PHP Upgrade for Bitnami Lightsail WordPress

Turns out the way to upgrade is to spin up a new box (or two) and migrate.

Step 1) Spin up a new instance. At the moment I’m using Amazon Lightsail.

Step 2) assign a DNS entry to it. At the moment I’m using Hover. I do have the DNS entries set to a 15 minute time-to-live. Whatever IP address that Lightsail assigned is what I put into Hover.

Step 3) Set the new machine to know it’s new host name.

  1. Of course, the what-used-to-work is different now. The command is now sudo /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool

Step 4) Get logged in to the new instance of WordPress. BTW, the login user name has changed. It used to be bitnami now it is user

Step 5) Update WordPress to the current version, if it’s out of date.

Step 6) Delete the plugins in the base image that won’t be migrating over. BTW, one of the plugins, TaxoPress, apparently had a different name prior to updated and would err out instead of deleting. Do upgrade the ones I’m keeping.

Step 7) I use NS Cloner and NS Cloner Pro to migrate between servers. I like the people there; they did actually help me when I was having an error getting it to run. I was migrating a site with All-in-One Event Calendar by and apparently that plugin just does not play nice with database records or something. I am lucky that I bought a licence a long time ago; since then they have had to raise their prices. As a tool, it has been working great, but the price increase was really steep. If I did this for a living, I’d have no qualms about paying the annual license fee.

And then ….

The problem is that I just migrated to, but I really want the web site on

Okay, so there are two ways out of the problem here.

Alternative 1 is to go to the old and run sudo /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool and change it to something else and then go to and run sudo /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool and change it to AND THEN do database search and replace to swap out to be instead – all on the new machine. My experience with these sort of database search and replaces hasn’t been wonderful. There’s also the problem of being logged in to the web site I’m changing the name of; at some point I cut off my own feet while I’m trying to stand on them (DNS -wise).

I went with alternative 2:

  1. In Lightsail, detach the static IP that is pointing to.
  2. In Lightsail, delete machine (old)
  3. In Lightsail, spin up (new)
  4. In Lightsail, attach the static IP for to this new machine.
  5. Run sudo /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool to assign the machine it’s new name
    1. Note that with alternative 2, the Hover domain name registration hasn’t changed. The public IP is on a different box (running an out-of-the-box WordPress install), but from the DNS point of view, this is simpler – nothing has changed. DNS name is still pointing the same IP address it always has.
    2. With alternative 1, I had the problem that the old box “knew” it was, so I had to run bncert-tool to change it to something else. If I didn’t, and I just ran bncert-tool on the new box, trying to claim, the Let’s Encrypt people would complain, correctly, that this domain name is currently in use on a box it can talk to right now, and that box has a different IP address. Am I trying to steal it’s identity?
  6. Do the top steps 4, 5, 6, and 7 again: Update WordPress, plugins, and migrate with NS Cloner Pro.
  7. Delete the running machine – it was only every going to be a temporary container anyway.
  8. Change all the Hover entries to point to the same IP as

My site is pretty small, so the migration with NS Cloner Pro takes under five minutes. If I had more data and it was going to take longer, I’d probably figure out how to enable FTP so that NS Cloner Pro could use that.

Lightsail + Bitnami has changed the underlying image – I get to learn debian now :-)

So far, it’s been easy. I have a post about How to make Ubuntu have a nice bash shell like OpenSuSE and it barely needs any update.

But it does, a little.

sudo update-alternatives --config editor

In the menu that was presented to me, Option 2: 2 /usr/bin/vim.basic was the right one. There’s nothing there to tell me the difference between vim.basic versus vim.tiny (I wanted whatever vim.fullsuperduperthrowinallthebellsandwhistles is) – but vim.tiny was not it.

touch ~/.bash_aliases
vim ~/.bash_aliases
(insert mode)
alias ll="ls -la"
alias ..="cd .."

and lastly, the step that is the same:

sudo vim /etc/inputrc

Find my way down to where the comments say alternate mappings for “page up” and “page down” to search the history and then hit the x key a few times to delete the characters which comment out the functionality I want.

Log out, and log back in. It’s good. 🙂

Bitnami phpmyadmin

Just a quick note for me to easily find and remember how to access PHP My Admin on a Bitnami WordPress instance

From the command line on my local machine:

ssh -4 -N -L -i $insertpathtopemfilehere

And then in a browser:

Lastly, remember that the login name to phpmyadmin is root (not the Bitnami application password, or any other user name).

Because public Internet access to PHP My Admin would be a Very Bad Idea, the Bitnami WordPress image is configured such that PHP My Admin refuses to run, if the requests don’t come through

This is a good idea.

