Turn A Flash Drive Into A Portable Server

After portable devices and portable apps, there is one more similar concept that has the power of making your ‘on the go digital life’ more exciting and handy.

So, how about having a portable server for managing your WordPress blogs on the move? Do not worry; I will not tell you to buy such an innovative server device, as there is none out there in the market.

However; there exists a really creative way of obtaining a portable server. This is the way of making your flash drive act as a portable server. Isn’t this interesting? Keep reading, as we will now see how to change a flash drive to a portable server for testing and running Web pages from any Windows machine.

Procedure Starts with XAMPP Lite

It is XAMPP Lite that allows you to store an entire Web server on your USB drive. XAMPP Lite for Windows refers to a preconfigured but yet a lightweight server that embeds the latest versions of PHP, MySQL, and Apache for running apps and sites.

Proceed with Download and Installation

You need to download its latest version from http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp-windows.html#646. Preferably, using the exe form is easier than the ZIP one. Now, just run the exe file and browse to the destination folder for installing your server.

xampp lite

This has to be a folder in your flash drive and that the drive must have a minimum of 250MB of free space. Now, just click Install and all the files will be stored in the xampplite folder during the installation.

installing xampp lite for windows

Once this is done, a Command Prompt window appears for completing the installation. Firstly, it will prompt for adding shortcuts to the desktop and Start menu for which you should enter n, as they are not needed.

adding shortcuts to desktop

Now, enter y for configuring the folders. Lastly, enter y for making XAMPP portable after which it will setup servers so that they can execute without the need of any drive letter from any computer.

configure XAMPP’s directories

At the end, just press Enter after which you will see the command line form of the XAMPP server wherein you have to confirm your time zone. That’s it! Now, you can just enter 1 and run the control panel by using your flash drive on any other computer.

Note: You can also install your portable browser before using the server.

Explore Your Portable Server

To use your portable server, double-click the xampp-control.exe in the xampplite folder located on your flash drive. You will now see the Control Panel whose Modules section allows you to Start your desired server.

running portable server

Kindly note that the Svc box should not be checked, as that will start the server as a service for Windows. Further, Firewall might give you a prompt, but you must click Allow to let the server run.

firewall prompt

Finally, click Admin to view the default admin page – http://localhost/ and click the Status link to ensure that everything is running well.

xampp control panel

Add Web Pages To Your Portable Server

You can now add your Web pages by storing files in \xampplight\htdocs\ folder.

add webpages to portable server

Manage Web Pages With The WordPress CMS

To do so, first download WordPress from http://wordpress.org/download/ and extract its files to the htdocs folder. Now, you will have to setup WordPress by opening the database admin page and creating a novel database for WordPress.

creating wordpress database

While creating, you need to enter the desired database name, select Add a new User by clicking the Privileges tab atop, and provide login credentials.

add new user

Now, go to http://localhost/wordpress/wp-admin/install.php, click Create a Configuration File and Let’s Go!.

create configuration file

 Provide credentials and WordPress database name only, click Submit, and click Run the install for installing WordPress.

run and intall wordpress

Follow the instructions, log in correctly, and you can now add pages, themes, extensions, and posts for your new WordPress site. Finally, view your portable site at http://localhost/wordpress/.

xampp stop

Shut Down The Server

To do so, just run the xampp_stop.exe from the xampplite folder.