Successfully install WordPress on Synology NAS (part 1)

There are two ways to install WordPress on your Synology NAS: simple and complex. Also known as the Synology way and the WordPress.org way. This first part in a series of four explains their differences. Make your choice and continue with part 2 (simple) or part 3 (complex).

install wordpress on synology nas, dsm6

Install WordPress on Synology NAS (part 1)

This is part 1 in a series of 4 about hosting WordPress on Synology NAS. The four parts each cover a different area of this topic.

Simple versus Complex Setup

You can install WordPress on a Synology NAS in two ways.

One option is the Synology WordPress package from Package Center. This installation takes care of all dependencies and most of the necessary configurations. This is obviously the easy way but has several limitations.

synology, package center, wordpress, dsm6

The other option is the download from WordPress.org. This is a fully manual process and, as a result, more complex. The advantage is full control over the installation and no limitations.

And for the record, you can install both ways on a single Synology NAS. Both options do not interfere with each other.

The table below highlights the main differences between the two options.

WordPress from SynologyWordPress.org
installation processeasymedium complex
upgrade frequency1-2 times a yearmonthly (approx.)
control over configurationnoyes
multiple instancesnoyes
own domainnoyes
use casesinternalinternal / external

WordPress from Synology

WordPress itself is frequently updated, but Synology refreshes its WordPress package only once or twice a year. As a result, you work with an outdated version most of the time. Due to security risks, I recommend this option for use on your internal network only.

Apart from security risks, an outdated version may limit you when installing plugins that require a later version. I experienced this myself and found it really annoying.

In contrast to the second WordPress.org option, WordPress from Synology only let you install one WordPress website on your NAS.

If you want the easiest installation and configuration process and are fine with the limitations mentioned, the WordPress from Synology package is your best bet.

WordPress from WordPress.org

You can download the latest version from WordPress.org and install it on your NAS. You install the packages WordPress depends on from Package Center. Finally, you configure some items yourself to connect the components.

The limitations that I mentioned for WordPress from Synology do not apply here. You run a fully up-to-date site, and it is safe to use it both internally and externally as a website on the Internet.

wordpress.org, home page

Multiple WordPress websites are possible thanks to the virtual host feature of Web Station.

The additional steps for installation and configuration may scare you off, but you find them described to the latest detail in consecutive posts in this series.

Credits

This series of posts merge my own experience and testing with different resources on the web. I like to mention three of these resources for their invaluable work in random order: Paul Barrett, Frank from Wundertech, and Marius Lixandru.

Preparations

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let us prepare the necessary steps first.

NAS set up

Regarding the best NAS configuration for WordPress, there are a few recommendations.

SSD gives better performance than HDD, as expected. Do not power down the HDDs in a suspend mode, giving the visitor an unacceptable delay.

synology, control panel, info, dsm6, install wordpress on synology

Extra RAM may help, but it totally depends on whether your website will put a heavy load on the system. WordPress itself is not high on resources, and you can set it up with very modest hardware with 1GB RAM.

An EXT4 file system is better than Btrfs for a web server because it is faster, and you do not need the extra bells and whistles that Btrfs offers.

synology, storage manager, ext4, install wordpress on synology

Note that you can start with the NAS you have and give it a spin. Over time, you can step up to an ideal situation.

Secure your NAS

Like with external access, you should take preventive measures against attacks when you allow users from the internet to visit your website. Here, a separate NAS or virtual DSM for your website has its edge.

Some ingredients are strong passwords and two-factor authentication, a password manager, keeping your software up to date, and a good backup strategy. See my separate post on this topic (in preparation).

synology, control panel, dsm update, dsm6, install wordpress on synology

About the question of whether you go for WordPress from Synology or WordPress.org, I strongly advise choosing the latter if you open your website to the internet.

Accessing your website

The WordPress from Synology setup stores its files in the /web/wordpress folder. As a result, the web address of your site is http://ip_address_nas/wordpress or http://server_name.local/wordpress. Therefore, if you install WordPress from Synology, I assume your main reason is the simple setup. I also assume you use it internally, not accessing it from the internet.

The WordPress.org installation mitigates the issue of the subfolder as suffix via a virtual host configuration in Web Station. Within Web Station, you configure a domain name for this /web/subfolder. As a result, your website address will be something http://synodemo.com/ if synodemo.com is your domain. I discuss virtual host in part 3.

synology, control panel, add certificate, dsm6

In addition, you can link an SSL certificate to that virtual host so that the address becomes something similar to https://synodemo.com/. Do not forget to register your domain name in advance.

Note that you can request and install a free Let’s Encrypt certificate from your NAS during the setup. You can replace it later with another certificate if you wish to do so.

Router set up

Unless you plan to use your WordPress website internally only, you must configure port forwarding from your router to your NAS. For this to work reliably, you give your NAS a fixed IP address on your local network.

A second question is whether the external IP address of your router is static or dynamic. If static, you can link that address to your own domain. If not, you have to use a service called Dynamic DNS or DDNS for short in between.

Virtualization

If you plan to run WordPress on your NAS and make it accessible from the Internet, you could consider running it from a separate NAS or a virtual NAS. In the latter case, you can choose between installing WordPress on a virtual DSM or from within Docker.

synology, virtual machine manager, dsm6

From an installation and configuration perspective, this is the same as installing on a physical DSM. Both virtualization options are not part of the scope of this series.

Next Step

Hopefully has part 1 of this series helped you to decided whether you like to go with the WordPress from Synology or WordPress.org setup.

Go to Successfully install WordPress on Synology NAS (part 2) for the WordPress from Synology solution. Or choose Successfully install WordPress on Synology NAS (part 3), where you learn how to install the download from WordPress.org on your Synology NAS.

In Successfully install WordPress on Synology NAS (part 4), it all comes together again when we discuss backups and other maintenance tasks.

Thanks

Paul Steunebrink / Storage Alchemist

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