As a developer or a designer, I often find working on a live WordPress site quite cumbersome and time-consuming, especially when making frequent changes and updates.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could work on our website locally and then seamlessly transfer those changes to our live site?
Well, you’re in luck!
In this post, I will describe how you can install WordPress locally on Windows or Mac and set up a fully functional dev environment that supports us, whether you’re building your first WordPress website or need to punch out a quick demo for a client.
Following this step-by-step guide will save time and effort, reduce the risk of errors on your live site, and improve your overall development workflow.
- Why Do You Need to Install WordPress Locally?
- How to Install WordPress on the localhost?
- How to Create a Staging Environment for Free in 1-Click
- Optimizing Your Local WordPress Installation: Tips for Better Performance
- Common Errors During Local WordPress Installation and How to Troubleshoot Them
Why Do You Need to Install WordPress Locally?
As you may already know. WordPress is an open-source platform that’s freely available for anyone to use, making it a popular choice for various projects.
Additionally, WordPress is supported by almost every web hosting solution, from shared servers to fully managed WordPress hosting solutions like Cloudways.
While WordPress is easily accessible, there are advantages to installing it locally on your computer. Here are three reasons why you should consider creating a local WordPress development environment:
But today, I am only going to discuss WordPress installation locally on your computer. Here are three main reasons why you should have a local WordPress dev environment
1. Helps in Learning and Development
If you are just starting out with local WordPress development and want to polish your skills as a WordPress developer, the offline platform is an ideal option. The best part – there is no cost involved, and you can learn WordPress dev at your own pace.
However, you can always hire a WordPress developer to get professional help and save you time.
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2. Allows You to Test New Features
Testing new features on a live site is not a good idea, as things can break and affect your business processes. By installing WordPress locally, you have a safe location to test out new features, themes, and plugins.
3. Servers as an Isolated Dev Environment
Local WordPress setup provides an isolated development environment with zero risk and maximum flexibility for experimenting with new tools and techniques. In many cases, you need an environment to test ideas and play around with code. Once a prototype is ready, you can move it to a test site for QA and improvements.
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How to Install WordPress on Localhost?
Installing WordPress on your local machine is a straightforward process, but it’s important to keep in mind that WordPress requires specific components to operate correctly.
WordPress itself does not run directly on your local machine but requires a web server, PHP, and a database (MySQL is a popular choice). It’s the combination of these components that creates the environment in which WordPress operates.
Typically, the process of building a WordPress environment consists of the following steps:
- Setup the environment
- Download a stable WordPress version
- Install WordPress on the localhost
Install WordPress on Windows
If you’re using a Windows operating system and want to install WordPress, I’ve got you covered. In this section, I’ll walk you through how to set up and configure a virtual host on Windows 10 using XAMPP.
Step 1: Download XAMPP and WordPress
- Before downloading WordPress, it is important to set up the proper environment it runs in. On Windows, this is accomplished by installing XAMPP or WAMP to set up a server–database stack (industry favorites are Apache as a web server and MySQL as the database).
- For this guide, I will use XAMPP, downloadable from the Apache website.
- On the download page, you will see various options that work with different PHP versions. I selected the options that work best with the latest PHP version.
- Once the download finishes, run it to install XAMPP on your local system. After installation, launch the control panel to view and set the status for Apache and MySQL.
- Make sure to checkmark Apache and MySQL options. Starting these two services is necessary for installing WordPress locally.
Step 2: Install and Setup WordPress Locally
- After setting up the web server and database, download the WordPress setup from the official website.
- Next, move the zip file to the /htdocs folder in the XAMPP directory. Unzip the file and navigate to the project directory.
- IMPORTANT: Make sure Apache and MySQL services in the XAMPP control panel are up and running.
- Next, visit the phpMyAdmin portal to create the database of your new WordPress site. You will most likely find the portal on the following URL (depending on your port configuration).
- Once the database is created, launch the WordPress installation setup by visiting the following URL.
- Select the desired language and click ‘Continue.’
- On the next screen, follow the steps to add database credentials to the wp-config.php file.
- Open wp-config.php file within your favorite code editor and define database credentials as follow:
// ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** // /** The name of the database for WordPress */ define( 'DB_NAME', 'newwpsite' ); /** MySQL database username */ define( 'DB_USER', 'root' ); /** MySQL database password */ define( 'DB_PASSWORD', '' );
- Save the file and head back to the WordPress installation wizard.
- Enter the database name, username, and password. You may also define your table prefix, but I am keeping the default value for now. When finished, click ‘Submit.’
- The next screen will confirm the successful database configuration Click ‘Run the installation’ to begin the WordPress installation process.
- In the next screen, provide information about your website and set the username and password to access the WordPress dashboard.
- Once done, click the ‘Install WordPress’ button. This will show the success message and the button to launch the very well-known WordPress dashboard login page.
- That’s all you need to do to install WordPress locally on your Windows machine.
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Install WordPress on Mac
If you are a Mac user, you can also use WordPress locally on your Mac. Just like Windows, you will need to set up a stack to run WordPress locally. Although the steps differ a bit, the overall process of using WordPress locally on Mac remains the same.
Step 1: Download MAMP
- In the first step, download MAMPwhich sets up a web server and database for the WordPress installation.
- Go to the MAMP office website to download the setup for macOS.
- Once the download is finished, begin installing MAMPP by running the installation wizard. You may be asked to install the Pro version as well. This is not a mandatory requirement, and you can start with the free version.
