How to Install WordPress on Windows Server

Having spent most of life using Microsoft operating systems, such as Windows, I am very familiar with the architecture.  However, there are times when it is beneficial to install other applications and technologies that are not native to Windows.

One such application is WordPress.  It has quickly made a name as the foremost leader in content management systems (CMS), starting out as a blogging engine but evolving into a good base for many different Internet applications.

Years ago I recommended installing WordPress through the Microsoft Web Platform Installer as it was a great choice at that time.  It installed the WordPress prerequisites, PHP and MySQL, with the proper configurations to run decently on Windows.  In recent years, however, the Web Platform Installer tends to encounter many issues installing third party applications.

I ran into that issue this week when attempting to install a new WordPress site on one of my servers.  After spending too much time troubleshooting the installation without success, I installed WordPress manually and it was a breeze.  I had it up and running in mere minutes.

The scope of this article does not include installing and configuring PHP and MySQL on your Windows server, although they are relatively easy to install and configure manually.  This assumes that you have a working PHP and MySQL installation and that you have created a new MySQL schema and user.

First you need to create a new website.  In this example we are using a shared IP address so the site will be using Host names.  Make sure you set the correct NTFS permissions on the folder where you are putting the website.

Next, find the new application pool in IIS Manager and open the advanced settings.  You will want to change the .NET CLR Version to ‘No Managed Code’ and the Managed Pipeline Mode to ‘Classic.’  You can adjust any of the other settings later to fit your needs.

Then, download the latest version of WordPress, unzip it, and put the contents of the WordPress folder in the folder for your new site.

Assuming that you have configured DNS for the new domain name to point to the IP address of the new server, you can then browse to the site and you will be greeted with the WordPress setup screen.  Go through the wizard, enter the information for your MySQL schema, and in minutes your new site will be up and running.