Linux Subsystem for Windows | WordPress

Hi guys

Almost a year back I posted about Linux Subsystem for Windows & interesting that I am revisiting the subject in the same period once again. Within an year time loads have changed with the Linux subsystem. Starting from Windows 10 version 1803, once started the Linux Subsystem is available in the background until a reboot! Sounds great?

This time we will see such an enhancement could be utilized on Windows for some extended “developments”, and I will walk you through setting up “WordPress” using WSL. Please note, I am opting “WordPress” as target ONLY for few reasons like:

  • “WordPress” is developed using PHP
  • “WordPress” mostly uses MySQL for database
  • “WordPress” is mostly hosted on LINUX environments

Windows SubSystem for Linux Installation

You must enable “Windows SubSystem for Linux ” through “Turn Windows Features on or off”, after which you will have to reboot your Windows box

Open “Windows Store” and search for Linux, that should bring up many results as seen with the image below

We’ll be using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS this time as I had pretty difficult issues with Pengwin & SUSE. If you are familiar with Linux, Ubuntu is a debian based Linux distribution & widely used for desktop systems. For our limited tests Ubuntu is a right choice.

Total download of Ubuntu 18.04 is around 270MBs & should be installed without giving any troubles.

Once “Ubuntu App” is installed you will be notified and you can immediately “launch” the app.

Ubuntu takes few minutes to finalize the installation & will prompt you to enter a username & password. Make sure you remember the username and password, forgetting may force you to reinstall Ubuntu.

Immediately after setting up a Linux username and password, we will make sure that the Subsystem is upgraded with all new packages.

(While apt & apt-get do almost the same thing, why “apt” is preferred? please read about it here)

Issue the command

$sudo apt upade

Once the update process finishes with the list of packages those could be upgrade, go ahead with upgrading the instance

$sudo apt upgrade

Depending upon the speed of your internet connection this could take a while.


Installation of PHP, Apache, MySQL & phpMyadmin on WSL

Install PHP

$sudo apt install php libapache2-mod-php

It shouldn’t take more than couple of minutes before PHP is installed.

Install Apache2 (Web Server)

Issue the following command at prompt($)

$sudo apt install apache2 or sudo apt-get install apache2

Apache installation should not take more than few minutes & we will see how to configure it bit later.

MySQL installation

I faced multiple issues installing MySQL on my Ubuntu based WSL. Few were merely because I was ignoring few pre-requisites like checking for already open ports on my Windows & other were due to lack of adequate amount of experiences with installing software on Linux

After a couple of failed attempts, I landed upon this page, which neatly explains how to use MySQL PPA in the place of Ubuntu’s default repositories for MySQL

I will make some fresh screenshots, that is for recent versions of MySQL installation using the MySQL PPA, because there are few more MySQL versions are supported currently using the same PPA

Configure MySQL PPA

Issue the following commands:

wget http://repo.mysql.com/mysql-apt-config_0.8.10-1_all.deb

followed by

$sudo dpkg -i mysql-apt-config_0.8.10-1_all.deb

This will provide you a graphical interface to select correct MySQL version for your requirements

Now, you must run update command once again

$sudo apt update

Now we have a conflict to resolve. As on date, the MySQL 5.7 repository signature is invalid, for the same reason the repository will be disabled. (I don’t know what kind of issues this could produce, so not taking any risks). Next step we will get a valid signature for the disabled repository and re-enable it

Issue the command (read more here https://tecadmin.net/expired-key-expkeysig-with-apt/)

$sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv-keys 8C718D3B5072E1F5

Make sure the key that you want to resign is fed in correct. You MUST insure that the command completes successfully.

As we have enabled the repository by getting the new key, we can proceed to next step.

We will force the udpate process once again

$sudo apt update

You should get a notice that 1 package could be upgraded. So we will go ahead with upgrade.

$sudo apt upgrade

This will auto start the configuration window, all you need is to select ok and proceed

Make sure there are no new packages after the setup by issuing

$sudo apt update

Now we can start installing the MySQL 5.7 Server.
Please note, if you already have an instance of MySQL running on your Windows, the port 3306 will be in use (unless custom ports are used) & you WILL never able to complete the MySQL installation on WSL. Many undocumented errors will stop the MySQL installation, apparently without giving you the least ideas of what went wrong. So, make sure that the MySQL server is stopped and the port is not listening to port 3306. I don’t know another way to address this situation.

