When I finally decided to build my own blog, I was ecstatic, psyched and passionate to get it all done for myself. You see, I am not a handy guy, and there aren’t many things I can do without getting a professional. So when I discover something I can hack, I get all giddy and excited. This is the feeling you probably get as well.
Now, unlike most blogging platforms, WordPress provides you with the option of using it locally. The term ‘locally’ is used to refer to the development and creation of WordPress blogs and sites on your PC. The site created is only visible on your PC.
If you already have a live WordPress site, you probably are familiar with the stresses, frustrations, risks, and uncertainties that accompany live site and blog development and changes.
In this piece, I will take you through the process of installing WordPress locally on your desktop or PC enabling you to take full control of your blog creation and development.
But before we get into it, why is this even important? Well, below are some of the reasons why you should have a local WordPress.
You Work Offline
Most people have access to the internet. However, not everyone has the luxury of free or cheap internet connection. Sure, it is always okay to invest in your learning endeavors but where you can save some cash, by all means, please do.
Setting up a local WordPress allows you to work anywhere without connecting to the internet. You can visit your folks upcountry and still build your blog.
You Will Work Faster
But Even if you have the luxury of a stable and fast internet connection, its speed cannot possibly beat reading directly from your PC’s hard drive. The time you save courtesy of this speed can be put to good use like learning and implementing important tweaks to your local site.
There is also the bonus of being more focused and staying in the zone for longer without connection lags and delays.
No Playing With Fire on Live Sites
There is no other way of laying it down easy. Performing substantial development on a live site is a sure mark of an amateur and needless to say, begging for trouble. You should not do it!!
Working on your site locally allows you to correct mistakes in a calm manner and without affecting your site’s user experience and revenue.
Hopefully you are starting to understand the importance of a local WordPress installation.
So now, let’s get down to business.
Setting Up Your Local WordPress Environment with Xampp
A while back, the thought of creating a WordPress friendly local environment sent chills down the spine of most developers. The process was long tedious and way too complex for comfort. Thank God blogging has caught on when things have gotten easier and simpler. Today, the whole ‘local environment’ creation and setup has been simplified by the use of Xampp.
Thank God blogging has caught on when things have gotten easier and simpler. Today, the whole ‘local environment’ creation and setup has been simplified by the use of Xampp.
Xampp is an application that has been specifically designed to create a local web server environment for the purposes of installing WordPress on your PC. Xampp stands for Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Perl. It has for the longest time been the got-to application for WordPress developers.
Xampp stands for Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Perl. It has for the longest time been the go-to application for WordPress developers.
At this point, I feel it is important to point out an alternative application which is equally popular: WampServer. It works the same way Xampp does. In this article, however, I shall focus on Xampp.
To run on your PC, WordPress needs two things:
- A Web server that runs PHP
- A database
Xampp provides these two in an easy to install package
Download and Install Xampp
Xampp is hosted on Apache Friends website. Downloads are available for Windows, Linux and OS X users. The Download is about 125 MB.
Once the download is complete, locate the .exe file and double-click on it to launch the setup wizard. By default, the executable file is saved in your Downloads folder.
No doubt the installation process is pretty straight forward. I have completed the process numerous times, I should know.
However, there are some choices you will need to make during the setup. For a newbie, making these choices can be frustrating.
To keep you from getting stuck, I have thrown in some Screenshots of every stage of the process.
Pick All Components
During your research, you might have come across some information detailing the insignificance of some of the Xampp components to set up a WordPress Local environment.
While sticking to the basic Xampp components may work for setting up the local environment, I have learned the hard way that all the components are essential in the long run.
The Mercury Mail Server component, for instance, will allow you to test your subscribe buttons and/or comments section.
So rather than choosing Apache, MySQL, Tomcat, phpMyAdmin, and PHP only, install all components listed.
Good thing they come pre-checked and all you got to do is click on next.
Choose The Installation Folder
Next, you need to choose where the Xampp files will live on your PC. You will need to access the /htdocs subdirectory within the Xampp to complete the WordPress installation so you should take note of this location.
Skip The Bitnami Install
Bitnami is Xampp’s platform. It makes available an add-on for an automatic WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla installation. However, since we are here to learn how to do it ourselves, let’s stick to installing it by hand (leave the Learn More radio button unchecked).
Click on next to proceed and on the following screen as well.
Launch the Xampp Control Panel
Your installation is finally complete.
But before you click on finish, tick the option to automatically start the control panel (if it is not ticked automatically).
In the future, you can always start the Xampp control panel from the start menu or by navigating to the Xampp folder and clicking on the Xampp Control Panel (this is the longer process).
Next, choose your language, and click save.
By now you should be staring at a Control Panel Similar to the one below.
If not, proceed to the toolbar, find the Xampp app icon, right-click, and select show.
On the control panel, click on Start for both Apache and MySQL to start the components.
Check The Homepage on Your Browser
After starting the components, click on Admin for the Apache component. This will open up the Xampp default homepage retrieved from your local /htdocs directory.
Congratulations! Your Local Hosting Environment is now installed and running. You have done it like a pro!
Before we move on to the next step, I should point out a hurdle that might have gotten you shaken up and how you should handle it.
Managing Xampp Permissions
During the Xampp installation, or when starting MySQL and Apache components, you may receive a firewall/security warning similar to the one below.
In all the cases it pops up, select Private networks checkbox and click on Allow Access.
In the event, you experience any problems or feel lost, visit the Windows Xampp Community Forums for some quick guidance and solutions.
Setting Up The Database
Let’s keep up the pace and create our first database.
Xampp as earlier pointed out features a phpMyAdmin (a powerful MySQL database management tool) component as a standard. We shall be using this component to create our database.
In this step, we need to do two things:
- Create a database that WordPress will use
- Create a user for the database along with relevant privileges
You can launch phpMyAdmin directly from the control panel by clicking on Admin on the MySQL row.
Click on the databases tab and enter the name of the database you want to create. For the collation, scroll down to the utf8_general_ci. This collation will help you avoid character encoding issues in the future. Click CREATE when done.
Now navigate to the Privileges Tab to create a New User.
Click on add user account.
Enter the details of the user. Use names you will remember and also note that phpMyAdmin is user sensitive. On the hostname, set it to local.
Scroll down the page, check all items on global privileges and then click on go to create a user.
The first phase of the Process is done. Now onto the 2nd and final phase: Installing WordPress
Head over to www.wordpress.org to download your latest version of WordPress. It is 8.5MBs big so you need not worry about that.
After your download, Locate the Xampp folder and navigate to the /htdocs subfolder. Open it and extract your WordPress into this folder. For the extraction process, you will need to download WinZip if you do not have it already.
In the WordPress folder, you extract, locate the wp-config-sample.php file.
Open this file with Notepad++ and make changes to the database username and password as in the image below.
Save the changes and rename the file to wp-config.php.
Now proceed to http://localhost/wordpress to install your WordPress.
For the database and username, you will use the details created in the phpMyAdmin.
Once the installation is complete, simply go to wp-admin and start editing your WordPress site.
You can make lots of changes to the site offline, troubleshoot and play around with the site/blog before taking it live on your preferred server.
Most pro developers make their tweaks offline and the transfer their creation online. We shall look at this process in a different article.
For now, if you experience any trouble with installing WordPress using Xampp software, let me know in the comments below. You can also get in touch with me here.
Post any of your queries or errors as comments below.