Create a Local Development WordPress Site using WAMP on your PC or MAMP on your Mac
Building a professional WordPress site that represents your business or personal brand takes time and hard work. Many beginners start by publishing a live site and editing it as they go along. That approach often looks sloppy to anyone who might prematurely stumble upon it. It can also have a hugely negative impact on SEO.
Search engines will typically find and index new content (posts and/or pages) on your WP site quickly. However, it can take weeks or even months to re-index updated content meaning that when your site is complete, the search results may still reflect your initial shoddy content. Therefore, to avoid SEO troubles and projecting an unprofessional image you should make sure your design and content is perfectly optimized before pushing the site to a live domain.
The best practice is to create a local development site on your computer using a program that replicates server software (e.g. mySQL) and moving it to a live server when it’s finished. Your computer and browser can handle the display of HTML and CSS just fine on their own but to run scripts like PHP and utilize mySQL databases (both of which WordPress is based on) you will need additional software. Therefore, in this tutorial we will walk you through setting up a local development server on your PC using the WAMP application and for Mac users we’ll show you how to do it with MAMP. Let’s start with setting up a local WordPress site on your PC with WAMP.
Setting up a Local Development WordPress Site on your PC with WAMP
Step 1: Begin by downloading WAMP
Here’s the link to… download WAMP
When you click the download link the installation process will begin and you’ll be redirected to sourceforge.net (Sourceforge is a trusted resource for software so you need not worry about viruses). > When the WAMP download process is complete, launch and click through the installer using the default settings. > Open the WAMP application.
Note: the application rests in your system tray, it does not open a new window
Step 2: Create a directory for your site
Create a folder in C:\wamp\www to house your sites files. The directory name does not matter.
Step 3: Download WordPress.org
Visit WordPress.org and download the most recent version. > Extract the files and copy them to the folder you created in step 2.
To create a mySQL database for your site open an internet browser and visit http://localhost (This is where your website lives). > Under “Your Aliases” click “phpmyadmin.” > Next click “Databases” from the top menu. > Enter in a name for your database and click create.
Note: For security reasons do not use “wordpress” for your database name. Also, if you are managing more than one site make sure the name is descriptive.
Step 5: Configure WordPress
Visit localhost again and click “Create a Configuration File.” > Enter the name of the database you created. > Use “root” for the username and do not enter anything in the password field. > Leave the “Database Host” and “Table” Prefix alone. > Click “Submit” and your browser will prompt you to install WordPress. > Install WP as you normally would.
Watch our tutorial video below to learn how to create a local WordPress site with WAMP…
Step 1: Begin by downloading MAMP
Here’s the link to… download MAMP
When the download is complete, launch the installer by double clicking the MAMP icon in your downloads folder (it may launch automatically) and run through the installation process.
Step 2: Configure MAMP
When the installation is complete, launch MAMP from your applications folder. > To begin, hit the “Start Servers” button. > This turns the servers on and will automatically direct you to the admin page. > From the admin page, select “phpMyAdmin” from the menu. > Select the “Databases” tab and create a new database.
Note: The database name can be what ever you like, but if you plan to manage multiple sites it should be descriptive.
Step 3: Download and Install WordPress.org
Go to WordPress.org and download the most recent version. > Extract the files and copy all of them (not the directory itself, just the files within) over to your MAMP server’s folder.
Note: By default this will be located at Applications > MAMP > HTDOCS (although you can make this any destination through MAMP’s preferences.)
Fire up an internet browser and type “localhost:8888” in the bar and hit enter. > You will receive a WordPress error. > Don’t be alarmed this is a good error! It is looking for a wp-config file which in previous versions of WordPress you would have to manually configure by editing the PHP files. > WordPress will create and modify the file for you. > The process is now automated and much simpler.
Step 4: Click “Create a Configuration File”
Follow the instructions on screen by gathering the necessary data. > Your database name is what ever you chose. > The username and password are both “root,” the database host is “localhost” and the table prefix is _wp.
Step 5: Click “Let’s Go”
Most of the fields will auto-fill with the correct data. You should only have to change the username and password. Remember, do not make these up, they are automatically created when you create the database. > Click “Run the Install.”
Step 6: Configure WordPress
From here it’s your standard WordPress installation. Name your site, create a secure username, tell it your email and click install. You can access the site through any browser while your MAMP servers are running at “localhost:888” and login at “localhost:8888/wp-admin.”
Now that your WordPress site is up and running on your local machine, you’re able experiment with designs and content without negatively impacting your reputation or SEO score. Having a local installation is also a great way to practice using and experimenting with different languages. Try learning CSS and PHP without fear of permanently altering or possibly ruining all your hard work. Practice makes perfect and a local installation of WordPress is the best way to build a professional site.