Menu
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
User Guide for Linux (API Version 2015-04-15)

Tutorial: Hosting a WordPress Blog with Amazon Linux

The following procedures will help you install, configure, and secure a WordPress blog on your Amazon Linux instance.

Important

These procedures are intended for use with Amazon Linux. For more information about other distributions, see their specific documentation. Many steps in this tutorial do not work on Ubuntu instances. For help installing WordPress on an Ubuntu instance, see WordPress in the Ubuntu documentation.

Install WordPress

This tutorial is a good introduction to using Amazon EC2 in that you have full control over a web server that hosts your WordPress blog, which is not typical with a traditional hosting service. Of course, that means that you are responsible for updating the software packages and maintaining security patches for your server as well. For a more automated WordPress installation that does not require direct interaction with the web server configuration, the AWS CloudFormation service provides a WordPress template that can also get you started quickly. For more information, see Getting Started in the AWS CloudFormation User Guide. If you'd prefer to host your WordPress blog on a Windows instance, see Deploying a WordPress Blog on Your Amazon EC2 Windows Instance in the Amazon EC2 User Guide for Microsoft Windows Instances.

Prerequisites

This tutorial assumes that you have launched an Amazon Linux instance with a functional web server with PHP and MySQL support by following all of the steps in Tutorial: Installing a LAMP Web Server on Amazon Linux. This tutorial also has steps for configuring a security group to allow HTTP and HTTPS traffic, as well as several steps to ensure that file permissions are set properly for your web server. If you have not already done so, see Tutorial: Installing a LAMP Web Server on Amazon Linux to meet these prerequisites and then return to this tutorial to install WordPress. For information about adding rules to your security group, see Adding Rules to a Security Group.

Important

We strongly recommend that you associate an Elastic IP address (EIP) to the instance you are using to host a WordPress blog. This prevents the public DNS address for your instance from changing and breaking your installation. If you own a domain name and you want to use it for your blog, you can update the DNS record for the domain name to point to your EIP address (for help with this, contact your domain name registrar). You can have one EIP address associated with a running instance at no charge. For more information, see Elastic IP Addresses.

If you don't already have a domain name for your blog, you can register a domain name with Amazon Route 53 and associate your instance's EIP address with your domain name. For more information, see Registering Domain Names Using Amazon Route 53 in the Amazon Route 53 Developer Guide.

To download and unzip the WordPress installation package

  1. Download the latest WordPress installation package with the wget command. The following command should always download the latest release.

    [ec2-user ~]$ wget https://wordpress.org/latest.tar.gz
    --2013-08-09 17:19:01--  https://wordpress.org/latest.tar.gz
    Resolving wordpress.org (wordpress.org)... 66.155.40.249, 66.155.40.250
    Connecting to wordpress.org (wordpress.org)|66.155.40.249|:443... connected.
    HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
    Length: 4028740 (3.8M) [application/x-gzip]
    Saving to: latest.tar.gz
    
    100%[======================================>] 4,028,740   20.1MB/s   in 0.2s
    
    2013-08-09 17:19:02 (20.1 MB/s) - latest.tar.gz saved [4028740/4028740]
    
  2. Unzip and unarchive the installation package. The installation folder is unzipped to a folder called wordpress.

    [ec2-user ~]$ tar -xzf latest.tar.gz
    [ec2-user ~]$ ls
    latest.tar.gz  wordpress
    

To create a MySQL user and database for your WordPress installation

Your WordPress installation needs to store information, such as blog post entries and user comments, in a database. This procedure helps you create a database for your blog and a user that is authorized to read and save information to that database.

  1. Start the MySQL server.

    [ec2-user ~]$ sudo service mysqld start
  2. Log in to the MySQL server as the root user. Enter your MySQL root password when prompted; this may be different than your root system password, or it may even be empty if you have not secured your MySQL server.

    Important

    If you have not secured your MySQL server yet, it is very important that you do so. For more information, see To secure the MySQL server.

    [ec2-user ~]$ mysql -u root -p
    Enter password:
  3. Create a user and password for your MySQL database. Your WordPress installation uses these values to communicate with your MySQL database. Enter the following command, substituting a unique user name and password.

    mysql> CREATE USER 'wordpress-user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'your_strong_password';
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

    Make sure that you create a strong password for your user. Do not use the single quote character ( ' ) in your password, because this will break the preceding command. For more information about creating a secure password, go to http://www.pctools.com/guides/password/. Do not reuse an existing password, and make sure to store this password in a safe place.

