WordPress 3.0 MultiSite on Windows 2003 and IIS 6

Whether or not you hate Windows, sometimes you get a job where you have to install WordPress 3.0 MultiSite on Server 2003 and IIS 6.  Here’s how I did it… easily. 

I’ll give you all the steps later on, but here is the key point that everyone seems to be looking for: How to get around the whole Apache mod_rewrite issue.

  1. Install the free version of ISAPI_Rewrite3 Lite by Helicon on your server before installing WordPress.  This replaces the Apache mod_rewrite that does not exist in IIS
  2. Copy the WordPress files into the appropriate folder on your Windows 2003 Server.
  3. Create an empty .htaccess file in the WordPress root directory
  4. Install MySQL as per instructions on all the other sites, and create the WordPress database and a user that has access to that database
  5. Install WordPress on the Windows server using the famous 5 minute install
  6. Follow the WordPress instructions to "Create a Network"
  7. After you do that, it will show you some code to put in your .htaccess file.  Copy that code into the file you created in step 2.
  8. Open the Helicon ConfigEditor.exe (by default it is in C:\Program Files\Helicon\ISAPI_Rewrite3),
    • paste in the same code that you copied into your .htaccess file
    • click the "Apply" button
    • save it as the httpd.conf file in the Helicon/ISAPI_Rewrite3 directory

Brag to your friends about how you set up a really well-functioning WordPress 3.0 MultiSite Network on a Windows 2003 Server with IIS.

Static homepage in WordPress

A friend of mine had an interesting issue with her installation of WordPress.  She was originally using static html for her website, and using WordPress as the blog engine of the website.  She wanted switch from static html pages to using WordPress to manage her entire site.

The problem was that her main website (let’s say domainname.com) resolved to the static html pages, and the blog was installed in a different directory (domainname.com/blog).  So, making this change was a little more complicated than just recreating the static pages in WordPress and designating one of the static pages as the homepage.

Here are the basic steps we took:

Step 1:  Change WordPress settings so that it thinks it now lives at http://www.domainname.com instead of http://www.domainname.com/blog

This is required so that all of the wordpress links will still work

  • Log-in to wordpress as an admin
  • Go to Settings -> General
  • WordPress Address (URL) -> http://www.domainname.com
  • Blog Address (URL) -> http://www.domainname.com
  • Save the changes
When you save the changes, it will take you back to the wordpress login screen.  Then it won’t let you log-in and make it look like wordpress is broken.  Don’t worry, it’s not.  The changes have been saved and you’ll be able to log-in again a couple of minutes after step 2 is completed.

Step 2:  make domainname.com resolve to the directory on the webserver that the blog is installed.

The web hosting company had the home directory of the website as this:

We changed this to:

So, when we went to domainname.com, it now took us directly to the blog (but without the /blog in the URL).

Step 3:  Make a static page your wordpress homepage.

Here’s a video on how to make the static page your homepage.  It goes over how to do it and some problems that you’ll encounter, and how to solve them:


It’s about 11 minutes long and goes through it really well.

Step 4:  Change permalinks structure

We also had to change the permalinks structure a little bit.  We changed it to: