WordPress on Linode

One of my first tasks at Linode was to set up some nodebalancers. It was a good exercise, and I learned a lot. I set up redundant wordpress sites and had the nodebalancer handle all of the traffic. It is a pretty neat concept and a very useful tool!

I have not used wordpress in ages and I am amazed at how far it has come in terms of features, ease of installation, usability. It is the perfect content management system. In fact, I was so inspired by how beautiful and easy WP was to set up, that I migrated my whole blog over to it.

So welcome to Rev3 of my move from blogger. I loved drukkar, and would highly recommend it for a very simple blog, but I just needed something with a few more features and extras.

Setting up a WP site on Linode is a breeze thanks to the handy dandy StackScripts that are available. It literally took me about 5 minutes to have a complete WP site up and running. One thing to note, is that if you do deploy using stackscripts and want to use the Permalinks feature you must do the following:

1) Update the .htaccess file to have the following content:

 <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>

2) Enable the Apache Rewrite Module :

sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo service apache2 restart

Your permalinks should now be working fine!  This is what I had to do using a clean StackScript install on Debian 7.5.

WP makes it super easy to import other blogs, so I am going to go ahead and move everything from my blogger blog over here, and move forward from there. Hopefully no more migrations for a while.

Secure Your Self Hosted WordPress

Self hosting WordPress rocks. Unsecured websites do not rock. It does not matter how long or complicated your password is if it is being transmitted in plain text over HTTP.

Luckily, it is easy to create a Self Signed certificate and use it on your website. Keep in mind that browsers become very unhappy with Self Signed Certificates and tend to yell at the user. So, if you have a lot of traffic and want your users to feel safe purchase an SSL certificate from a real Certificate Authority. In any case, at the very least you should be using a self signed SSL for all of the admin portions of your site.

Here’s how to do it on Debian 7.5 running a standard LAMP stack.

  1. Create your self signed Certificate by running the following commands sequentially.
mkdir /etc/apache2/ssl

openssl req -new -x509 -days 365 -nodes -out /etc/apache2/ssl/wp.pem -keyout /etc/apache2/ssl/wp.key

2.  Create a Virtual Host for your website in /etc/apache2/conf.d/yoursite.conf

<VirtualHost 1.2.3.4:443>
SSLEngine on
SSLCertificateFile /etc/apache2/ssl/wp.pem
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/apache2/ssl/wp.key
DocumentRoot /srv/www/yoursite.com/public_html
<Directory *>
AllowOverride All
order allow,deny
Allow from all 
</Directory>
</VirtualHost>
  • Change yoursite.conf to something more meaningful
  • Change 1.2.3.4 to the IP of your server, which you can obtain by running ifconfig in a terminal
  • Change the document root to your actual document root.

3.  Enable the SSL module in Apache

sudo a2enmod ssl

4.  Restart apache

sudo service apache2 restart

All set! Now, you can navigate to https://yourwebsite.com, confirm the security exception, and administer and view your WordPress site securely.

Moving to New Jersey

There have been a lot of big changes going on in my life and I wanted to take a moment to document them all here. A few weeks ago I learned about an opening for the support team at Linode. I have been a customer and huge fan of Linode for a long time and went ahead and applied for the job.

I was very pleased to have the opportunity to interview for this position, and even more pleased to have been offered it! So I am excited to announce that starting Monday, I will be an official member of the Linode Support team!

It was difficult to leave my current job, and friends, and family, and pretty much everything that I had worked so hard to build over the last few years in my first attempt at a post-military civilian career. But for as long as I can remember my passion has been Linux, so having the opportunity to work with Linux every day is not something that I could have passed on in a million years.

So long story short, I am packing up my stuff this weekend and moving to New Jersey! I have had the pleasure of spending the week here looking for a place to live and this is what I have found.

  • You cannot make left turns on some roads, it is kind of weird.
  • You are not allowed to fill up your own car at a gas station, also very weird.
  • It is very easy to lose a lot of money at the Casino’s in Atlantic City.
  • Despite the terrible reputation that NJ has, the people here are pretty nice and the state as a whole is absolutely beautiful.

I am going to be living in Absecon which is just minutes from the ocean! I am really excited to explore the area more and report back what I find here.

My biggest concern at the moment is finding a Linux User Group,  it looks like there are a bunch of defunct ones in New Jersey, and a couple of pretty active ones in Philadelphia which is just about an hour away. If you know of any LUG’s in South Jersey, or if you want to start one with me, let me know!