  4. Create your database. Give your database a descriptive, meaningful name, such as wordpress-db.

    Note

    The punctuation marks surrounding the database name in the command below are called backticks. The backtick (`) key is usually located above the Tab key on a standard keyboard. Backticks are not always required, but they allow you to use otherwise illegal characters, such as hyphens, in database names.

    mysql> CREATE DATABASE `wordpress-db`;
    Query OK, 1 row affected (0.01 sec)
  5. Grant full privileges for your database to the WordPress user that you created earlier.

    mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON `wordpress-db`.* TO "wordpress-user"@"localhost";
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
  6. Flush the MySQL privileges to pick up all of your changes.

    mysql> FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.01 sec)
  7. Exit the mysql client.

    mysql> exit
    Bye

To create and edit the wp-config.php file

The WordPress installation folder contains a sample configuration file called wp-config-sample.php. In this procedure, you copy this file and edit it to fit your specific configuration.

  1. Copy the wp-config-sample.php file to a file called wp-config.php. This creates a new configuration file and keeps the original sample file intact as a backup.

    [ec2-user ~]$ cd wordpress/
    [ec2-user wordpress]$ cp wp-config-sample.php wp-config.php
  2. Edit the wp-config.php file with your favorite text editor (such as nano or vim) and enter values for your installation. If you do not have a favorite text editor, nano is much easier for beginners to use.

    [ec2-user wordpress]$ nano wp-config.php
    1. Find the line that defines DB_NAME and change database_name_here to the database name that you created in Step 4 of To create a MySQL user and database for your WordPress installation.

      define('DB_NAME', 'wordpress-db');
    2. Find the line that defines DB_USER and change username_here to the database user that you created in Step 3 of To create a MySQL user and database for your WordPress installation.

      define('DB_USER', 'wordpress-user');
    3. Find the line that defines DB_PASSWORD and change password_here to the strong password that you created in Step 3 of To create a MySQL user and database for your WordPress installation.

      define('DB_PASSWORD', 'your_strong_password');
    4. Find the section called Authentication Unique Keys and Salts. These KEY and SALT values provide a layer of encryption to the browser cookies that WordPress users store on their local machines. Basically, adding long, random values here makes your site more secure. Visit https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt/ to randomly generate a set of key values that you can copy and paste into your wp-config.php file. To paste text into a PuTTY terminal, place the cursor where you want to paste the text and right-click your mouse inside the PuTTY terminal.

      For more information about security keys, go to http://codex.wordpress.org/Editing_wp-config.php#Security_Keys.

      Note

      The values below are for example purposes only; do not use these values for your installation.

      define('AUTH_KEY',         ' #U$$+[RXN8:b^-L 0(WU_+ c+WFkI~c]o]-bHw+)/Aj[wTwSiZ<Qb[mghEXcRh-');
      define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY',  'Zsz._P=l/|y.Lq)XjlkwS1y5NJ76E6EJ.AV0pCKZZB,*~*r ?6OP$eJT@;+(ndLg');
      define('LOGGED_IN_KEY',    'ju}qwre3V*+8f_zOWf?{LlGsQ]Ye@2Jh^,8x>)Y |;(^[Iw]Pi+LG#A4R?7N`YB3');
      define('NONCE_KEY',        'P(g62HeZxEes|LnI^i=H,[XwK9I&[2s|:?0N}VJM%?;v2v]v+;+^9eXUahg@::Cj');
      define('AUTH_SALT',        'C$DpB4Hj[JK:?{ql`sRVa:{:7yShy(9A@5wg+`JJVb1fk%_-Bx*M4(qc[Qg%JT!h');
      define('SECURE_AUTH_SALT', 'd!uRu#}+q#{f$Z?Z9uFPG.${+S{n~1M&%@~gL>U>NV<zpD-@2-Es7Q1O-bp28EKv');
      define('LOGGED_IN_SALT',   ';j{00P*owZf)kVD+FVLn-~ >.|Y%Ug4#I^*LVd9QeZ^&XmK|e(76miC+&W&+^0P/');
      define('NONCE_SALT',       '-97r*V/cgxLmp?Zy4zUU4r99QQ_rGs2LTd%P;|_e1tS)8_B/,.6[=UK<J_y9?JWG');
    5. Save the file and exit your text editor.

To move your WordPress installation to the Apache document root

Now that you've unzipped the installation folder, created a MySQL database and user, and customized the WordPress configuration file, you are ready to move your installation files to your web server document root so you can run the installation script that completes your installation. The location of these files depends on whether you want your WordPress blog to be available at the root of your web server (for example, my.public.dns.amazonaws.com) or in a subdirectory or folder (for example, my.public.dns.amazonaws.com/blog).

