Simple DIY: Create a Website Using WordPress

Howto

Many people in my circle have recently become interested in making a blog or website, so a few weeks ago I set out to document the process.  This is the second of two posts on the subject.  The first is geared toward those who are looking to quickly and easily set up a personal blog to share experiences or advice.  This post is directed toward those who want to use the simplicity of a powerful blog format to help them easily create a website for their business or organization.  Let’s get started.

For this project we’ll be using WordPress.com. The first step is to pick a name for your blog.  Just like the first post I have chosen Bullfrog Song.

Success!  The name I want is available.  Save it using a password and register using an email address. (NOTE:  no fake emails allowed.  They will email you to verify you own the address)

After clicking “Sign Up” you have a fully-functioning blog, suitable for personal use.  In this case my URL was http://bullfrogsong.wordpress.com.

Here’s what a brand new WordPress site looks like after you first set it up.  Click the Login link (shown in red below) to start moving in…

Nothing special here.  Use the username and password you specified in step 1.

WordPress welcomes you again after your first administrative login.  Such friendly folks, there at WordPress.

In typical geek fashion I’m wasting no time in upgrading.  These next steps allow me to become www.bullfrogsong.com instead of just bullfrogsong.wordpress.com.  Not only is this easier for visitors to remember when they’re looking for me, it looks more professional (well, except for the silly name).

In this dialog box we specify the name we want.  No need to add “WWW” to the front of it.  No need to fret about upper or lower case.  None of this is important to the Internet.  If you insist that one way is right, go with all lower-case letters, because caps means you’re yelling… and really, that would be the Internet equivalent of yelling your order into the drive thru speaker at McDonalds.  Unnecessary and unappreciated.

Nothing exciting or unexpected in the following example.  You want services, they want money.  You give them money, they give you services.  It’s a symbiotic relationship.  Everyone’s happy.

A yellow band of congratulatory text is your reward… that, and a brand spanking new domain name.  This will advance you far beyond the Joneses next door and their unpersonalized blog about bullfrogs.

As they requested, I waited 60 seconds, changed the main name for my new blog to the new domain I just registered, and clicked Update Primary Domain.

SCORE!  We have a domain name now and if we browse to www.bullfrogsong.com it works just fine, showing everyone our site… which is, alas, very plain and boring.  We’d better log back in and set up some personalizations.

Let’s cruise this time down to the Themes section on the left side of the screen, and choose a new look for our site.  You can search by keyword, color, features, and so on.  WARNING: Theme surfing can be addictive and never-ending.   There are thousands and thousands of themes from which to choose.  Beyond that you can make your own theme from scratch, and you can buy them from places like themeforest.net. (Thanks to Dan the Man from work for hooking me up with this resource.  Now can you not only search endlessly for free themes, you can pay endless amounts of money for non-free themes!)

I thought this one was nice, and the price was right.

Activate theme? check.

We’re looking pretty good.  Now to get REALLY busy.

This is where the article ends and your creativity begins.  Just a couple more screenshots of how to set up your widgets, but there is much more you can do.  You may want to consider creating a few static PAGES (which differ from posts) and spend some time surfing through WordPress help to get a good understanding of what all you can do.  WordPress manages to be a very flexible and robust platform while remaining simple enough for anyone to use.

Here we move to the Widgets section and drag a widget to our sidebar.  This allows us to keep static elements on the sidebar.  In this example I’ve added a place for visitors to sign up for email updates.  Now they can get email updates every time I post something new on my site.  This is really handy for when I’m selling something.  Anyone who likes my business is instantly up to speed. Pretty simple to do, too.  Just drag and drop from left to right.

Make any needed changes and click save.

And view the final result.  Notice that we now have an email signup form on the sidebar.

In conclusion, I found this project to be very simple indeed.  In fact, it took me significantly longer to write this post and add the images than to acquire and set up the blog.

Forklift 2008: Replace 2003 Domain Controller with 2008 R2 Using the Same Name

Howto

WANT AN UPDATE TO THIS GUIDE?

If you’d like me to update this guide for Server 2012 R2 and beyond, or to see a similar guide for SQL Server, drop a comment at the bottom of this page and let me know.

This document details the procedure for replacing an original domain controller running Windows 2000 Server or higher (referred to in this document as SOURCE) with another server running Windows 2000 Server or higher (referred to in this document as DESTINATION). During this procedure you will need a third server for temporary use (referred to in this document as TRANSITIONAL) – normally, this server is introduced in the form of a virtual machine, but a physical machine is also acceptable.

