I’m sitting here on the phone with iPower, my web hosting company, who has been going through a lot of changes lately. Since I have been on hold for 45 minutes now, I have decided to write a post about
“10 Reasons Why Not to Host Your WordPress Blog on a Windows/IIS Platform”.
I will, for now, reserve comment on my web hosting company since they have dominion over my content. Instead, I will focus on the fact that many of the problems I have dealt with have not only been my web hosting company, but the fact that my site is hosted on the Windows/IIS Platform. I frequently here “we don’t have these problems on our Linux/Apache platform.”
So, without further ado, here are the 10 reasons not to host your WordPress Blog on a Windows/IIS Platform.
NOTE: In the end, I switched to Web Hosting at HostGator which has saved me money and had 100% availability for the last two years. Also, since original publication in 2008, I have changed my domain name to http://arichidea.com. Richard, January 2011
One: The “Upload Image” feature does not work by default
I might as well start with this one since it is the one that I am on the phone about. I just said to the iPower second level support, who claimed that they did not know the solution for this and that my situation was unique, “You mean to tell me that of your 800,000 customers that I am the only one who has WordPress installed on the Windows/IIS platform?”
I opened this ticket 20 days ago and they have not contacted me once in that time. I’ve contacted them 7 times. I have just pointed them to three blog entries that address exactly this issue: IIS permissions for uploading, WordPress File Uploads With IIS, and Installing WordPress on IIS 6.
I have probably lost the better part of 15 hours (10 of them on hold) on this simple issue…that’s still not resolved.
(Update: You won’t believe what happened with this ticket. See footnote below!)
Two: Bad Permalinks
If you look at the address bar on this page, it comes in this form:
Several SEO recommendations mention to keep the permalink name as short as possible. With my obscenely long domain name :), that might not be possible. But, at least, I did not want to have the unnecessary “index.php” there. Yet it is because this is an IIS server and does not support something called mod-rewrite. You need to use 3rd party tools on your Windows server. And since this involved modifications by my web host company, I know that it is not possible right now.
I will live forever with “index.php” as part of my permalink structure.
If you’re so inclined, you can read more about this issue here.
Three: Permissions are ALWAYS a problem.
The need often arises to modify your theme files. I am unable to do this within the WordPress Admin console because it requires changing the server permissions…and then we get back to my non-responsive web hosting company.
When you look up these types of problems on the Internet, you’ll constantly find people who say that using CHMOD (a UNIX permission changer) fixed their problem. This is the fix on a non-Windows platform. Windows uses another Windows-y security level that prevents this from working.
You will see constant rejection notices in this form:
Warning: fopen(\\wserver\home\users\web\b500\ipw.webname\blog/wp-content/themes/join/join2/author.php) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: Permission denied in \\wserver\home\users\web\b500\ipw.webname\blog\wp-admin\theme-editor.php on line 44
The syntax you see above in this form ” file://wserver/home…” is called a UNC (Universal Naming Convention) path which is Microsoft centric. No UNIX people care about this and nobody on the other end of your support call knows anything about a UNC path.
This warning might as well just say, “Sorry dude, you’re on a Microsoft Server, we can’t help you!”
Four: My 5-Minute Install Took 7 days
WordPress has a document called The Five Minute Install. Mine took a week. Again, this was a combination of being with my hosting provider who was going through changes and the fact that, “well, you ARE on the Windows platform”.
You can read more about this in my article: Ten Things Every New Blogger Must Know
Five: After Installation, WordPress Did Not Work
After the 7 days to get WordPress installed, none of the links to the pages worked. Again, this was a Windows/IIS problem producing some sort of CGI error.
Having worked in the technology field for many years, I was able to research and find a solution to this problem (you can find it on WordPress entitled CGI Error With Pages).
But do you really want to suffer through all of this?
Six: You’re Left With No Confidence
So many features DO work immediately on a Linux/Apache install and DON”T on Windows/IIS. Then, you’re stuck contacting your web-hosting provider…and mine will never answer me back!
Seven: Several Plug-ins Won’t Work As Advertised
This is often due to the permissions problem mentioned above. In particular, Gregarious did not fully work, the caching plug-in didn’t work, the backup plug-in had difficulties, and none of the photo plug-ins work because they all use the image upload feature. Refer to problem #1.
Eight: WordPress Uses Mysql and Php as It’s Foundation.
These are not Microsoft tools. Microsoft prefers that you use SQL Server and ASP. Mysql and Php are not designed for Windows/IIS and, thus, do not perform as well in that environment.
Nine: Many Internet People Hate Microsoft
I know that this does not seem like a technical issue but it is. All of the support people out there (especially in WordPress land) are Unix/Linux people. They seem to despise Microsoft. Every mention of Microsoft is met with a grimace, sneer, or snide remark.
Ten: Listen to Coyote
WordPress on Windows/IIS just causes to much grief.
If I was to setup a new site tomorrow I would certainly NOT use windows/IIS. I’d go with Linux/Apache to avoid the grief.
If you are just starting a WordPress blog, and choosing a web hosting provider, make sure that you choose the Linux/Apache platform and NOT the Windows/IIS platform.
If you are a web hosting provider, and you still want to provide WordPress on Windows/IIS platform as an option, these sites below all seem to give very good instruction (listen up iPower).
Now, back to being on hold with my web hosting company…at least they are playing some groovy music!
How to Properly Install WordPress in a Windows/IIS Environment:
And avoid most of the problems mentioned above!
- Running WordPress 2.0 under IIS
- How To Install WordPress on IIS 6.0
- Installing WordPress on IIS 6
Anybody else had similar experiences with WordPress in the Windows/IIS environment? Share them in the comments below:
Footnote to this story: I began this story while I was on hold with iPower. I was withholding comments on their service and trying to focus on the Windows/IIS issue. However, this cannot go unsaid. In trying to fix my image upload problem, they broke all of my permalinks. Yes, all of them. This meant that not one internal or external link worked. I wrote about it here on WordPress.org. But, the reality is…if I was not on the Windows/IIS platform, I would never have had to deal with this issue in the first place.
Get your copy of his latest book entitled Obvious Conclusions, stories of a Midwestern emigrant influenced and corrupted by many years living in San Francisco and abroad. It just received its first outstanding review "...reminiscent of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs" on Amazon UK.
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