  • Choose the location where you want your blog to be available and only run the mv associated with that location.

    Important

    If you run both sets of commands below, you will get an error message on the second mv command because the files you are trying to move are no longer there.

    • To make your blog available at my.public.dns.amazonaws.com, move the files in the wordpress folder (but not the folder itself) to the Apache document root (/var/www/html on Amazon Linux instances).

      [ec2-user wordpress]$ mv * /var/www/html/
    • OR, to make your blog available at my.public.dns.amazonaws.com/blog instead, create a new folder called blog inside the Apache document root and move the files in the wordpress folder (but not the folder itself) to the new blog folder.

      [ec2-user wordpress]$ mkdir /var/www/html/blog
      [ec2-user wordpress]$ mv * /var/www/html/blog

Important

For security purposes, if you are not moving on to the next procedure immediately, stop the Apache web server (httpd) now. After you move your installation to the Apache document root, the WordPress installation script is unprotected and an attacker could gain access to your blog if the Apache web server were running. To stop the Apache web server, enter the command sudo service httpd stop. If you are moving on to the next procedure, you do not need to stop the Apache web server.

To allow WordPress to use permalinks

WordPress permalinks need to use Apache .htaccess files to work properly, but this is not enabled by default on Amazon Linux. Use this procedure to allow all overrides in the Apache document root.

  1. Open the httpd.conf file with your favorite text editor (such as nano or vim). If you do not have a favorite text editor, nano is much easier for beginners to use.

    [ec2-user wordpress]$ sudo vim /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf
  2. Find the section that starts with <Directory "/var/www/html">.

    <Directory "/var/www/html">
        #
        # Possible values for the Options directive are "None", "All",
        # or any combination of:
        #   Indexes Includes FollowSymLinks SymLinksifOwnerMatch ExecCGI MultiViews
        #
        # Note that "MultiViews" must be named *explicitly* --- "Options All"
        # doesn't give it to you.
        #
        # The Options directive is both complicated and important.  Please see
        # http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/mod/core.html#options
        # for more information.
        #
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
    
        #
        # AllowOverride controls what directives may be placed in .htaccess files.
        # It can be "All", "None", or any combination of the keywords:
        #   Options FileInfo AuthConfig Limit
        #
        AllowOverride None
    
        #
        # Controls who can get stuff from this server.
        #
        Require all granted
    </Directory>
  3. Change the AllowOverride None line in the above section to read AllowOverride All.

    Note

    There are multiple AllowOverride lines in this file; be sure you change the line in the <Directory "/var/www/html"> section.

    AllowOverride All
  4. Save the file and exit your text editor.

To fix file permissions for the Apache web server

Some of the available features in WordPress require write access to the Apache document root (such as uploading media though the Administration screens). The web server runs as the apache user, so you need to add that user to the www group that was created in the LAMP web server tutorial.

  1. Add the apache user to the www group.

    [ec2-user wordpress]$ sudo usermod -a -G www apache
  2. Change the file ownership of /var/www and its contents to the apache user.

    [ec2-user wordpress]$ sudo chown -R apache /var/www
  3. Change the group ownership of /var/www and its contents to the www group.

    [ec2-user wordpress]$ sudo chgrp -R www /var/www
  4. Change the directory permissions of /var/www and its subdirectories to add group write permissions and to set the group ID on future subdirectories.

    [ec2-user wordpress]$ sudo chmod 2775 /var/www
    [ec2-user wordpress]$ find /var/www -type d -exec sudo chmod 2775 {} +
  5. Recursively change the file permissions of /var/www and its subdirectories to add group write permissions.

    [ec2-user wordpress]$ find /var/www -type f -exec sudo chmod 0664 {} +
  6. Restart the Apache web server to pick up the new group and permissions.

    [ec2-user wordpress]$ sudo service httpd restart
    Stopping httpd:                                            [  OK  ]
    Starting httpd:                                            [  OK  ]

To run the WordPress installation script

  1. Use the chkconfig command to ensure that the httpd and mysqld services start at every system boot.

    [ec2-user wordpress]$ sudo chkconfig httpd on
    [ec2-user wordpress]$ sudo chkconfig mysqld on
  2. Verify that the MySQL server (mysqld) is running.

    [ec2-user wordpress]$ sudo service mysqld status
    mysqld (pid  4746) is running...

    If the mysqld service is not running, start it.