Issue the command

$sudo apt install mysql-server

You will be prompted for MySQL root account. I suggest using the same password across this particular setup so that you will not mess them up later stages.

Confirm the MySQL root password

That completes the MySQL 5.7 Server installation.

Now, let us try to start the MySQL 5.7 Server service.

MySQL 5.7 service is started now. So we can proceed to installing phpmyadmin, MySQL manipulation software.

Install phpmyadmin

Issue the following command

$sudo apt-get install phpmyadmin php-mbstring php-gettext

As we are using Apache2 as web server, make the selection by tapping the spacebar and Ok

You will be asked whether the database for phpmyadmin should be configured, You should select Yes, unless you want to do it later.

You will be asked to provide the a password now, that is for the phpmyadmin, use the same MySQL root password here (you can use a new password, just to avoid confusion, I use the same password everywhere)

You have to confirm the password.

Now you will be asked to enter the MySQL administrator(root) password, supply it

Confirm & wait for the phpmyadkin to complete the installation

Installation will notify you about Apache not being running, you can ignore the notice.

Now we will start the Apache Server. Couple of things you should take care with Apache & I will try to list few of them below:

As the WSL runs as another software on Windows, it is bind to experience conflicts. For example, if you already have IIS server listening to port 80, without changing the port information for Apache, will not able to start the server until the ports information is corrected within the Apache configuration file.

If you already have MS SQL server installed with reporting, the reporting engine listens to port 80, so even if you would stop or disable the IIS/WWP services, there is a possibility that port conflicts will arise. This will also prompt you to alter the default port mentioned in the Apache configuration file

So let us see how we are going to address such conflicts:

Edit the Apache ports configuration file

$sudo vi /etc/apache2

I opted for port 8088 (You can choose a port that is NOT used by Windows. Issue netstat -aon to get a list of ports open/listening on Windows from CMD

100% sure that you are going get presented with an annoying notice “
Protocol not available: AH00076: Failed to enable APR_TCP_DEFER_ACCEPT” which is easily addressable.

We will edit the apache configuration file to address this issue

issue the command

$sudo vi /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

& add “AcceptFilter http none” by the end of the file.

Save the configuration file & restart the Apache service.

As we have completed all the installations and managed to start the services successfully after fixing the configuration files, it is time to reboot.

WSL unfortunately doesn’t let you use “init 0”, or “init 6” to shutdown or restart the instance, instead you must use the Windows Services MMC for the same.

This will close all open Ubuntu “app” windows. You can restart the Ubuntu from the app list.

Once Ubuntu restarted, let us start the services

$sudo service apache2 start
$sudo service mysql start

Once the services are started, we will try phpmyadmin. As I mentioned already, I have set the port 8088 for Apache, hence I can access the phpmyadmin from the link http://localhost:8088/phpmyadmin

You can safely ignore the warnings, as the current version of phpmyadmin we installed from Ubuntu repos have certain conflicts with PHP 7.2

Install “WordPress”

“WordPress” is one of the leading CMS (Content Management Systems) with unlimited possibilities. Recently we switched our decade long joomla based corporate website to “WordPress” & after few days of interactions with the technology, I feel I would never look anywhere else.

Get “WordPress”

Issue the command

$wget https://wordpress.org/latest.tar.gz

This will download the latest “WordPress” to your home folder

Now we have to extract the downloaded file to right htdoc root. We are talking about the default configurations available with apache configuration files. Hence the wordpress should be extracted to ‘/var/www/hmtl/’ folder, which is a protected path. We’ll change the folder permissions temporarily to facilitate the extracting

$sudo chown 777 -R /var/www

now switch to ‘/var/www/html/’

Issue the command

$tar -xvzf /home/rajesh//latest.tar.gz

NB: Replace the pathname, please

Now we will create a new database for the “WordPress” using phpmyadmin

Create a new MySQL user

Give the newly created user database privileges, in my case, I created a new datbase called “intranet”.

Set all privileges. On a production environment, YOU are expected to set them wisely.

As all set with the database, we will install “WordPress” now

Access the link (please changed according to your setups)

http://localhost:8088/wordpress/wp-admin/install.php, that will take you to “WordPress” installation page immediately.

Supply all requested details

Now we have a problem, “WordPress” installation cannot write to “wp-config.php” file. This is due to linux file/folder permissions. Hence we will again change the permissions over ‘/var/www/’ folder

$sudo chmod 777 -R /var/www

Now, go back to the previous page, furnish the details and “WordPress” should happily move ahead. Run the installation

That completes what we tried to achieve. “WordPress” running successfully from a WSL environment.

