The easiest way to set up a free WordPress server

imageThe Microsoft WebMatrix team have been working for quite a while now on making it easier to setup free web servers, so that you can easily implement a new web project – for example, if somebody in your school or uni asks for a platform for blogging – and especially when they come along with a very specific request, like "Can you setup a WordPress server for me". Of course, that’s an ideal time to have the "Have you thought about running your blogs on SharePoint?" conversation, but sometimes people don’t want to know about what you’ve already got – they’ve heard from a friend who uses WordPress/Joomla/Drupal – and they’ve been convinced nothing else will do.

Normally, that may mean spending ages setting up a specific server for their custom WordPress install. And that’s where the web team come in – they have created WebMatrix, which I reckon is the easiest way to setup a free WordPress server (or a Joomla/Drupal etc server).

All you (or they) need to do is to download and install WebMatrix, which uses the Microsoft Web Platform Installer to get your server up and running (and the team claim you can do this in 5 minutes or less). The WebMatrix package includes support for ASP.NET and PHP applications, and includes SQL Server Compact to provide the back-end database, and integrates to Visual Studio for programming. From a student’s or academic’s point of view, it means that they can get started with web development more quickly, whether they are programming in PHP, HTML, CSS or JavaScript – and whether or not they want to add a content management or blogging system like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or others on the server.

And for you as an IT manager, what it means is that you’ve got a basic platform which uses the same Microsoft infrastructure you use across your institution – giving you more control and uniformity across your network.

So next time an academic wanders into the IT office and says "I need to setup a WordPress server", perhaps it’ll be a more welcome question!

You can find out more, and download the free WebMatrix yourself here