This Blog is Running on OpenShift Express, And So Can You

this post is way out of date, it’s gotten much easier to run wordpress on openshift express

This morning I installed this WordPress blog on Red Hat’s free Platform as a Service offering, OpenShift Express. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Sign up for an OpenShift Express account here. If you already have an RHN account, you’ll be able to use those credentials.
  2. Install the OpenShift Express client tools. If you’re running a Red Hat or Fedora distro, you can follow the instructions here to configure the yum repository you need. I used an Ubuntu client, and I installed the tools by following the instructions here. If you’re using Ubuntu or Debian, watch for a typo on the “apt-get install” command: the text says “libopenssl-rubuy” but it ought to be “libopenssl-ruby”. I could have made life easier for myself by adding the path to ruby gem binaries to my path, but I didn’t, so I had to append all rhc commands with my path, /var/lib/gems/1.8/bin/.
  3. Follow the instructions in the Express Eval Guide to create a subdomain. When it’s installed, your WordPress instance will live on the Internet at
  4. If there’s a HOWTO on installing WordPress on OpenShift Express, I haven’t found it, so I used the Mediawiki HOWTO to get started. As spelled out, more or less, in the guide, your next step is creating your app: rhc-create-app –a APPNAME –t php-5.3 -l USERNAME (the guide says -t php-5.3.2, but I was prompted to leave off that trailing .2)
  5. In the Mediawiki HOWTO, sqlite is the database of choice, but Red Hat recently added MySQL as a database option. I referred to this blog post to add a MySQL DB to my new app: rhc-ctl-app -a APPNAME -e add-mysql-5.1 -l USERNAME
  6. After issuing that database command, the service spit out a user name, password and IP address for my new database instance. Take note of that info, we’ll need it to configure WordPress.
  7. Next, I changed into the PHP directory within my app, cd APPNAME/php, grabbed the code for the latest version of WordPress, and extracted it into my php directory: wget && tar zxf latest.tar.gz. I moved everything from the wordpress directory up a level into the php directory, and then deleted the wordpress folder and the latest.tar.gz archive.
  8. At this point, I was unsure how to create the database for wordpress within the MySQL DB that I’d added to my app. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to access OpenShift Express MySQL instances interactively, and unlike Mediawiki, WordPress doesn’t have a “give us your root creds and we’ll make a DB for you” install option. After a bit of Googling, however, I found what seemed to be a decent enough solution here. I wrote a little createdb.php script and saved it in my app’s php directory.
  9. Next, I ran git status in my app directory, and added the untracked wordpress files and my DB creation file to my git repo with git add. I commited the changes with git commit -a and then used git push to push them up into OpenShift Express.
  10. I ran my DB creation script by visiting, and then visited to kick off the typical WordPress install process. I used the DB user name, password and URL info that OpenShift Express had given me, and clicked through the install.
  11. At this point, I’d created a new wp-config.php file through the Web app, and this config file wasn’t yet present in my git repo, so I returned to the Mediawiki setup instructions and followed the steps to download a snapshot of my app from the Web, to pull out the wp-config.php file, and drop it into the php directory of my app. I added this file to git, removed the createdb.php file, which I no longer needed, committed these changes to git, and pushed them.
  12. Profit! I installed WordPress on OpenShift Express, and here we are. If anyone tries to follow these steps and hits a snag, please let me know, and I’ll fix the instructions.

Next Steps:

  1. Pointing my own domain name at this site. (Hmm, guess not.)
  2. Maybe creating another php script to give the site a more locked down db configuration–the default admin user that the service gave me might well have more permissions than it ought to.
  3. Bring in some fancy plugins, perhaps, maybe tweak the theme. Does this header image seem unreasonably huge to anyone else, or is it just me?
  4. Look into app stats / performance features of OpenShift Express — are there any?