« How Not To Get Your Blog HackedScott And Scurvy »
09.08.2009

Using WordPress to Generate Flat Files

Some readers have emailed asking me for more specifics about how to run WordPress offline, like I suggested in my last post. So I spent a couple of hours struggling with it last night to get a sense of what it would take.

This is an almost useless and jargon-packed summary, but my hope is that some intrepid WP user may try following these steps and use them as a starting point for a proper HOWTO.

  1. If you want comments, you'll need to switch from whatever is built in to WordPress to an outside JavaScript-based service like disqus. Disqus can import your existing comments when you set it up. Disclaimer: I have never used this service and know nothing about it - there may be better alternatives.

  2. Set up WordPress on the machine where you want to do your writing and editing. The WP site has copious instructions for all kinds of installation scenarios.

  3. Configure WP to use 'fancy' permalinks - not the default, which uses query string parameters. Basically, if there's a question mark in the URL, you can't mirror the site. If you're on OS X, you will now have to struggle with mod_rewrite and .htaccess permissions for a while.

  4. Configure WP to allow robots access (otherwise wget will not work in the next step).

  5. Use wget to crawl your new blog and turn it into a bunch of static files:
    wget --mirror -p --html-extension --convert-links http://your.local.url/
    What this does is explained in detail here. I've left off some unnecessary flags.

  6. Set up apache on your blog server to serve static content from wherever you want your blog files to live.

  7. Now copy over the static files you created with wget to their new home on the remote machine using a secure transfer method like rsync or sftp.

  8. Laugh in the face of mankind / email me about why this didn't work.

Good luck, and please let me know if you are able to follow these steps and produce a more helpful HOWTO that I can link to.

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