How to Configure WordPress to a Remote Database?

Install MariaDB 

 

Run these steps on the database server.

 

1. Install MariaDB:

sudo apt install mariadb-server

 

2. Run the mysql_secure_installation script to set a root password and remove unnecessary services. Set a root password and respond y to all of the prompts:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

 

Accept Remote Connections

1. Change the bind-address to the database server’s private IP to configure the MariaDB to accept remote connections:

/etc/mysql/mariadb.conf.d/50-server.cnf
bind-address    = 192.0.2.100

 

2. Restart MariaDB and allow connections to port 3306 through the firewall. This example uses UFW to automatically open the port over both IPv4 and IPv6:

sudo systemctl restart mysql
sudo ufw allow mysql

 

3. Log in to MariaDB as root, create the database and remote user, and grant the remote user access to the database. Replace 192.0.2.255 with your web server’s private IP:

sudo mysql -u root -p
CREATE DATABASE wordpress;
CREATE USER 'wpuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON wordpress.* TO 'wpuser'@'localhost';
CREATE USER 'wpuser'@'192.0.2.255' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON wordpress.* TO 'wpuser'@'192.0.2.255';
FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
exit

 

4. Test the new user’s local login:

mysql -u wpuser -p
status;
exit

Connect to the Remote Database from the Web Server

Run these steps on the webserver.

 

1. The web server should already have MariaDB installed. If it doesn’t, install it. PHP-MySQL is required for WordPress:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install mariadb-client php-mysql

 

2. Test remote login with the new remote user. Replace 192.0.2.100 with the database IP:

mysql -u wpuser -h 192.0.2.100 -p
status;
exit

 

The web server can now connect to the remote database.

 

Configure WordPress to Use a Remote Database

When first installed and configured through the web interface and a local database, WordPress creates a file called wp-config.php. Configure the initial remote database settings.

 

Navigate to the directory to which WordPress was extracted, copy the sample configuration and set it to use the remote database:

 

1. Test remote login with the new remote user. Replace 192.0.2.100 with the database  IP:

cd /var/www/html/example.com/public_html
sudo cp wp-config-sample.php wp-config.php

 

2. Test remote login with the new remote user. Replace 192.0.2.100 with the database IP:

/var/www/html/example.com/public_html/wp-config.php
  
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define('DB_NAME', 'wordpress');

/** MySQL database username */
define('DB_USER', 'wpuser');

/** MySQL database password */
define('DB_PASSWORD', 'password');

/** MySQL hostname */
define('DB_HOST', '192.0.2.100');

 

Add Security Keys to Secure wp-admin Logins

1. Use the WordPress Security Key Generator to create randomized, complicated hashes that WordPress will use to encrypt login data. Copy the result and replace the matching section in wp-config.php:

/var/www/html/example.com/public_html/wp-config.php
 
/**#@+
 * Authentication Unique Keys and Salts.
 *
 * Change these to different unique phrases!
 * You can generate these using the {@link https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt/ WordPress.org secret-key service}
 * You can change these at any point in time to invalidate all existing cookies. This will force all users to have to log in again.
 *
 * @since 2.6.0
 */
define('AUTH_KEY',         'put your unique phrase here');
define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY',  'put your unique phrase here');
define('LOGGED_IN_KEY',    'put your unique phrase here');
define('NONCE_KEY',        'put your unique phrase here');
define('AUTH_SALT',        'put your unique phrase here');
define('SECURE_AUTH_SALT', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('LOGGED_IN_SALT',   'put your unique phrase here');
define('NONCE_SALT',       'put your unique phrase here');
/**#@-*/

 

Secure WordPress Database Traffic with SSL

1. On the web server

Create a directory to receive the certificates created in this section:

/etc/mysql/mariadb.conf.d/50-server.cnf
bind-address    = 192.0.2.100

 

2. On the database server

Create and switch to a directory for generating keys and certificates:

mkdir ~/certs && cd ~/certs

 

3. Generate a CA key and create the certificate and private key. Respond to the prompts as appropriate. The key in this example expires in 100 years. Change the -days 36500 value in this and the following steps to set the certificates to expire as needed:

sudo openssl genrsa 4096 > ca-key.pem
sudo openssl req -new -x509 -nodes -days 36500 -key ca-key.pem -out cacert.pem

 

You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated
into your certificate request.
What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
For some fields there will be a default value,
If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
-----
Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:US
State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:PA
Locality Name (eg, city) []:Phila
Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
Common Name (e.g. server FQDN or YOUR name) []:MariaDB
Email Address []:

 

