WordPress, Windows And Linux Servers

Last week I tried loading a new blog onto one of my friend’s accounts. I know how the process goes in trying to set up a new blog. You go in and create a new directory, while waiting for it you create a new MySQL account with all the information you’ll need, you go ahead and configure the WP-Config.PHP to what you need, and then when the folder is ready you upload everything and you’re good to go.

Except I wasn’t good to go. The sucker wouldn’t work, and I was getting this strange error message: Your PHP installation appears to be missing the MySQL extension which is required by WordPress.

Only it wasn’t missing anything as far as I could see. I ran a few things and figured something must be up, and at the same time there was a new WordPress update to 3.3.2, so I figured maybe that was the reason. I went and deleted all the files that I’d uploaded and then uploaded the new WordPress, making sure the correct WP-Config.PHP file was there.

I tried it again; same error message. Time to go and do some research, which y’all know I’m big on. And you know what? There’s a lot of mess out there that’s technical gobbledy-gook, and none of it make sense. Okay, some of it made sense, but little of it was anything I could do anything with. I did try some of the things I read, and of course none of them worked.

When all else fails, it’s time to call tech support. I did just that very thing and told the guy who answered the phone what the error message I got was saying. He told me that it was because my friend bought the Windows server package instead of the Linux server package and that, at least with them, WordPress wouldn’t work with the Windows server.

You know, no one tells most people this, but when offered a choice between Windows servers and Linux servers and it’s not your home system, you should always go with Linux. Windows is more stable across the board but not very flexible. I remember my trying to get something to work on someone else’s website some years ago and eventually found out the problem was that they were on Windows servers.

What to do? With 1&1, who he uses and who I use as well, all you have to do is go in and change it in your software package. What happens is that it can take up to 24 hours, though it probably won’t take longer than an hour most of the time, and the account will convert from Windows based to Linux based with no problems. Well, one thing you need to know. Anything you have on your Windows account will be deleted, so you need to back everything up first. Also, any MySQL accounts you’ve created will need to be recreated.

Truthfully, none of that is a big deal. My friend now has his blog, although he’s yet to put anything on it, and everything loaded smoothly. The main reasons I wrote this post is because I couldn’t find this specific information written anywhere and I figured it was time to simplify this stuff. So, if you’re new to this type of thing and you’re going the self hosting route, make sure you purchase the Linux (also known as Ubuntu to some people). And if you’re trying to load a blog and you get that error message above, check to see if you have a Windows package and switch.

19 thoughts on “WordPress, Windows And Linux Servers”

  1. I wish you’ve written this article a few weeks earlier:) Just because I’ve had the same problem with the blog of my friend, and it took a long time to find out what was the problem. By the way, I think this information should be mentioned on the download site of the package.

    1. I’m with you Sam. I was lucky to have someone who understood this beforehand. That’s why I wrote this one, because I knew the information but couldn’t find it anywhere specific.

  2. Such a great tutorial, thanks for sharing the useful information! Although I haven’t installed a blog on another ones server yet, it is good to know this!

  3. Mitch,

    I agree, this choice can be confusing. The first time I picked hosting I choose Windows over Linux because I was more familiar with Windows. I quickly learned that Linux is the way to go. Now whenever I have anyone set up hosting I make sure to tell them to go with Linux and not Windows.


    1. Hey Keith, long time no see! Yeah, I can see how most of us would think Microsoft would be the way to go, and I bet thousands of people have made this mistake.

  4. WordPress can run on Windows server, but I doubt that this is possible on shared hosting account. On VPS it is easy to copy necessary dll extensions for PHP and MySQL as well as the one for URL rewriting. However Windows hosting is not very suitable to run PHP as the language is not native to platform and site will be definitely slow.

      1. Depends on the web host configuration, Mitch. Probably in your case wont be possible, but some (most) Windows servers have an application called “Microsoft’s Web Platform Installer” and it works like “Fantastico” on LAMP server, just need one click. Probably your friend have fall in the worst case scenario. Windows and Linux servers are cross compatible you can run ASP on Linux and PHP on Windows, same apply for other languages – Java, Python, Perl, etc or any database environment. One more thing “Windows more stable”, not at all, but hosting providers usually oversell Linux hosting as few of virtual containers available for Linux allow that, which cause instability, other is the fact that Windows is more vulnerable to attacks.

  5. Thanks for sharing your experience and tips – found it awesome that you’ve mentioned “Ubuntu”.

    Thanks for sharing the great tips.

  6. I’ve never come across this problem before and as you know I have several blogs running on different hosts, none of which are 1&1. I assume then that they all use a Linux system? 😉

    I have to admit though that while I usually set all my blogs up manually I the last time I set one up I used the automatic set up system offered by the host. Its a whole lot easier doing it this way, the only setback being that it used admin as the user name. That’s not a major problem though as I used a plugin to change to something more secure.

    1. Sire, you might be the lucky one in never encountering the issue. I just ask lots of questions before doing things, which is why I never ran into the issue on my own.

  7. This is one of the challenges hosting companies needs to help us solve at all times. I’ve never used Windows server but I know it kinda of tough hosting system. But, thanks for letting us know about your experience.

  8. This is one of those little things that can mess up your entire week and it doesn’t really says anywhere that you should take care of this. Until somebody like you writes this! 🙂

  9. Oh yeah, I’ve been there with both WordPress and Joomla. Yes both of them CAN run on Windows servers, but is it worth your time to set up workarounds and learn a new process? Not usually.

    I’m to the point now where I’ve started placing disclaimers in my job profiles. I won’t work with Windows servers any longer. It has to be on Linux/Apache, so I don’t even want to waste anyone’s time by having me quote it.

    Luckily I’m not in a situation where I have to take every job offered, so I can get away with this.

    I have one legacy client who I took on a couple years back. He’s running Joomla on a Windows server and there are still fundamental issues that I have to workaround all the time. Aargh.

    I’m glad you were able to figure out the issue and switch it over as quickly as you did because it can turn into an unending headache.

    1. John, my friend hadn’t really thought about what he bought, just did it and, well, you know how it is. Now that I know, it’ll make things easier if I ever run into it again.

  10. I personally use Linux inside of Windows as a virtual PC with Virtualbox. Just thought I’d share it’s a wonderful way to get your Linux side out while maintaining your stability with Windows (I mean, your comfort). Just to let you know this was a good blog post.

    1. Thanks Ryan. Most of us don’t have our own servers, so to speak, so we have to make sure we purchase the right package from a hosting company so we can do what we need with our blogs sometimes.

Comments are closed.