After our last reader requested post all about Google Webmaster Tools, I got an email asking me if I could put together a tutorial post looking at how to install WordPress locally on a computer. I thought this would be a great topic to write about as I am actually working on a site myself that is set up in this way.
Why Install WordPress Locally?
So, before we start, why on earth would you want to install WordPress on your computer? Well, I think many people don’t even realize that you can do this in the first place. By installing it locally (on your computer), it allows you to create websites in a safe environment where you can test out; different plugins, website layouts, CSS coding, etc.
The fact that you can create test websites without them needing to be online means that you don’t have to worry about messing up. This is especially great when you are looking to set up your first website and don’t quite know how things work.
I also create websites for some local clients in this way, where I can take my laptop to a meeting with them and show them what their new site would look like, without ever having to touch their existing site.
The great thing is that it’s pretty easy to setup, so let’s get started…
If you were creating a website in the tradition sense (i.e. online), you would need to buy hosting space to store all your files online. The other important aspect of a hosting provider is that it includes Apache, MySQL, PHP, phpMyAdmin and Perl, which are needed for your WordPress site to work properly.
Now because we want to setup a site locally, we are going to need our own version of a host on our computer that also contains Apache and MySQL servers, as well as PHP, phpMyAdmin and Perl program languages. For this, I use XAMPP, which is completely free!
There are versions for Linux, Windows, Mac OS and Solaris, so make sure you install the right one. For this tutorial I will be using the Windows version, though the same steps should apply to the different versions.
Click onto your version, navigate to the “Download” section and click on “XAMPP”
Then click on the “Installer”
Install XAMPP Onto Your Computer
Once it has downloaded, you are ready to install it to your computer. Simply click on the installer and follow the on-screen instructions.
When it asks you to “select components”, simply leave it as it is so that all are installed.
When it asks where you want to install XAMPP, keep it in the C:\ drive. Saving it in your program folders could cause issues at a later date, so it’s best to leave it as it is.
XAMPP will then tell you about BitNami, which is a free installer that can install Drupal, Joomla, WordPress and more on your XAMPP installation. We will be making use of this shortly, so for now just click ‘next‘.
One your happy, finish the set-up process and install XAMPP to your computer. It should take a couple of minutes to install properly.
Once XAMPP has finished installing, you can start it up by clicking on the ‘XAMPP Control Panel’ in your Start menu.
For now, we only need to start Apache and MySQL, so click on each of these
You will probably get a ‘Windows Firewall’ notification popup for each of these. Make sure that you “Allow Access” for each, otherwise XAMPP won’t work!
That should be it! Now simply open up your browser and navigate to http://localhost to check if it’s working properly. You should see the following.
Now that you have finished setting up XAMPP, we can install WordPress locally. We are going to use BitNami that was mention earlier when we were installing XAMPP. You can navigate to their site and download a WordPress installer there (as well as other useful website plugins), which makes things a lot easier. Again, remember to install the correct version for your computer.
When it has finished downloading, open the installer.
Make sure that you save it in the same place that we installed XAMPP, which in our case was C:\xampp
On the ‘Create Admin Account’ page, enter in your WordPress details.
Name your blog.
It will ask you if you want to link an email account, which is totally up to you. You don’t really need to do this for a local site though.
Finish the set-up process and let BitNami install WordPress for you.
Once it has finished, you will be taken to your new WordPress website installed on your computer.
That’s it! You now have a basic version of WordPress set-up locally on your site. You can now navigate to http://localhost/wordpress/wp-login.php and login to your WordPress dashboard with the username and password that you previously set up.
Have fun creating your site and playing around with different plugins and site design.
Do you create sites like this? Have you made sites locally before before transferring them online? Do you have a request for a future post? Please let us know in the comments below!