10 months ago

Blog In A Box: WordPress with Pi Camera, SenseHAT and GPIO

Automattic, the creators of WordPress.com, build Raspberry Pi blogging platform with Pi Camera, SenseHAT and GPIO access

Blog In Box is a new tool for Raspberry Pi from Automattic, the development company behind WordPress.com.

It is a graphical interface that builds an installer image for the Raspberry Pi. This software turns your Raspberry Pi into a blogging platform, that serves up a website (similar to WordPress).

However, Blog In a Box takes full advantage of the Raspberry Pi hardware. You can automatically capture photographs from the Pi Camera or access data from the SenseHAT.

Click here to download the installer tool and start using Blog In A Box.

Blog In A Box: WordPress meets Raspberry Pi

Set up Blog In a Box

Setting up Blog In a Box

“We wanted to do something with the Raspberry Pi,” said team member John Godley.

He told us: “We decided we’d really like an easy single package that would put a fully working WordPress system onto a Raspberry Pi in a way that will be useful for people to experiment and learn with.”

“We like to tinker ourselves,” he told us.

WordPress with electronics: Raspberry Pi camera, SenseHAT and GPIO

Blog In a Box SenseHAT readings

Blog In a Box SenseHAT readings

Blog In a Box enables makers to “connect up to Pi sensors and hardware, and have it all viewable in a smart looking way,” said John.

The installer tool is available for macOS, Windows and Linux. Using it, you configure the settings for your Raspberry Pi (wifi details, admin password). It then burns an image file direct to an SD Card.

Boot this card, and you have a working WordPress system with MySQL, PHP, and Nginx all installed and configured,” explains John. “When it’s finished booting WordPress is immediately available at bloginabox.local.

“The WordPress plugin and tools give you access to anything you connect to your Raspberry Pi. “We’ve added built-in support for the Camera Module and a SenseHAT, both of which can be controlled from WordPress and set to capture data and post it automatically.”

Nick told us: “Everything is open source and we’re hoping people can use it as a good base for all kinds of purposes.”

Edit: This story has been updated to mention that Automattic developed WordPress.com rather than WordPress/WordPress.org.

  • Nigel Young

    Interesting project if only i could actually log in to the darn thing. The instructions fail to mention this part.
    tried every log in i can think of plus all the generated passwords to no avail.
    Im sure i missed some point. After it boots it asks for “login” what is this???
    I know what the password is.
    Nothing I saw on installation asked what your login is.
    It mentions host name, which i tried but no go.
    New to this so if someone with more brain cells than me can shed some light i would be eternally thankful.

  • There are log-ins for all kinds of things on the final screen. I took a screenshot of it so I didn’t miss anything important. Re-do the install and you’ll catch all the log-ins next time.

  • Nigel Young

    Thanks Russell , I did the same, just printed a screen dump. Where it asked for login, then password. What format did you use for the login part?
    At first I thought it “biab” as that’s the default at least for some of the stuff.
    I suspect it’s something like “myblog@something maybe???


  • Andreas

    Also having trouble with login at the boot prompt, tried numerous reinstalls.
    Login to WordPress works fine but I cant get into the Pi after boot-up. The Pi Settings part lists a hostname and password, I guess that Hostname is the username?

  • Andreas

    Try using ‘pi’ as username and it should work. For some reason the installation tool never mentions this.

  • Nigel Young

    Jeez, how dumb am I? That works, Now to figure out how to use it.
    Thanks Andreas.


  • David Atkinson

    I can’t even get this far! I have been trying to install blog in a box onto an SD card using the installer for Mac OS everything seems to go well until the install tool gets to the finalization stage when I get the on-screen instruction to re insert the SD card which I do and then I click OK but the re insert SD card instruction just keeps repeating time and time again and nothing else happens. It is then impossible to quit the installer application and the only way out is to “hard shutdown” the Mac and start again but the same thing just keeps happening again and again. Has anyone else had this problem please?

  • Mike Seiler

    I don’t have a password on a certain test WiFi.
    You say,
    “Optionally provide your SSH public key to login without a password”
    Where do I find the SSH public key that you are referring to?

    BTW, editing the settings was a bit odd since I could not delete the very first letter on a line. I had to leave the first letter, change the field, and then delete the first letter.

