+ws

Per-Site Installation
mkdir -p /var/www/$SITE
cd /var/www/$SITE
rm -rf public
ln -s /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION public
ln -s /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content/uploads uploads

Create the MySQL database (set the real database name, username, and password):

WORDPRESS_MYSQL_USER=wp_craigbuchek ;# NOTE: Must be no longer than 16 characters
WORDPRESS_MYSQL_PWD="`dd if=/dev/urandom bs=15 count=1 | base64`"
sudo mysqladmin create $WORDPRESS_MYSQL_DB
sudo sh -c "mysql <<EOF

Save the username and password in the .my.cnf file.

cat >>~/.my.cnf <<EOF
# Specify --defaults-group-suffix=_$WORDPRESS_MYSQL_DB to use this group.
chmod 600 ~/.my.cnf

Manually create the configuration file.

KEY1=`dd if=/dev/urandom count=1 bs=1024 | sha256sum | awk '{print $1}'`
KEY2=`dd if=/dev/urandom count=1 bs=1024 | sha256sum | awk '{print $1}'`
KEY3=`dd if=/dev/urandom count=1 bs=1024 | sha256sum | awk '{print $1}'`
KEY4=`dd if=/dev/urandom count=1 bs=1024 | sha256sum | awk '{print $1}'`
cat > /var/www/$SITE/wp-config.php <<EOF
# Define database access settings.
define('DB_HOST', 'localhost'); # Can also specify hostname:port.
define('DB_CHARSET', 'utf8');
define('DB_COLLATE', 'utf8_general_ci'); # Override the MySQL default latin1_swedish_ci.
\$table_prefix  = 'wp_'; # Prefix used on all table names.
# Set localization language. Defaults to English; otherwise specify a file within wp-content/languages/.
define('WPLANG', '');
# Keys for encryption of information stored in browser cookies.
define('AUTH_KEY', '$KEY1');
define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY', '$KEY2');
define('LOGGED_IN_KEY', '$KEY3');
define('NONCE_KEY', '$KEY4');
sudo chmod 660 /var/www/$SITE/wp-config.php
sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/www/$SITE/wp-config.php

Create a per-site uploads directory. (Don't forget to set the configuration below to include the full path to this directory.

mkdir -p /var/www/$SITE/uploads
sudo chmod 770 /var/www/$SITE/uploads
sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/www/$SITE/uploads

For a new site, run the installation script by accessing http://$SITE/wp-admin/install.php in a web browser. Enter the weblog title and email address. Record the admin password that is generated. It will be needed to log in to administer the application.

Log in as the admin, and create an Editor account for yourself. Record this password as well. Use this account to post blog entries. Use the admin account to change site settings.


Remove some files that aren't needed after installing:

rm /usr/local/lib/wordpress-$VERSION/{license.txt,readme.html,wp-config-sample.php,wp-admin/import*.php}


Log in as admin with the newly generated password.



Time zone: Chicago
Time format: 1:04 PM (g:i A)
Weeks in the calendar should start on: Sunday


Size of the post box: 15 lines
UNCHECK Convert emoticons
CHECK WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML


Syndication feeds show the most recent: 20 posts
For each article in a feed, show: Full text


CHECK Enable threaded (nested) comments, 5 levels deep
UNCHECK E-mail me whenever anyone posts a comment
Default Avatar: blank
Custom Structure: /%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%


Store uploads in this folder: /var/www/$SITE/uploads
Full URL path to files: /uploads

Note that this requires the following Apache configuration in the VirtualHost section for the site:

Alias /uploads /var/www/$SITE/uploads

Posts / Categories

Set up a list of categories that your posts will fall within. You can add more later, but try to set up a few that you'll likely use.

Delete the pre-configured links, and add your own links, if you want to use them as a blogroll.


Add some new themes, and activate them to try them out. Once you've activated a theme, it may add a options pane to the Appearance menu of the admin page.


Add some widgets to the sidebar(s). I like to add these widgets:

  • Categories
  • Archives
  • Links
  • Meta


WordPress has a lot of plugins available to enhance the experience and add new features. We've installed and enabled a few. Below is the list, as well as the configuration of each.

Bad Behavior

  • UNCHECK Display statistics in blog footer.
  • Stick with Normal HTTP request logging.
  • CHECK Allow form postings from other web sites (because we may allow OpenID)

Robots Meta

  • RSS Feeds
    • CHECK noindex the comment RSS feeds
  • Prevent Indexing
    • CHECK This site's search result pages
    • CHECK The login and register pages
    • CHECK All admin pages
    • CHECK Author archives
    • CHECK Date-based archives
  • Archive Settings
    • CHECK Disable the author archives
    • CHECK Redirect search results pages when referrer is external
  • Internal nofollow settings
    • CHECK Nofollow category listings on pages
    • CHECK Nofollow category listings on single posts
    • CHECK Nofollow the links to your tag pages
    • CHECK Nofollow login and registration links
    • CHECK Nofollow comments links


  • Hyphenation
    • UNCHECK Allow hyphenation of words that begin with a capital letter.
  • Intelligent Character Replacement
    • UNCHECK Transform three periods to ellipses
    • CHECK Transform exponents to pretty exponents
  • Space Control
    • CHECK Keep integers with adjoining fractions.
    • CHECK Keep values and units together.