- Once installation finishes, head over to the MAMP controller and start the server.
- Once the server is up and running, click Open WebStart page to launch phpMyAdmin.
Step 2: Install WordPress Locally for Mac
- Mac users can download WordPress setup for Mac from the official website.
- After downloading WordPress for Mac, unzip the downloaded file and place the folder inside the MAMP document root folder. You can rename this folder as the name of the WordPress site.
- Now, create the database using phpMyAdmin through the MAMP control panel. Fortunately, phpMyAdmin works the same as in Windows. Add the name of the database and head over to the wp-config.php file to add database credentials.
- Now, run the WordPress installation wizard by visiting this link.
- The rest of the steps remain the same as when installing WordPress locally on Windows.
How to Create a Staging Environment for Free in 1-Click
Developing or updating a live website without testing it is like playing with fire. A staging environment, a private and password-protected replica of your website, can help you avoid errors and save time and effort.
Making changes on your staging website won’t affect your live website until you push the changes.
While many hosting providers charge for a staging environment, Cloudways offers a free 1-click staging environment for all plans, allowing you to speed up your development workflow and save money in the long run.
Here’s how to create a staging environment using the Cloudways Platform:
- Log in to Cloudways Platform using your credentials.
- From the top menu bar, select Servers and choose the server where your application is deployed.
- Click on www and select your application.
- Hover over the grid menu, and click on Clone App/Create Staging to create a staging environment.
- In the dialog box, select the server where you want to create the staging environment. Then, choose Create as Staging and click on Continue.
- Wait for the staging site deployment to begin. It will be a complete clone of your live application.
- Once launched, the staging application will be available in the applications list with the staging tag.
Optimizing Your Local WordPress Installation: Tips for Better Performance
Here are some tips on how to optimize your local WordPress installation for better performance:
Disable unnecessary plugins: Just like with a live website, having too many plugins can slow down your local WordPress installation. Review the plugins you have installed and disable any that you’re not using or that aren’t essential for your development work.
- Increase PHP memory limit: If you’re experiencing slow load times on your local WordPress installation, it might be due to the default PHP memory limit. You can increase this limit by editing your wp-config.php file and adding the following code: define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’);
- Use a lightweight theme: Choosing a lightweight theme can significantly improve the speed of your local WordPress installation. Look for themes that are optimized for speed and have a minimal design.
- Use a caching plugin: A caching plugin can help to speed up your local WordPress installation by storing frequently accessed data in cache memory. This reduces the number of requests made to the server and improves page load times. Some popular caching plugins include WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, and WP Rocket.
- Optimize your images: Large image files can slow down your website, even on a local installation. Make sure to optimize your images by compressing them without compromising on quality. You can use image optimization tools like TinyPNG, ShortPixel, or Imagify for this purpose.
Common Errors During Local WordPress Installation and How to Troubleshoot Them
Here are some common errors that readers might encounter during the installation process of a local WordPress installation, along with some troubleshooting tips:
- 404 Page not found error: This error occurs when WordPress cannot find a specific page or post. Check your permalink settings and make sure they are set to “Post name” or a custom structure.
- Error establishing a database connection: This error occurs when WordPress cannot connect to the database during the installation process. Check your database credentials in the wp-config.php file and make sure they match the database you created.
- Failed to connect to FTP server: This error occurs when WordPress cannot connect to the FTP server to install themes or plugins. Check your FTP credentials and make sure they are correct.
- HTTP Error when uploading images: This error can occur due to a variety of reasons, such as a low PHP memory limit or file size limit. Increase the PHP memory limit and maximum file size in your php.ini file to fix this issue.
- White screen of death: This error occurs when WordPress displays a blank white screen instead of your website. This can be caused by a plugin or theme conflict, so try disabling your plugins and switching to a default theme to isolate the issue.
In conclusion, I hope this guide has been helpful in showing you how to install WordPress locally on your Windows or Mac computer. By following the step-by-step instructions provided, you can create a local WordPress installation that allows you to experiment with different themes, plugins, and customization options.
Whether you’re a seasoned WordPress user or just starting, using WordPress locally provides a safe and controlled environment to learn and develop your skills. So go ahead, install WordPress locally, and unleash the full potential of this powerful platform!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can I install WordPress manually?
Yes, it is possible to manually install WordPress. The process involves downloading the latest version of WordPress from wordpress.org, unzipping the file, and uploading it to a directory such as public_html. Then, a MySQL database and users need to be created, followed by configuring the wp-config.php file. Finally, the installation program can be run to complete the installation process.
Q. Can I install WordPress offline?
Yes, it is possible to install WordPress offline. To do so, you would need to download the latest version of WordPress from wordpress.org and then install a local server environment such as XAMPP, WAMP, or MAMP on your computer. Once you have installed the local server, you can create a new database and configure the wp-config.php file accordingly.
Q. Should I download WordPress or use it online?
For personal bloggers who do not intend to monetize their website, the free version of WordPress.com is a suitable choice. However, if you are a business or blogger looking to generate revenue from your site, we recommend using the self-hosted WordPress.org platform. This will provide you with greater flexibility and control over your website, as well as access to various plugins and customizations.
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Abdul is a tech-savvy, coffee-fueled, and creatively driven marketer who loves keeping up with the latest software updates and tech gadgets. He's also a skilled technical writer who can explain complex concepts simply for a broad audience. Abdul enjoys sharing his knowledge of the Cloud industry through user manuals, documentation, and blog posts.