If you’re looking to learn web design and development for free, the first logical step is to install WordPress locally on your computer. While there are many options for this including XAMPP, Local by Flywheel, MAMP, and others, after doing some research and testing I decided to go with WAMP by Bitnami. WAMP stands for Windows, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.
How to Install WordPress Locally with WAMP by Bitnami
This post will cover how to:
- Download and install WAMP by Bitnami on Windows 10
- Setup PHPMyAdmin and create new databases and MySQL users
- Install WordPress locally and connect the installation to a database
If you’re the type of person who likes to DIY everything and you’re ready to just start experimenting on a fresh WordPress installation, this is a great way to go. Likewise, if you’re the type of person who likes to be prudent and do things right the first time, this is also a great first step.
Local development environments are an important part of WordPress development. If you make changes to a live site (known as “cowboy coding”) you run the risk of a user seeing a broken site if something goes wrong. Because of that, unless you’re just making a tiny tweak or two, it’s usually better to make your changes in a local development environment or staging environment first, and then move or “push” them to the live site.
If you’ve read this far I probably don’t need to convince you that a installing WAMP by Bitnami and WordPress locally is a good idea, so let’s get started!
How to Download WAMP by Bitnami
To download the WAMP by Bitnami installer, you can follow this link: https://bitnami.com/stack/wamp/installer or simply run a Google search for “wamp”. WAMP by Bitnami will probably not be the first result, but it should show up on the first page.
Once you find yourself on the download screen shown in the image, click on the version you require and then click the download button. It’s a relatively small installer, so the download shouldn’t take long.
How to Install WAMP by Bitnami
Open the containing folder and double click on the Bitnami WAMP installer. It should be called something like bitnami-wampstack followed by a version number. When you open the installer a grey screen will cover your monitor and a prompt will ask you if you wish to allow the app to make changes to your device. Click on yes.
The Bitnami Wampstack setup wizard will open. Click on next, and you should see a screen with several optional components (PHP frameworks) and one mandatory component (PHPMyAdmin). Unless you’re a PHP developer, I recommend not installing any of the optional components. Just click on each to remove selection, and then click on next.
The following screen will give you the option of choosing where to install WAMP by Bitnami. I recommend creating a new folder in a unique location and installing it there. After clicking next again, you will be prompted for a password. This will become the root user’s password for MySQL and PHPMyAdmin.
The next screen will ask if you would like to launch WAMPstack in the cloud. I recommend removing this selection before moving on. Click next once more to activate the installation.
The installer may on occasion show a “not responding” message, or open command prompt windows. This not a cause for concern.
When the installation completes, leave the “launch Bitnami wampstack” option checked and click finish to launch the WAMPstack. A prompt will open asking if you wish to allow the program to make changes; click yes.
The window shown above will open; this is the Bitnami WAMP manager. If you click on the “Manage Servers” tab in the top left, you’ll see that both Apache and MySQL are running. This is where you can safely start and stop them using the buttons on the right. It’s important to note that you should always start Apache first and then MySQL, and stop them in reverse order. It should also be noted that any local websites you create will be inaccessible if both services are not running.
Return to the Welcome tab and click on Open PhpMyAdmin. A window will open in your default web browser which will prompt you to sign in as the root user. Input the password you used when setting up the wampstack, and proceed.
There will be a warning near the bottom of the page; click on Find out why and then click on Create in order to auto-create a test database. I strongly recommend also reading the documentation provided at this stage. Click on PHPmyAdmin in the upper left corner, and you will be returned to its main page, error free.
The next step is to create a new MySQL user and database, and then connect them to a fresh installation of WordPress.
How to Install WordPress Locally
In order to install WordPress locally, the first step is to create a new MySQL database and user.
Beginning from where you left off, click on the “Databases” on the upper left side of PHPMyAdmin’s main screen. Give your new database a unique, difficult to guess name, and then click on the Create button. The database has been created!
Click on the PHPMyAdmin logo to return to the home screen, and click on User accounts. Enter a unique username and select localhost as the host name. Enter and retype a strong password (or generate one and use it), and then scroll down and click on Go. The user has been created!
Make sure you take note of the database name, username, and password. The final step in PHPMyAdmin is to grant the user all privileges on the database. Click on User accounts again, and then the Database tab in the upper left to access database specific privileges. Select the correct database and click go. Select “check all” and then click Go. You have now created a MySQL database and user, and granted the user all privileges on that database.
Go to https://wordpress.org and click on Get WordPress in the upper right. This will take you to the download page where you can always get the latest version of WordPress. Download and unzip the file; it should give you a file folder called WordPress containing all of the files necessary to create a new installation.
Open up your WAMP installation folder and double click on apache2, and then htdocs. This is where your locally installed WordPress websites will live. Create a new folder and call it “localsites”, and create another new folder inside of it with the desired name of your website. Copy and paste all of the files from the WordPress folder into this new website folder.
Open your web browser of choice and navigate to localhost/localsites/nameofyoursitefolder. You will find yourself at the WordPress installation page.
Read the information here and then click on Let’s Go. Input the requested information in the image below, including a unique table prefix which ends with an underscore (_).
As long as everything works, you will be prompted to click through to a new page where you can enter the site title, a unique admin username and a strong password, and a working email address. I recommend always checking the noindex box so that search engines don’t begin crawling your site while it’s still in production (though this is irrelevant for locally hosted sites, it’s a good practice to assume).
You will be taken to a success page where you can click on Log in, and then enter your login information. This will take you to the dashboard of your brand new local installation of WordPress. Suddenly, the sky is the limit.
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