It's highly recommended that you back up all your sites before upgrading. You can do this from the admin panel, Tools / Export.

tar xfz wordpress-$WORDPRESS_VERSION.tar.gz
rm wordpress-$WORDPRESS_VERSION.tar.gz
sudo mv wordpress /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION
sudo cp /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION_OLD/wp-config.php /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/
sudo cp /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION_OLD/.htaccess /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/
sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content/{plugins,themes}
sudo mkdir -p /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content/{plugins,themes,uploads}
sudo cp -r /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION_OLD/wp-content/plugins/* /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content/plugins/
sudo cp -r /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION_OLD/wp-content/themes/* /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content/themes/
sudo cp -r /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION_OLD/wp-content/plugins/* /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content/plugins/
sudo cp -r /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION_OLD/wp-content/themes/* /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content/themes/
sudo cp -r /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION_OLD/wp-content/uploads/* /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content/uploads/
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION
sudo chmod -R g+w /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION
find /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION -type d | sudo xargs chmod g+ws
sudo rm /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/{license.txt,readme.html,wp-config-sample.php,wp-admin/import*.php}

Point each site to the new version:

for SITE in; do
  cd /var/www/$SITE
  rm -f public
  ln -sf /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION public
  ln -sf /var/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION/wp-content/uploads uploads

Run the /wp-admin/upgrade.php script for each site. Then test the site to make sure it's working OK. Pay special attention to plugins, as they may break between revisions.

When you're sure that the upgrade was successful, remove the old version:

sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/wordpress/$WORDPRESS_VERSION_OLD


cd /var/www/wordpress-$VERSION/wp-content/themes
cd sandbox
# Make some changes so that it will work with Matthew James Taylor's 3-column layout.
sed -i -e 's|<div id="container">|<div class="holygrail"><div class="colmid"><div class="colleft"><div id="container">|'  *.php
sed -i -e 's|</div><!-- #secondary .sidebar -->|</div></div></div></div><!-- #secondary .sidebar -->|'  *.php
cd /var/www/wordpress-$VERSION/wp-content/themes
wget -O
sed -i -e 's/Orange/Blue/' stylevantage/header.php
cd /var/www/wordpress-$VERSION/wp-content/themes
cd /var/www/wordpress-$VERSION/wp-content/themes
cd /var/www/wordpress-$VERSION/wp-content/themes
cd /var/www/wordpress-$VERSION/wp-content/themes
cd /var/www/wordpress-$VERSION/wp-content/themes

Custom Theme

cd /var/www/wordpress-$VERSION/wp-content/themes
mkdir testing
cd testing

Add the following to a new file named style.css:

DESCRIPTION: Basic theme, based on Sandbox
AUTHOR: Craig Buchek
TAGS: three columns
TEMPLATE: sandbox

@import url("reset-meyer.css");
@import url("fonts-yahoo.css");
@import url("layout.css");
@import url("booch.css");

a {
  color: green;

/* Make Firefox always show vertical scrollbar, like IE does. */
html {
  overflow-y: scroll;

/* Fix problem w/ Firefox not showing underlines if line-height is 1em. */
/* Note: note needed if using fonts-yahoo. */
a {
  line-height: 1.01em;

Add the following to a new file named reset-meyer.css:

/* From Eric Meyer - */
/* v1.0 | 20080212 */

html, body, div, span, applet, object, iframe,
h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, p, blockquote, pre,
a, abbr, acronym, address, big, cite, code,
del, dfn, em, font, img, ins, kbd, q, s, samp,
small, strike, strong, sub, sup, tt, var,
b, u, i, center,
dl, dt, dd, ol, ul, li,
fieldset, form, label, legend,
table, caption, tbody, tfoot, thead, tr, th, td {
  margin: 0;
  padding: 0;
  border: 0;
  outline: 0;
  font-size: 100%;
  vertical-align: baseline;
  background: transparent;
body {
  line-height: 1;
ol, ul {
  list-style: none;
blockquote, q {
  quotes: none;
blockquote:before, blockquote:after,
q:before, q:after {
  content: '';
  content: none;

/* remember to define focus styles! */
:focus {
  outline: 0;

