February 4, 2020 at 4:03 pm #85169OghenemarhoParticipant@oghenemarho
WordPress is a content management system built on some of the most common web technologies. It provides a platform that allows anyone to create and host digital content on the web. Its ease of use and accessibility has made it so popular for building websites, that today it is currently being used by over 60 million of the websites available on the internet, and in over thirty percent (30%) of the top 10 million websites around the world.
Originally, WordPress was released as a blog publishing platform in 2003, but it evolved over the years to include features that made WordPress blogs comparable to regular websites and eventually people took advantage and used it to build full-fledged websites. As it stands today, the WordPress platform can be used to build anything from a social networking site to a learning management system.
The most impressive part of WordPress is that even with all its advanced functionality, it is still relatively easy to use and doesn’t require a degree in Computer Science or any advanced web design skills to put up a WordPress website. This means that it’s usually the preferred choice for regular people looking to build their own website, either for business or personal use.
If you happen to fall into this category of people, then there are quite a few ways to go about building your WordPress website. One popular method involves building the website on your own local computer and when you’re done, transferring everything to a live web server. Today we will be looking at the first step involved in this method, which is setting up your computer to run a WordPress installation.
Why Develop Locally?
There are several reasons why I recommend building your WordPress website on your local computer rather than on a live web server but the most important one is the speed and flexibility that you have. With everything running on your own system, every change you make to the website design is instant without being hampered by the speed of your connection. Also, in the course of development, you can test features on your local version before pushing them to the live version of your site.
So how do exactly do you setup your computer to become a hosting platform for WordPress development? Here are the steps you need to follow:
Getting Started: Local Server Software Deployment
In this case, by local server software I mean an application that will make your computer function in a way that is similar to how the live servers that host websites perform. Installing and configuring these types of applications will turn your computer into what’s known as a localhost.
The major requirements for a WordPress hosting server are Apache HTTP server, an SQL database and the PHP programming language. There are quite a few local server software that contain this collection of software tools required for hosting WordPress locally and some of them depend on which operating system you run on your computer. Some examples include MAMP (for MacOS), LAMP (for Linux operating systems), XAMPP (for Windows, Linux and MacOS), Local, Bitnami, among others.
For this instance, we will be using WAMP which is compatible with Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. WAMP contains the core technologies required to host a WordPress website and by installing WAMP on your computer, you can simulate a typical web hosting server.
Visit the WAMP website at http://www.wampserver.com/en/ and download the 64-bit version of WAMP Server using the link at the bottom of the homepage.
Once the download is completed, locate the file in your Downloads folder and double click it to start the install process. Click ‘yes’ for the Windows User Account Control popup and select English in the language menu that appears. Then follow the instructions, clicking next where necessary to move the installation along.
Be sure to select the right directory where you want your web files to be stored. You can leave it as the default (usually C:\wamp64) or specify something different.
In the select components window, also leave things as they are with the default installation setting.
Allow the installation to run its course and during the process, you will be asked if you want to leave Internet Explorer as the default browser for WAMP Server. You definitely want to choose another browser because Internet Explorer doesn’t handle the rendering of modern websites very well.
I’d recommend going with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as the default. This will require you navigating to the folder where the launcher for your preferred browser is located. In the case of Google Chrome is file location is C>Program Files (x86) >Google>Chrome>Application>Chrome.exe
You will also be asked about using Notepad as the default text editor for WAMP Server. This is fine unless you have a different application you prefer, such as Notepad++ in which case you can set it as the default.
Once the installation process is complete, go to the Start Menu on your desktop and navigate to the Wampserver64 folder and click on the Wampserver Icon. This should launch the application and you will know it’s running by looking for a green version of the Wampserver icon that will be the taskbar.
If the icon isn’t green, it probably means one of the services meant to be run by the application hasn’t started yet. If this is the case, give it some time and if it still remains another color (red or orange) then click on the icon and select ‘Restart All Services’.
To confirm that you localhost server is running as it should, open up your web browser of choice and in the address bar type in http://127.0.0.1/. This web address is known as the IPv4 loopback address and is used to access network services running locally on a host computer. If everything is configured correctly, then you should see the WampServer homepage which details your server configuration.
There’s a lot of info here that might be confusing, but we can ignore them for now. This just confirms that our localhost server is up and running perfectly and our development environment is fully set up and ready for a WordPress installation. This next step is what we will cover in the next part of this series.
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