Now, it is time to ask the questions like “Why so much pain, when we can achieve the entire “WordPress” thing on Windows?”

Well, primarly “WordPress” performs better on Linux enviorment (personal observation), second & most important for me. I just love learning something new everyday. You are welcome!

Microsoft has added WSL with it’s Server 2016 (Version 1803) & the vision is pretty clear. Microsoft “wants” to provide a LINUX environment within Windows so that in the future, a separate LINUX Server requirement will NOT truly hurt the customers. Currently the WSL is NOT equipped with desktops/GUI & Pengwin like initiatives are sure making traction. If my guess will NOT go wrong, soon Windows Servers will be running “Linux” side by side & those Linux Servers are going to be as good as physical/Virtualized. We’ll wait eagerly, together.

regards,

WordPress Themes | A simple hack for hiding static header

Update: 29-Jan-2019

After the hack(s) below, I realized that the X-Business Plus theme has 15px white space between the header and content sections. It took a while to crack it, well finally I was able to patch the style.css file to fix that last “annoyance” also (These hacks are applicable to most of the themes available in the market, only few name changes inside the style.css files and different names for functions those are called)

White space fix. Copy the style.css file to a new file (for backup)

Open the style.css file with a decent text editor like “Notepad++”

Go to # Content & locate the following code

.page-content,
.entry-content,
.entry-summary {
margin: 15px 0 0;
}

Change the same to something like following:

.page-content,
.entry-content,
.entry-summary {
/* margin: 15px 0 0; Margin value was changed by Rajesh on 29th Jan 2019 to fix the white space between header and page content */
margin: 0 0 0;
}

Save the CSS file & you are all good. Enjoy ;)

Hi guys

Recently we decided to revamp our Joomla based corporate website & as we don’t do any e-commerce stuff through our existing website, chose “WordPress” for the CMS

After cross examining couple of dozen WordPress themes, we decided to go with “X Business Plus”, that looked apt for our requirements. The biggest challenge came when we started designing pages for our subsidiary companies. All looked good, except the Header region that didn’t have a toggle switch to show or not to show on specific pages and much of the header region was not necessary for the business pages, except the main menu.

The developer has confirmed that, with the current release of their theme, it is not doable and the ONLY possible solution in front of me was to “hack” the theme to achieve what we were planning (We have had another option, go with another theme that supports toggling the header on and off for specific pages)

After couple of google searches I landed on this page https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/functions/get_header/ & decided to give it a try.

Step #1

Create a new template. Every theme that you install will have standard structure(as far I know) & the templates those you associate with pages are available under

“wp-content\themes\<<theme-name>>\templates” path.

Following instructions about how to copy a template to new one, I copied the full-width-page.php to a new PHP file called corp-width-page.php & changed the name of the template within the newly created template file.

Although it looks like another comment, Template Name: is the string that WordPress reads to populate the available templates for the page. Notice the get_header(‘corp’) call within the 1st PHP block. I will come to that later. Once after the new template created, I copied the existing header.php to “header-corp.php” (This is in reference to the guidelines I obtained from WordPress developer document, that I mentioned earlier in this post)

Whatever string you will add after “header-” will be read by the template for the header part & that is the real hack. So in our case “corp” string forces the get_header() function to look for a header file named “header-corp.php” and if found, loads it, else loads the default header.php file!

Once after creating the new header-corp.php file, I started commenting do_action calls one after another until I came to the intended result…”hide the header on chosen pages”

So here is how it works. Open the page that you don’t want to see the theme header, change the page template to your newly defined template name. My case “Corporate Page” (Use WordPress’s “Edit” to make this change, which is neat and less confusing than a professional editor like Elementor)

Update the page. My new template is already calling ‘corp’ header page through get_header() function call, which has limited actions to suite the requirements.

One major issue I had with such a hack was, the header section was having the site’s primary menu. By not displaying the header, we lost access to the menu. So I had to add a navigation menu with every page that didn’t show the header. Easily doable with “Elementor” and navigation menu element.

Beside the thrill of another “hack”, I am eager to know how these hacks will affect the site when the theme is updated by the developer in the future. So to save some frustration, I have made a copy of everything that I copied and altered and kept in a safe place…who knows that would be waiting for me :)

regards,

rajesh

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Windows7bugs | Script Copying Instructions

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