  • Nigel Young

    I aqree with all comments so far, this project is not as simple as it is made out to be. Andreas put me right on the login, but as of till now, I have got no further with this other than actually log in to the pi.
    There does not seem to be any resources on the web other than github which unless you are a linux wiz is vague at best. There appears to be some sort of splash screen if/once you get inside. I have not so far managed to get into this
    Also as Mike says, you cant get into the pi to generate an ssh key.
    I found that i could delete the generated passwords etc if i added a letter then back spaced everything out.
    I would love to see a good write up on how this thing works as I initially thought it was a cool project for my school kids to save tying up a pc or ipad.


  • Mike Seiler

    Hey everyone thanks for posting your experience.
    I have gotten to the splash screen over ethernet. Furthermore, I’ve logged into the WP admin panel, and it is indeed the WP I know and love.
    There is an extra plug in for the senseHAT and camera. I plugged in my sense hat, and enabled it in the plug in, but was not able to then see any change in the default splash screen. In other words, I was not able to figure out how to get to something like the March 15 screen shot above.
    I would also love some more info in how to use the GPIO!
    I’ve got to much consulting work at the moment to take the time to dig into the github repo.
    This project sure shows a lot of potential, so I hope somebody does a youtube review soon.

  • Martin Erzberger

    Make sure that the empty card is labeled “boot” before you attempt to burn it. Mine was labeled “NO NAME” before the burn, and “boot” afterwards. This seems to confuse the installer.

  • David Atkinson

    Thank you for that advice Martin pleased to say it worked and I now have a micro SD card burned correctly – what an unusual problem!!

  • Martin Erzberger

    On my machine the Ethernet connection was not set-up to use DHCP. I could eventually connect to the Pi, but the Pi could not connect to anything outside. So the date/time was wrong and many more things looked “strange”. WLAN on the other hand seems to work fine out of the box.

  • Martin Erzberger

    The SSH key needs to be generated on the machine that you connect from. The public key part of the key pair can then be selected in the config panel. This is not a “must”, you can always log-in with the password that you have chosen on the install panel.

  • Sebastian Müller

    I set it up today.
    It is easy but not as easy as claimed.
    1. Download seemed to stop
    2. When burning the card it told me to reinsert it, then I couldn’t abort the programm. So I started it again. Then it worked.
    3. I tried to simplify the passwords but I can’t ssh into the system. Actually I liked the way it generates random passwords.
    4. I could only enter one wifi, more would be helpful.
    5. there should be a way in the software to rotate the picture.
    6. there should be a way of autmatically deleting entries or the picture
    7. how do I install addiontal plugins, so what is my ftp adress?

    I really like this thing. Having a wordpress on a pie is cool. You could have it running on a seperate little box even without the camera or use it to measure temperature and humidity.
    Could someone make a tutorrial so I can use it to measure humidity with a DHT22?

    Annother intresting project woudl be to attach a button to it. I could hang it at my bell and when somebody wants to come I could instruct him to press the button and take a picture of himself, Kinda a selfie machine, me or my neigbours could then look at a website or local site with this picture and see who wants to enter the house…

  • S0l

    Sounds like a nice app would love to try it…
    **minor moan and whining!**
    Only thing stopping me is being forced into installing “kdesudo” and the associated kde environment for the app to run.

    I know it’s a small thing but could it not be set to look for “gksudo” as well?

  • Hugh Connelly

    Thanks for the heads up to use “pi” as the user then the password…once you log in then enter the ip address from another computer (I’m using a MAC) on the same network to actually start using biab.

  • Setup of the SD card didn’t work on Ubuntu – no matter what I did. Windows 10 did the trick. I copied the SSH public key from my Ubuntu to Windows and burned Blog-in-a-box to an 8 GB microSD card. Passwords work. I changed them during the setup of the SD card.

    SSH works from a Ubuntu Linux to Raspberry Pi running Blog-in-a-box. I had to add bloginabox.local to /etc/hosts file of the Ubuntu PC.

    In case there is something not clear you can find me on Twitter: @scas.

  • Shirley 🐑

    In the dashboard go-to blog in a box click sense hat set read frequency and save then go-to appearance widgets and add temperature etc

  • Murphy Chesney

    I also had trouble with setup of the SD card on Ubuntu 16.04 – until I discovered the “trick”. When the burn finishes a message pops up to “Reinsert Card”. You literally have to pull the card out and reinsert it. Then the blue box finishes and the SD card works. If you generated a ssh key login is pretty easy. Otherwise login: pi, and use password you set in Pi Settings.