/* remember to highlight inserts somehow! */
ins {
  text-decoration: none;
del {
  text-decoration: line-through;

/* tables still need 'cellspacing="0"' in the markup */
table {
  border-collapse: collapse;
  border-spacing: 0;

Add the following to a new file named fonts-yahoo.css:

Copyright (c) 2008, Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Code licensed under the BSD License:
version: 2.5.2
 * Percents could work for IE, but for backCompat purposes, we are using keywords.
 * x-small is for IE6/7 quirks mode.
body {font:13px/1.231 arial,helvetica,clean,sans-serif;*font-size:small;*font:x-small;}
table {font-size:inherit;font:100%;}
 * Bump up IE to get to 13px equivalent
pre,code,kbd,samp,tt {font-family:monospace;*font-size:108%;line-height:100%;}

Add the following to a new file named layout.css:

/* These are from Matthew James Taylor's Perfect 3 Column Liquid Layout. */
/* */
@import url('holygrail.css');

.skip-link, #access {
  display: none;

Add the following to a new file named booch.css:

body, html {
  margin: 0; /* Remove white space along the page borders. */
#header h1 {
  margin: 0; /* Remove white space above header. */
  font-size: 2em; /* Use a large font for the header title. */

#header {
  background-color: #ccffcc;
  padding: 1em; /* Add space inside header. */
  border-bottom: 2px solid black;

#blog-title a {
  text-decoration: none; /* Don't underline the blog title. */

#blog-description {

#container {
  margin-top: 1em; /* Put a bit of space above main content. */

.sidebar {
  margin-top: 1em; /* Put a bit of space above top item in sidebars. */

.sidebar ul {
  list-style-type: none; /* Remove bullets from lists in sidebars. */

.comment.alt {
  background-color: #EEEEEE; /* Use a light gray for odd-numbred comments. */
.comment.bypostauthor { /* NOTE: Put this after .comment.alt, so it has preccendence. */
  background-color: #DDFFDD; /* Set special color for comments by the author of the post. */

.sidebar ul.xoxo {

.sidebar ul.xoxo li {
  margin-bottom: 1em; /* Separate sidebar items a bit */
/*  border: 1px #ccc solid; /* Put a border around all sidebar items. */
/*  background-color: red; /* */
.sidebar ul.xoxo li li {
  border: 0;

.widget {
  margin-top: 0;

.sidebar h3 {
  font-size: 1.2em; /* Make the sidebar item titles a bit smaller. */
  margin: 0; /* Move the sidebar items closer together. */
/*  border-bottom: 1px #ccc solid; */

Add the following to a new file named holygrail.css:

/* General styles */
body {
  border:0;           /* This removes the border around the viewport in old versions of IE */
  min-width:600px;    /* Minimum width of layout - remove line if not required */
                      /* The min-width property does not work in old versions of Internet Explorer */

/* holy grail 3 column settings */
.holygrail {
  position:relative;      /* This fixes the IE7 overflow hidden bug and stops the layout jumping out of place */
  width:100%;             /* width of whole page */
  overflow:hidden;        /* This chops off any overhanging divs */
  background:#CDEAFF;     /* Right column background colour */
.holygrail .colmid {
  margin-left:-12em;      /* Width of right column */
  background:#fff;        /* Centre column background colour */
.holygrail .colleft {
  left:24em;              /* Left column width + right column width */
  background:#cdeaff;     /* Left column background colour */
/* IE6-only hack required if using Standards-mode (i.e. not using an XML prolog.) */
* html .holygrail .colleft {
.holygrail #container {
  right:12em;             /* Width of left column */
  padding-bottom:1em;     /* Centre column bottom padding. Leave it out if it's zero */
.holygrail #content {
  margin:0 13em;          /* Centre column side padding:
                          Left padding = left column width + centre column left padding width
                          Right padding = right column width + centre column right padding width */
.holygrail #primary.sidebar {
  float:right;            /* This overrides the float:left above */
  width:10em;             /* Width of left column content (left column width minus left and right padding) */
  right:1em;              /* Width of the left-had side padding on the left column */
.holygrail #secondary.sidebar {
  float:right;            /* This overrides the float:left above */
  width:10em;             /* Width of right column content (right column width minus left and right padding) */
  margin-right:3em;       /* Width of right column right-hand padding + left column left and right padding */


Password Reset

You can reset an account password from the command line:

NEW_PASSWORD=`echo -n $NEW_PASSWORD | md5sum | cut -f1 -d' '`
mysql --defaults-group-suffix=_$WP_DATABASE $WP_DATABASE <<EOF
UPDATE wp_users SET user_pass="$NEW_PASSWORD" WHERE user_login="$WP_LOGIN"


Add some plugins:

Complete configuration.

Complete my custom theme.

build/wordpress.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/27 19:58 by Admin