Install WordPress on your own computer with XAMPP

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XAMPP is a free tool for Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems.  In this tutorial, I’ll install the Windows version.

Installing XAMPP

The first step is to install XAMPP.

At the time of writing this tutorial, 7.4.12 was the latest version.

The Windows file downloads as an EXE so just go ahead and double click on it to start the installer.

On my system, I get this warning:

Before I click Yes to continue the installation, I’ll paise my anti-virus system.

I then get this dialogue box:

Make sure you follow that advice.

The next step is to choose what you want installed:

While you don’t need all these apps on your system, if you are unsure, just accept the default values.

The required options are: Apache, MySQL, PHP and phpMyAdmin.

On the next screen you choose the location of the install:

Bearing in mind the previous warning dialogue about install location, I’ll install mine in this default location.

You can then just quickly go through the settings to get XAMPP set up on your computer.

You should get the all OK message:

If you click the finish button with the check box checked, XAMPP will open:

The two services you will need to enable when you work on your local site are Apache and MySQL.  Click the two Start buttons to turn these on.  If everything goes OK, this is what you’ll see, though the exact numbers may be different:

When you finish working on your local site, click the two stop buttons to turn these services off before you close XAMPP. 

Installing WordPress

The first thing we need to do is download WordPress.

You then need to unzip the wordpress download into the htdocs folder inside the XAMPP folder.  The WordPress files are all inside a folder called “wordpress”:

You can rename it to something more meaningful if you want:

WordPress needs a database to work, so let’s create that now.

With XAMPP running and Apache and MySQL running, click on the Admin button next to the Apache service:

A web browser will open with the localhost dashboard:

Click phpMyAdmin in the top menu.

Click the Databases tab.

Enter a name for your database.  You can choose whatever you want.

Click the Create button to create the database.

You’ll see your database listed on the left.

With the database created, enter localhost/MyTestSite (where MyTestSite is the folder where your WordPress files are located) in a web browser.  You’ll be redirected to the set up process:

Select your language and click Continue.

You’ll see this screen:

We need to tell WordPress a little more information, so click Let’s Go.

On the next screen, enter your WordPress database name and enter root as the username and leave the password blank:

When you click the Submit button, you’ll be taken to this “success” screen that basically is telling you that WordPress is now communicating with the database.

Click the Run the installation button.

The next screen asks for a little more information about your site.

Obviously, I would never use that password on a live website, but for a local environment it is fine.  Just make sure you keep an accurate record of your username and password (which is case sensitive) as you may face problems trying to reset this on a local install unless you have a mail server installed on your machine.

When you click Install WordPress, the installation will complete and you’ll see this:

Congratulations, WordPress is now installed on your computer and ready for you to login to the dashboard.  Here I am inside my locally installed WordPress dashboard:

Closing Down

When you finish working on your site, you should close down as follows:

  1. Log out of WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Stop Apache.
  3. Stop MySQL.

You can now close XAMPP.

Starting your Local Site

When you come back to work on your WordPress site, follow these steps:

  1. Start XAMPP.
  2. Start Apache.
  3. Start MySQL.
  4. Open your login page in a web browser and log in.
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