NOTE: this document assumes that all forest operations will be performed by a member of the Schema Admins group, all domain operations will be performed by a member of the enterprise admins group, and that all local operations will be performed by a member of the Administrators group local to the targets in question.

dcforklift-updated-2008R2 in Microsoft Word Format

Pre-migration Tasks

  • Create a standalone server running the same OS version as the replacement server. This server will be TRANSITIONAL
  • On SOURCE server, install the Windows Support Tools from the SUPPORTTOOLS folder on the respective operating system CDs.
  • Test the SOURCE server for problems
    • Click Start, Programs, Windows Support Tools, and click Command Prompt.
    • From the command line, enter the command netdiag, and address any problems that are listed
    • From the command line, enter the command dcdiag, and address any problems that are listed
    • Fill out FILE SHARE and PRINTER worksheets using information from SOURCE

File Shares Worksheet

SHARE NAME LOCATION ON DISK
SHARE PERMISSIONS NTFS PERMISSIONS
COMMENT CACHING
SHARE NAME LOCATION ON DISK
SHARE PERMISSIONS NTFS PERMISSIONS
COMMENT CACHING
SHARE NAME LOCATION ON DISK
SHARE PERMISSIONS NTFS PERMISSIONS
COMMENT CACHING
SHARE NAME LOCATION ON DISK
SHARE PERMISSIONS NTFS PERMISSIONS
COMMENT CACHING

Printer Shares Worksheet

PRINTER NAME DRIVER
IP ADDRESS PORT
SHARE NAME COMMENTS
PRINTER OPTIONS
PRINTER NAME DRIVER
IP ADDRESS PORT
SHARE NAME COMMENTS
PRINTER OPTIONS
PRINTER NAME DRIVER
IP ADDRESS PORT
SHARE NAME COMMENTS
PRINTER OPTIONS
PRINTER NAME DRIVER
IP ADDRESS PORT
SHARE NAME COMMENTS
PRINTER OPTIONS

Migration Steps

On the SOURCE server, insert the Server 2008 installation media (or browse to the shared files), navigate to the d:supportadprep folder, and execute adprep32 /forestprep.

Enter “C”

If it has not already been done, use Active Directory Domains and Trusts to raise the forest functional level to Windows Server 2003.

Launch adprep32 /domainprep, followed by adprep32 /gpprep

On SOURCE, perform adprep32 /rodcprep

Join the TRANSITIONAL server to the domain

On the SOURCE server, export the DHCP database using the following Net Shell command:
netsh dhcp server export c:dhcpdb 192.168.40.0

Shut down DHCP on the SOURCE server

Install DHCP on the TRANSITIONAL server

You will get an error after the selection of Global Catalog prior to the promotion. See http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Q_23473042.html

Copy the DHCP database backup from \[SOURCE]c$ to c: on the TRANSITIONAL server

Import the DHCP database from the backup

netsh dhcp server import C:dhcpcb 192.168.40.0

On TRANSITIONAL, net stop dhcpserver

On TRANSITIONAL, net start dhcpserver

Open dhcpmgmt.msc and confirm that your options migrated. If so, set the startup type of the DHCP service on SOURCE to DISABLED

PROMOTE TRANSITIONAL

On TRANSITIONAL, run DCPROMO

Reboot TRANSITIONAL

On TRANSITIONAL, confirm proper active directory operation and allow adequate time for data to replicate

On TRANSITIONAL open NTDSUTIL

Roles

Connections

Connect to domain [domain.fqdn]

Connect to server [transitional.domain.fqdn]

Quit

Transfer PDC

Transfer RID Master

Transfer Intrastructure Master

Transfer Domain Naming Master

Transfer Schema Master

On SOURCE, check directory services logs to confirm that the changes took place as originated from the other server. This step helps prevent you from following false information reported by a server that has fallen out of replication. Initiating the sequence from one server and checking the result from another helps confirm that both servers have a consensus.

On SOURCE, open dssite.msc, navigate to NTDS Settings, and make SOURCE no longer a global catalog server.

On TRANSITIONAL, point the DNS client to itself, by updating the TCP/IP configuration in NCPA.CPL. NOTE: this step will cause inconsistencies for clients that have obtained IP addresses (and DNS client information) by means of DHCP. If you prefer, you may change SOURCE’s IP address to something new, update DNS host records, and add the original IP address from SOURCE to TRANSITIONAL. This guide assumes all operations will be performed in sequence and without significant pauses.

Open REPLMON on SOURCE to monitor both SOURCE and TRANSITIONAL to follow replication during procedures that occur during changed IP addressing. To do this, navigate to CN=Schema,CN=Configuration,DC=[domain],DC=[tldn]

NOTE: replmon is no longer available on 2008. http://blogs.technet.com/b/askds/archive/2009/07/01/getting-over-replmon.aspx

If both servers are replicating properly, and there are no significant DNS or Directory Services problems, demote SOURCE. NOTE: DO NOT check the “this is the last server in the domain” option.