But what that also means is that I need something listening on my address, that can forward the network traffic to the remote web server.

ssh -4 says use IP v4 addresses only (suppresses IP v6 errors if your machine doesn’t have that).

ssh -N says do not execute remote commands (all we’re going to be doing here is port forwarding).

ssh -L says local to remote port forwarding will be done. says the local port to listen on is port 8888, the local address to listen on is the home address of, and when listening on the “server”, know that it will be listening for port 443 traffic (https instead of http). Another way of thinking about this is that your web browser that is throwing HTTP GETs and PUTs will be throwing them at port 8888, since that is the port the service is listening on. But when the traffic is thrown across the Internet, ssh is going to throw the traffic to port 443. Yet, is really just a front for

ssh -i says to use a public/private key pair for logging in (instead of a password). $insertpathtopemfilehere is the variable that holds the path to the .pem file.

ssh is the actual remote login name and server name.

New site steps

Note this is for a new WordPress Multisite

  • Log into AWS Management Console
  • Lightsail Create a new instance (Linux, WordPress Multisite)
  • Create a new static IP address
  • Assign the static IP address to the new instance.
  • Buy a new domain name (if I don’t have one available) – in this case,
  • Update DNS with the new static IP address
  • ssh – i path-to-pem-file-for-AWS-instances
  • Make Ubuntu like OpenSUSE
  • Log out, and log back in (get the benefits of pageup for history search, and .. as the cd .. alias)
  • cd /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress
  • sudo ./bnconfig --machine_hostname
  • sudo mv bnconfig bnconfig.disabled
  • sudo apt upgrade
  • sudo init 6
  • wait for reboot to finish
  • ssh – i path-to-pem-file-for-AWS-instances
  • sudo /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool

At this point, I get a warning:

Warning: Custom redirections are not supported in the Bitnami WordPress Multisite Stack. This tool will not be able to enable/disable redirections.
Press [Enter] to continue:

An updated version is available. Would you like to download it? You would need to run it manually later. [Y/n]:

sudo /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool

Welcome to the Bitnami HTTPS Configuration tool.


Please provide a valid space-separated list of domains for which you wish to configure your web server.

Domain list []:

The following domains were not included: Do you want to add them? [Y/n]:

The interesting thing here is that (if I’m interpreting things correctly) that WordPress Multisite really does not want one of the subdomains to be – yet here, Bitnami, through the Let’s Encrypt really does want one of the domains to be www

I hit <Enter> which signifies yes

Changes to perform

The following changes will be performed to your Bitnami installation:

  1. Stop web server
  2. Configure web server to use a free Let’s Encrypt certificate for the domains:
  3. Configure a cron job to automatically renew the certificate each month
  4. Configure web server name to:
  5. Start web server once all changes have been performed

Do you agree to these changes? [Y/n]:

I hit <Enter> which signifies yes

Create a free HTTPS certificate with Let’s Encrypt

Please provide a valid e-mail address for which to associate your Let’s Encrypt certificate.

Domain list:

Server name:

E-mail address []:

I put in my personal email address

The Let’s Encrypt Subscriber Agreement can be found at:

Do you agree to the Let’s Encrypt Subscriber Agreement? [Y/n]:

I hit <Enter> which signifies yes

And after a bit of work, the configuration of my new web site to be SSL protected is complete.

Bitnami WordPress Multisite – DNS spoofing

In an earlier post, I said I hope you have pointed your domain name at your static IP address. Well, what if you don’t want to?

The point being that the DNS entry for the domain name currently points to the production WordPress site, and really, I would like to set up this multisite WordPress installation without having to change the public DNS entry.

Also, setting up this, my personal blog, I was using No-IP DNS services. I could update the DNS entry for, and the DNS replicated out almost instantly. It was great. But the other web site I’m working on (the one that got me into WordPress at all), is using Network Solutions for their DNS. They take their good sweet time replicating DNS entries out to the world. I don’t really want to post an update to DNS, wait, dink around with the new site while the production site is down, decide to revert to production, post an update to DNS, wait again while Network Solutions gets around to pointing everyone back to the production web site.

It would just be better if the new web server machine never got away from it’s own self when doing lookups for the domain name it will eventually be.

So I can start the WordPress install from the IP address of the server out on the public Internet. However, WordPress during it’s install, is going to do a DNS lookup, and try to invoke code on the server where the DNS really does resolve. Which isn’t where I am. So I’m going to try to install a fake DNS server on the new server, and have it redirect all calls to the old domain to the new server.

Step the first: install dnsmasq

sudo apt-get install dnsmasq

Next, set up listening on the local host address:

sudo vim /etc/dnsmasq.conf

Find your way to the line #listen-address= and edit it thus:

And save and exit

sudo vim /etc/dhcp/dhclient.conf

Find your way to #prepend domain-name-servers; and uncomment this line. Save and exit.