4. Create a directory to receive the certificates created in this section:

sudo openssl req -newkey rsa:4096 -days 36500 -nodes -keyout server-key.pem -out server-req.pem

 

Generating a 4096 bit RSA private key
......................+++
.............................+++
writing new private key to 'server-key.pem'
-----
You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated
into your certificate request.
What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
For some fields there will be a default value,
If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
-----
Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:US
State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:PA
Locality Name (eg, city) []:Phila
Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
Common Name (e.g. server FQDN or YOUR name) []:203.0.113.15
Email Address []:

Please enter the following 'extra' attributes
to be sent with your certificate request
A challenge password []:
An optional company name []:

 

sudo openssl rsa -in server-key.pem -out server-key.pem

 

5. Sign the certificate:

sudo openssl x509 -req -in server-req.pem -days 36500 -CA cacert.pem -CAkey ca-key.pem -set_serial 01 -out server-cert.pem

 

6. Move the keys and certificate to a permanent location:

sudo mkdir /etc/mysql/ssl
sudo mv *.* /etc/mysql/ssl && cd /etc/mysql/ssl

 

7. Generate a client key. Respond to the prompts as appropriate and set the Common Name to your web server’s FQDN or IP address:

sudo openssl req -newkey rsa:2048 -days 36500 -nodes -keyout client-key.pem -out client-req.pem
Generating a 4096 bit RSA private key
....................+++
............................................................................................+++
writing new private key to 'client-key.pem'
-----
You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated
into your certificate request.
What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
For some fields there will be a default value,
If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
-----
Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:US
State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:PA
Locality Name (eg, city) []:Phila
Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
Common Name (e.g. server FQDN or YOUR name) []:203.0.113.15
Email Address []:

Please enter the following 'extra' attributes
to be sent with your certificate request
A challenge password []:
An optional company name []:

8. Write the RSA key:

sudo openssl rsa -in client-key.pem -out client-key.pem

 

9. Sign the client certificate:

sudo openssl x509 -req -in client-req.pem -days 36500 -CA cacert.pem -CAkey ca-key.pem -set_serial 01 -out client-cert.pem

 

10. Verify the certificates:

openssl verify -CAfile cacert.pem server-cert.pem client-cert.pem

 

11. Configure the MariaDB server to use the certificates. Find the following lines and remove the # to uncomment the certificate locations. Modify the paths to match:

/etc/mysql/mariadb.conf.d/50-server.cnf

ssl-ca=/etc/mysql/ssl/cacert.pem
ssl-cert=/etc/mysql/ssl/server-cert.pem
ssl-key=/etc/mysql/ssl/server-key.pem

 

12. Log in to MariaDB and require SSL for all logins to the database. Replace 192.0.2.255 with the web server IP:

sudo mysql -u root -p
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON wordpress.* TO 'wpuser'@'192.0.2.255' REQUIRE SSL;
FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
exit

 

13. Restart MariaDB:

sudo systemctl restart mysql

 

14. Copy the certificates and key to the web server. Replace example_user with the web server’s user and 192.0.2.255 with the web server’s IP:

scp cacert.pem client-cert.pem client-key.pem example_user@192.0.2.255:~/certs

 

On the web server

1. Create the directory and move the certificates and key to /etc/mysql/ssl:

sudo mkdir /etc/mysql/ssl && sudo mv ~/certs/*.* /etc/mysql/ssl

 

2. Create a directory to receive the certificates created in this section:

/etc/mysql/mariadb.conf.d/50-server.cnf
bind-address    = 192.0.2.100

Note:

If the web server uses MySQL you can find the configuration file in /etc/mysql/mysql.conf.d/mysqld.cnf.

 

3. Log in to the remote database to test the login over SSL:

mysql -u wpuser -h 192.0.2.100 -p

 

4. Check the status:

status;

 

5. Exit MariaDB:

exit

 

6. Add a directive before the remote database information in wp-config which forces WordPress to use SSL for the database connection:

/var/www/html/example.com/public_html/wp-config.php
 
...
define( 'MYSQL_CLIENT_FLAGS', MYSQLI_CLIENT_SSL );

/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define('DB_NAME', 'wordpress');

/** MySQL database username */
define('DB_USER', 'wpuser');

/** MySQL database password */
define('DB_PASSWORD', 'password');

/** MySQL hostname */
define('DB_HOST', '192.0.2.100');
...

 

Complete the WordPress Installation

Access the WordPress installation interface through wp-admin. Use a browser to navigate to example.com/wp-admin. If the database connection is successful, you’ll see the installation screen.

 

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