    [ec2-user wordpress]$ sudo service mysqld start
    Starting mysqld:                                           [  OK  ]
  3. Verify that your Apache web server (httpd) is running.

    [ec2-user wordpress]$ sudo service httpd status
    httpd (pid  502) is running...

    If the httpd service is not running, start it.

    [ec2-user wordpress]$ sudo service httpd start
    Starting httpd:                                            [  OK  ]
  4. In a web browser, enter the URL of your WordPress blog (either the public DNS address for your instance, or that address followed by the blog folder). You should see the WordPress installation screen.

    http://my.public.dns.amazonaws.com
  5. Enter the remaining installation information into the WordPress installation wizard.

    FieldValue
    Site TitleEnter a name for your WordPress site.
    UsernameEnter a name for your WordPress administrator. For security purposes, you should choose a unique name for this user, because it will be more difficult to exploit than the default user name, admin.
    PasswordEnter a strong password, and then enter it again to confirm. Do not reuse an existing password, and make sure to store this password in a safe place.
    Your E-mailEnter the email address you want to use for notifications.
  6. Click Install WordPress to complete the installation.

Congratulations, you should now be able to log into your WordPress blog and start posting entries.

Next Steps

If you have a domain name associated with your EC2 instance's EIP address, you can configure your blog to use that name instead of the EC2 public DNS address. For more information, see http://codex.wordpress.org/Changing_The_Site_URL.

You can configure your blog to use different themes and plugins to offer a more personalized experience for your readers. However, sometimes the installation process can backfire, causing you to lose your entire blog. We strongly recommend that you create a backup Amazon Machine Image (AMI) of your instance before attempting to install any themes or plugins so you can restore your blog if anything goes wrong during installation. For more information, see Creating Your Own AMI.

If your WordPress blog becomes popular and you need more compute power, you might consider migrating to a larger instance type; for more information, see Resizing Your Instance. If your blog requires more storage space than you originally accounted for, you could expand the storage space on your instance; for more information, see Expanding the Storage Space of an EBS Volume on Linux. If your MySQL database needs to grow, you might consider moving it to Amazon RDS to take advantage of the service's ability to scale automatically.

For information about WordPress, see the WordPress Codex help documentation at http://codex.wordpress.org/. For more information about troubleshooting your installation, go to http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress#Common_Installation_Problems. For information about making your WordPress blog more secure, go to http://codex.wordpress.org/Hardening_WordPress. For information about keeping your WordPress blog up-to-date, go to http://codex.wordpress.org/Updating_WordPress.

Help! My Public DNS Name Changed and now my Blog is Broken

Your WordPress installation is automatically configured using the public DNS address for your EC2 instance. If you stop and restart the instance, the public DNS address changes (unless it is associated with an Elastic IP address) and your blog will not work anymore because it references resources at an address that no longer exists (or is assigned to another EC2 instance). A more detailed description of the problem and several possible solutions are outlined in http://codex.wordpress.org/Changing_The_Site_URL.

If this has happened to your WordPress installation, you may be able to recover your blog with the procedure below, which uses the wp-cli command line interface for WordPress.

To change your WordPress site URL with the wp-cli

  1. Connect to your EC2 instance with SSH.

  2. Note the old site URL and the new site URL for your instance. The old site URL is likely the public DNS name for your EC2 instance when you installed WordPress. The new site URL is the current public DNS name for your EC2 instance. If you are not sure of your old site URL, you can use curl to find it with the following command.

    [ec2-user ~]$ curl localhost | grep wp-content

    You should see references to your old public DNS name in the output, which will look like this (old site URL in red):

    <script type='text/javascript' src='http://ec2-52-8-139-223.us-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com/wp-content/themes/twentyfifteen/js/functions.js?ver=20150330'></script>
  3. Download the wp-cli with the following command.

    [ec2-user ~]$ curl -O https://raw.githubusercontent.com/wp-cli/builds/gh-pages/phar/wp-cli.phar
  4. Search and replace the old site URL in your WordPress installation with the following command. Substitute the old and new site URLs for your EC2 instance and the path to your WordPress installation (usually /var/www/html or /var/www/html/blog).

    [ec2-user ~]$ php wp-cli.phar search-replace 'old_site_url' 'new_site_url' --path=/path/to/wordpress/installation --skip-columns=guid
  5. In a web browser, enter the new site URL of your WordPress blog to verify that the site is working properly again. If it is not, see http://codex.wordpress.org/Changing_The_Site_URL and http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress#Common_Installation_Problems for more information.