And now it gets weird.

The Bitnami / AWS Lightsail images use something called cloud-init :

So if you were going to try to edit /etc/hosts or /etc/resolv.conf you get warned to not edit them by hand, because they will be replaced on next boot. But they sure as heck don’t tell you where to implement edits. Just don’t do it here.

Turns out there are template files in /etc/cloud/templates that hold the magic.

cd /etc/cloud/templates
sudo cp hosts.debian.tmpl hosts.debian.tmpl.original
sudo vim hosts.debian.tmpl

Now I’m going add a line below localhost which will be the IP address I want this machine to go to whenever it tries to resolve the domain name of the production web site

And indeed, if I use dig from an ssh session in the machine, dig reports back the local machine’s address, not the one out on the public Internet

Bitnami WordPress multisite installation

Make an ssh connection in to your Bitnami server installation. I’m using AWS, and they had instructions for me to get the password / ssh private key. ssh bitnami@your-ip-address-here

cat bitnami_application_password

While logged in to the ssh session, execute the Bitnami configuration script that assigns a domain name to your WordPress multisite server.

cd /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress

sudo ./bnconfig --machine_hostname your-domain-name-here.tld

sudo mv bnconfig bnconfig.disabled

First, we changed to the directory with the bnconfig script. Then we ran it, with the machine_hostname option. (I wanted to put a dash in there, between machine and hostname, but it’s an underscore). Lastly, we moved the bnconfig script out of the way. This is because if the server rebooted, and bnconfig did run, it would be as if it ran bnconfig –machine_hostname is a Bitnami thing, I guess.

Hopefully, you already have the domain name, and have pointed it at the static IP address of your server.

On to configuring WordPress the familiar way: point your favorite browser at the ip address and go to https://your-domain-name-here/wp-admin

This redirected me, but really it was the same as going to

Log in as user with the password from bitnami_application_password

Upon logging in, the administration page looks almost the same as a regular WordPress installation. However, in the upper left corner, there is now a menu named “My Sites”. Hanging off of it is “Network Admin”

Hanging off of “Network Admin” are a whole bunch more sub-menu items, but I’m going to ignore those for the moment.

Clicking on “Network Admin” actually takes me to the first sub-menu item: “Dashboard”

And here, I had made my life more complicated. I’m actually trying to move this site, to the multisite, under the same domain name. Tell me “good luck with that.” Part of the multisite login process is to redirect to the domain name – which is the production server on some other IP address.

I’m going to have to go into DNS, and point the at the multisite IP address, before I can successfully log in (and remain logged in) to the multisite server still being set up.

Of course, I’m going to have to export this (the production site) to a file, for importing later, prior to taking it’s presence off teh interwebs.

And I don’t know if there is going to be any weird versus versus https://

Yeah, “stuff” in the databases that will need to be cleaned out during export, for import later.

WordPress multisite and Let's Encrypt certificates for multiple sites

I’m using the Bitnami images for my WordPress installations, and am very happy with them. However, it got a little weird when I added a new site to my WordPress multisite instance.

The secret was to run a few commands by hand:

sudo /opt/bitnami/ stop apache
sudo /opt/bitnami/letsencrypt/lego  --path="/opt/bitnami/letsencrypt/" --email="david@some-domain-name-i-am-not-publishing-here" --domains="" --domains="" --domains="" --http run
sudo /opt/bitnami/ start apache

Earlier, I had run the Bitnami bncert-tool which wrangled my Apache configuration so that all attempts to go to an http:// address were re-written to go to an https:// address. This is very good. But when I added the web site, the certificate provided by Let’s Encrypt did not have a SAN (Subject Alternative Name) entry for “test”. So trying to visit that site got the ominous “this site is insecure – nothing provides for an SSL certificate for it”. True enough.

By running the /opt/bitnami/letsencrypt/lego script with multiple –domains arguments, I could update the requested certificate to have the additional SANs I wanted. Very nice. It was the Bitnami community support web site that gave me this information. The same page warns me that more than five requests for new certificates puts the certificate issuer into a time-out corner for one week. So that is something to be aware of.

Bitnami WordPress automatic start of services

First off, KVM and QEMU are wonders of technology, and I’m thankful for those projects and their magic.

Background is that I made a default install of OpenSUSE 42.3.  I also tried OpenSUSE 15 (which is newer than 42.3, but whatever).

OpenSUSE 15 really did not like the Bitnami invocation of MySQL; but, it could be that I tried the initial install as a LAMP server, running at level 3.  With OpenSUSE 42.3, I tried an initial install as a KDE Desktop running at level 5, plus the LAMP server pattern.  That had worked in the past, so I wasn’t going to fight “well, at least this works”.