Restart SOURCE and monitor logs to confirm that SOURCE is no longer participating in the DOMAIN

Disjoin SOURCE from the domain, restart, and then shut SOURCE down.

Rename DESTINATION to the name of the ORIGINAL server (in this example, DATASERVER)

Reboot the new server

Just a quick check of the domain:

Join the domain and reboot the NEW server

Log on to the DOMAIN after the reboot.

Configure the NEW server using the ORIGINAL server’s IP address, but point DNS to the TRANSITIONAL server

Promote the NEW server to a domain controller

Note the warnings here. See MS KB article 942564 for further details:

http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=104751

Don’t forget this password. It’s important and you’ll need it to restore AD if necessary at a later time.

Add the DHCP role to the NEW server

Accept the defaults on all options. We will be replacing the configuration options soon.

On TRANSITIONAL SERVER, export the DHCP database to a file, and shut down DHCP Services

Copy the backup file from \TRANSITIONALc$dhcpdbNew to c: on the NEW server

NOTE: in this step, for me the process kept erroring out. I had to use the CLI to get the operation done.

netsh
dhcp server
import c:dhcpdNew 192.168.40.0

Point DNS client on NEW server to itself

On the NEW server, execute ipconfig /flushdns and ping vmdomain.local. Check Director Services log for any problems.

Transfer roles to the NEW server using NTDSUTIL

Issue NETDOM QUERY FSMO on both NEW and TRANSITIONAL servers to confirm consensus

Check Directory Services logs for any errors before proceeding

Confirm that the NEW server is a Global Catalog. It should be if you selected that option during DCPROMO

NOTE: If you are enabling this for the first time, wait at least 5 minutes before proceeding to the next step.

On TRANSITIONAL, uncheck the box shown to remove the global catalog function from the TRANSITIONAL SERVER. Perform this action from the NEW server, and confirm it from the TRANSITIONAL server. This helps confirm that replication is working properly.

Confirm in the Event log as well as in Active Directory Sites and Services

Configure the TRANSITIONAL server to point to the NEW server for DNS. We will begin backing TRANSITIONAL out of the domain now

Ipconfig /flushdns and ping vmdomain.local

If it resolves to the TRANSITIONAL server, we need to update DNS records

On NEW server, issue ipconfig /registerdns.

On TRANSITIONAL server, issue ipconfig /flushdns, and ping the FQDN of the domain again. It should resolve to the IP address of the NEW server. If it does not, you can manually update DNS records from dnsmgmt.msc. At this point, we just need to get the DOMAIN resolving properly and make sure the involved domain controllers resolve propelry. We will be returning to dnsmgmt.msc to clean up DNS after demoting TRANSITIONAL.

Choose a local administrator password (you’ll need it to log in locally after disjoining from the domain.

Complete the wizard and reboot.

From Server Manager, click Remove Roles, and deselect DNS Server and DHCP Server.

Reboot TRANSITIONAL when prompted.

Wait for configuration changes to complete on TRANSITIONAL, and reboot TRANSITIONAL again

Disjoin TRANSITIONAL from the domain and reboot.

Shut down TRANSITIONAL server.

On NEW server, open dssite.msc and remove reference to TRANSITIONAL

In dnsmgmt.msc, make remove references to TRANSITIONAL in all zones, including the _msdcs zone.

Check DNS and Directory Services logs for problems.

You’re almost done! At this point you should have a server on new hardware, running a new operating system, with the same domain you had before you started. Group Policy Objects, Usernames, Groups, and most other Active Directory elements should have remained intact. Additionally, you should have NO NEED to visit workstations. The last steps you need to perform are to follow the worksheets and install your system applications and services, restore your data, shares, and printers. Then start up all services and make sure you can reboot.

Things to fix:

Printing. Server 2008’s printing will work differently, and it would be a good idea to set up scripts to remove the old printer connections from your workstations, and to add the new printer connections to them so you don’t have to visit any more workstations than necessary for the purposes of setting up printers. I believe printing should be one of the only things to require a visit to a workstation.

Shares and permissions. If you used backup software, restoring permissions is easy. If you manually printed out ACLs then you’re in for a long night, but you should be able to duplicate your file structure exactly.

Desktop applications

Roaming profiles. This is a dodgy one. Profiles changed dramatically in the new OS and behaviors may change when you log on for the first time.

SMB packet signing and encryption settings. This is especailly important when dealing with older workstations running Windows XP.

Virus Protection

Backup – make sure you get a backup of your server from this point forward!

I hope this guide has been a help to you. It goes without saying that this information is provided AS-IS with NO WARRANTY expressed or implied, and that you use this information at your own risk. I am in no way liable for any damage to your systems resulting from the use of this information.