Running a website or blog on a USB flash drive

By | August 9, 2007

Of all the good things we can do with a USB (Universal Serial Bus) flash drive, I think running a website is one of them. This is a perfect solution for web designers who need to cart along a whole bunch of designs to show potential clients.

usb-flash-drive.jpgMost USB drives today carry a large amount of space, and the cost for a 2 Gb drive only sits around $30 these days. You can literally store an infinite amount of data in there without having to worry about lugging along a laptop or cramming your desktop hard drive with more stuff.

There is an open source WAMP (Windows-Apache-MYSQL-PHP) bundle called XAMPP (the X is an acronym for any of 4 operating systems that it can run on) that are able to run most PHP based scripts directly from the bundle’s installation directory.

Just download it as a zip file, and unpack it onto your USB flash drive. In order to run a site, let’s say a WordPress test blog, you need to create a folder with a specific name in the htdocs folder of your XAMPP installation directory.

So, if you named your folder as “testblog” and your flash drive is named as E:\, the path should look like this:


So briefly, the steps to run a WordPress blog on a USB flash drive are just:

  1. Install XAMPP by unpacking it onto the drive.
  2. Click on the icon file named “xampp-control”.
  3. Start Apache and MySQL by clicking “start” for each of them.
  4. Open a browser window and type in http://localhost/xampp
  5. You’ll see a splash screen; click on phpMyAdmin and create a new database with your chosen name by entering it into the empty field and clicking on the “create” button.
  6. Copy all the WordPress files into E:\XAMPP\htdocs\testblog
  7. Edit the wp-config-sample.php as you would for a self hosted WordPress blog. You may use the username of “root”, and no password is needed, because the user “root” has by default, all privileges, and no password.
  8. Go to the url http://localhost/testblog and the rest is history.

In all, it should not take more than 5 minutes, as WordPress states. You can use XAMPP to try and install many other scripts like Joomla, Drupal, Moodle…etc, and work on them in your leisure time, right from your very own “mini server”. Although XAMPP turns your little USB drive into a “mini server”, the only one who can access “localhost” is you.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty cool to be able to run a website from a tiny USB stick. 🙂

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