I did get the Bitnami stack installed and running.  I even got the default URL changed from “/wordpress/” to just “/”

Next step to accomplish, so I have a nice snapshot to revert to, is for the Bitnami stack to automatically start.  For whatever reason, searching for this information never easily comes up with results.  So I’m writing it down here.

cp installdir/ /etc/init.d/bitnami-APPNAME

Edit the file /etc/init.d/bitnami-whatever-you-named-it

Add this near the top:

# chkconfig: 2345 80 30
# description: Bitnami services

And run this:

chkconfig --add bitnami-whatever-you-named-it

Test with an init 6, and if you can get to your web site without having to start MySQL and Apache with the, then you’re good.

Take that snapshot!

How I moved a local development Bitnami WordPress to the root of the web server

What it took to move WordPress from /wordpress to just /

Turns out it was not as easy as I first thought.

First, let’s define the environment:

  • OpenSUSE 42.3 in a virtual machine
  • Downloaded and copied into the machine:
  • KVM / QEMU with sudo virsh snapshot-create-as every step of the way.

I should point out that during the install, it asked me where to put the web site.  I told it /opt/bitnami

So actually, the WordPress code is in /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress

Note that this is for the files on disk; it has nothing to do with the URL scheme.

The installer does it’s thing, and I get a WordPress site running on the URL scheme <ip address>/wordpress/

Irritation for me is, the production web site I’m wanting to experiment for is <ip address>/

Five changes are needed for the fix.

  • Search and replace the database
  • Edit the /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/conf/httpd-prefix.conf file
  • Edit the /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/htdocs/wp-config.php file
  • Edit the /opt/bitnami/apps/wordpress/conf/httpd-app.conf file
  • Settings –> Permalinks –> Save Changes

Search and replace the database

Before, I was using the All-In-One WP Migration plugin, because it came with the Bitnami image, and, at a WordPress meetup I went to, the people there said this was a great way of doing a development site.  And it was, for a while.

Problem is, the All-In-One WP Migration guy decided to change the rules, and the latest update refuses to work unless you pay up, for any site larger than 40MB.  I’ve never seen a site less than 200MB, so that’s a no-go for me.

I’ve been using UpdraftPlus for backups (for free), and decided that it wouldn’t hurt to pay them for some of their premium services, which were advertised as also being able to do migration.  Turns out that isn’t nearly as easy as it was with All-In-One WP Migration, but it can be wrestled to the ground and made to work, with a bit of effort.

Anyway: Settings –> UpdraftPlus Backup –> Advanced Tools –> Search / replace database.  Search for /wordpress and replace with /

Note that you do not want to restart services after the search-and-replace but before the file editing below.

Edit httpd-prefix.conf

The httpd-prefix.conf file is explained here: Move WordPress to a different URL path on the same domain

The change is that the Alias setting goes from /wordpress/ to simply /

Edit wp-config.php

The wp-config.php file gets edits, so that

define(‘WP_SITEURL’, ‘http://’ . $_SERVER[‘HTTP_HOST’] . ‘/wordpress/‘);
define(‘WP_HOME’, ‘http://’ . $_SERVER[‘HTTP_HOST’] . ‘/wordpress‘);

define(‘WP_SITEURL’, ‘http://’ . $_SERVER[‘HTTP_HOST’] . ‘/‘);
define(‘WP_HOME’, ‘http://’ . $_SERVER[‘HTTP_HOST’] . ‘/‘);

Edit httpd-app.conf

The httpd-app.conf file gets edits, so that

RewriteBase /wordpress/
RewriteRule . /wordpress/index.php [L]

RewriteBase /
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

Save Permalinks

One thing I learned during this whole ordeal, is that the Save Permalinks action creates a new .htaccess file for you, which I needed before the root /wordpress/ URL would go away.


One thing that caused me quite a bit of trouble is that just doing the edits of the files was not enough; but I didn’t know that.  After doing the edits of the files (only), the WordPress Admin site worked fine.  But every attempt to go to any of the content resulted in a 500 internal server error.

By the way, the WordPress community and debugging tools truly suck to help one figure out what’s wrong here.  But that’s a rant for a different post.

So I thought my migrations were failing because I couldn’t get to my content after migration.  But really, because I had a default-out-of-the-box installation, I never tried to check the First Post comment or any of the other links.  I made the changes to httpd-prefix.conf and wp-config.php and the Admin site worked fine.  After the restore, I could log in to the Admin site (with the password from the production site), and that worked fine.

But my content was always broken, and I didn’t know it until I stripped down everything back to the most rudimentry snapshot I took before I edited anything.