How to Install WordPress Locally Step by Step

If you’re hoping to start a blog or an online business, chances are you’ve already heard of WordPress. Thousands of online resources point upcoming bloggers towards the popular CMS, and it’s no secret why. WordPress makes updating your online presence much easier than it used to be with raw HTML and CSS.

Unfortunately, few online resources teach users how to install WordPress locally. Though all WordPress features work the same when installed on online or local servers, local installation gives users more room for experimentation. These steps will help you install WordPress on your personal machine.

Wordpress logo closeup

Step 1: Choosing Your Local Server

First off, to install WordPress locally, you must download and install a compatible local server. These are basic programs that use your desktop to simulate the functionality of a standalone server machine.

On a Windows PC, there are many options available to you, but two stand out from the pack: XAMPP and WAMP. These are the most straightforward local server programs for basic WordPress development. It should be noted that XAMPP comes with several additional features for PHP developers, and WAMP is the best choice for those who are hoping to manage their website with as little coding as possible. Mac users are restricted to a program known as MAMP, and it functions the same way as WAMP — it’s Windows counterpart.

In any case, you must create a new database once you’ve installed a local server. Each of these three programs will guide you through the database creation process. You can easily test your database creation efforts by opening your web browser and visiting your localhost page. In fact, your server software should provide a link directly to that page. This page is where you’ll handle the majority of the local WordPress installation.

Step 2: Downloading and Installing the WordPress Files

Once you’ve downloaded your chosen local hosting software, the next step is to locate the most up-to-date WordPress files online. WordPress.org usually advertises their most recent release on the front page of their website. As was the case with selecting your server, you’ll need to make sure to download the appropriate files for your operating system. Luckily, WordPress.org clearly distinguishes between Mac and Windows files.

Downloading the correct files is simple enough, but it’s imperative that you extract your new files into the appropriate location. Your computer’s file directory should now have an “htdocs” folder located within the subdirectory of your local hosting software. You must extract your WordPress files into this folder. As a word of caution, parts of your local install may work if you forget this step — but you will certainly run into more complicated problems down the road.

Step 3: Update and Rename the Sample WordPress Files

After your files are in the correct folder, your server’s database will have an easier time parsing through your upcoming site’s information. The default files you downloaded, however, only exist as a template to easily connect you with your database.

To install WordPress locally, you must search through the files in your htdocs folder until you find one titled “wp-config-sample.php”. Rename this file to “wp-config.php”. This file will tell your database how to interpret the rest of your website.

Next, access the “Network Settings” tab on your local server’s main display. This page will provide information about your database name, user, host and other important information. Open your “wp-config.php” file in a text editor, and make sure that all of the information lines up accurately with the settings displayed on your local server. This is the only part of the installation that requires any sort of programming, and it should be easy to follow.

Create WordPress website starting page

Step 4: Run the WordPress Installation

The final step required to install WordPress locally is to activate the WordPress “install.php” file. If you’ve set everything up correctly to this point, you shouldn’t have trouble accessing your WordPress files through your web browser. Your local server is projecting your files in a simulated online setting, and you’ve essentially tricked the files into installing like they would on an online server.

When you run the “install.php” file, you will see an introductory page asking for your blog title and email address. This information can be changed at a later time, but enter something easy to remember for basic local access. Next, select “Install WordPress”.

From this point, starting your local server and reaching your browser’s local host page will bring you to a high-level view of your database — but you will also have an option to view your WordPress dashboard. This dashboard looks and operates exactly as it would online, but your site is in a local-only mode. This is a perfect environment for website development before you publish the finished product online.

Here is a short clip that can help you learn better:

Bottom Line

Though many other techniques exist, following these 4 steps is the easiest way to install WordPress locally. It’s important to understand the requirements of your operating system and to extract all your files in the appropriate locations. However, once you’ve learned to install WordPress locally, you can edit your site with the freedom of an online server and the privacy of your personal machine. Best of all, you can easily bring your content online when the time is right.

Images source: depositphotos.com

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