Ever wondered if you could install WordPress locally on your Windows computer? Want to learn WordPress without having to purchase a domain name and hosting? Want to complete all your website development locally before transferring it to your live site?
To answer the first question, you can install WordPress locally on your Windows computer. And this article will explain step-by-step how to install WordPress on your Windows computer using WAMP.
WAMP is free software that you can install on your Windows computer that can create a similar development environment as your live website. This allows you to develop your website on your local computer before uploading it to a live environment.
Before we dwell on the nitty-gritty of how to install WordPress on your Windows computer, let us understand why we might need to do it in the first place.
A very frequently asked question from newbie website developers is if there is a possibility of practicing WordPress for free, without having to invest in a domain name and hosting.
You can practice WordPress, for free, without having to spend any money whatsoever.
One of the easiest ways to do that is to install WAMP on your computer and install WordPress there. Then you can mess around as much as you like without impacting any live websites or spending any money.
Another reason to install WordPress locally would be to complete the development of your website separately from the live version of that site. You could complete developing the website, install themes and plugins, test the website and have a bug free website ready before you transfer the files to the live site.
Installing WordPress to your local computer ensures you have a working model of the website on the live server from day one. It is a great option when you’d like to test the functionality locally before the world gets to see your website.
And yes, there are free options too, such as WordPress.com. You also have some hosting service providers that offer free hosting.
But take it from someone who’s tried all these free options. In addition to dealing with poor uptime, connectivity and non-existent customer support, these free options don’t allow you to exploit all the features and functionalities that WordPress has to offer.
Thus, if you’d like to learn how to create websites using WordPress without having to invest in a domain and hosting, I would suggest installing WordPress on your Windows computer.
Having said that, if you’d like to create a WordPress website after purchasing a domain name and hosting, this article on How to Make a WordPress Website should help you.
To create a website locally, the first step would be to set up a server on our local computer. And that’s what we use WAMP for. It provides everything WordPress needs to operate within an easy to use program.
Before WAMP, we would have to download two separate applications. The web server application, and the database. Each has its installation procedures and you have to run them independently to start working on your website.
And if you are starting, here’s a heads-up. It can be overwhelming to newcomers and not to mention technical too. Before you know it you have spent a couple of hours figuring out and setting up the environment, even before you have even begun developing the website!
WAMP makes it much easier to set up a local web server on your computer and run the applications and services required to run WordPress and create sites locally.
Before we go ahead and install WAMP and WordPress on our Windows computer, let’s look at what a local web server is. Or in networking terminology, what localhost is.
Localhost literally means your own computer. It’s a mechanism used to simulate the internet from within your computer. Using a special configuration, WAMP or programs like it, can act as a real website while installed on your computer.
The localhost is used to access the network services, such as directory, database, email, files, printers, that are running on the host via the loopback network interface.
Loopback is a way of convincing your browser it is talking to an internet device while it is really talking to another program on your computer. It does this by looping back the internet traffic from inside your operating system instead of sending it out over the internet
For example, a locally created WordPress website may be accessed from the browser by the URL ‘http://localhost’.
As is the case with any domain name, the localhost also has an IP (Internet Protocol) address. The IP addresses range from 127.0.0.0 to 127.255.255.255. The loopback address, however, has a default IP of 127.0.0.1.
Do you know how to check your IP address?
Simple, just type out ‘what is my IP address’ on Google.
Another option is by going into the Command prompt from the Windows Start menu and typing out ‘ipconfig’.
Coming back to our article, typically, when you type an IP address, you are trying to connect to a remote computer over the internet.
For example, when typing wpastra.com in a web browser it directs you to Astra’s web server and Astra’s main page.
However, with the loopback address, you are calling the localhost, i.e., your computer.
For this article on how to install WordPress on your Windows computer, we will go ahead and set up our local server using WAMP.
Ok, so we now know what localhost is. But, why do we need a localhost?
WordPress is written using PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor). Just like WordPress, PHP is also open-source and is a widely-used programming and scripting language to create dynamic and interactive websites.
To ensure your WordPress website functions properly, you require a database. The database stores information such as user profiles, blog articles, product details, and everything you see on your site.
The database used is MySQL.
MySQL is a DBMS (Database Management System) that is used by WordPress to store and retrieve all your website information. Again, just like WordPress and PHP, MySQL is open-source.
For the sake of brevity, open-source software is where the source code is made freely available and it may be redistributed and modified to best suit your requirements.
To run PHP and MySQL which is required to run your WordPress website, you require a web server.
Yes, you’ve guessed it.
WAMP, or WAMPSERVER, allows you to install WordPress on your computer, act as localhost, and allows you to build and configure your website without requiring a web host.
WAMP is a completely free and easy to install software package that helps you set up a local web server environment to run WordPress on your computer and have it act as though it’s on the internet
Visit the WAMP website.
You will notice there are two download versions. ‘WAMPSERVER 64 BITS (X64) 3.2.0’ and ‘WAMPSERVER 32 BITS (X64) 3.2.0’.
How do you know which version to download? The ‘64 Bits’ or the ‘32 Bits’?
As shown in the above image, you will find the ‘System type’ information. And as indicated, we will download the 64-bit version.
Download the ‘WAMPSERVER 64 BITS (X64) 3.2.0’ version.
You will be directed to an external website.
If you would like to make any changes to your settings, i.e., change the destination folder, or select or remove components, you could do so at this stage by clicking on ‘Back’.
Upon successful installation, you will find the above window. Click on ‘Finish’.
How do you know if WAMP has been successfully installed?
If the WAMPSERVER’s icon colour is green, it means your local web server is working fine.
If the colour is red, it means the server isn’t running and is offline. You would need to start the WAMPSERVER.
Likewise, if the colour is orange, as shown in the image above, it means the server is partially running, i.e. one of your services may not be running.
And if you faced any issues while installing WAMP, I’ve listed some of the common installation issues and its solutions towards the end of this article, under troubleshooting.
Check the various services, such as Apache, PHP, MySQL, to see if they are running. You can choose to ‘Start All Services’, ‘Stop All Services’, or even ‘Restart All Services’.
If you find yourself on this page, great! You have successfully installed WAMP on your Windows computer.
Now that we have installed WAMP on our local Windows computer, the next step is to install WordPress.
Download the latest version of WordPress (currently 5.5.3) from WordPress.org.
As shown in the image above, the contents of the file have been extracted to a folder ‘wordpress-5.5.3’. If you have downloaded a different version of WordPress, the folder will be named accordingly.
Now, copy the ‘wordpress’ folder. This folder contains all the files required to create a WordPress website.
Under WAMP, you will notice the ‘www’ folder.
Once you have transferred the folder into ‘www’, you can rename the folder to that of your choice. Typically, you can name it as the website you are creating.
For example, I’ve renamed the folder to ‘wpastra’, as shown in the image above.
Now, to access your WordPress website and to verify if the installation has gone through without any errors, type the URL ‘http://localhost/<wordpress-folder>’ in the web browser. Where ‘<wordpress-folder>’ is the name of the folder you’ve entered.
Which in my case will be ‘http://localhost/wpastra’.
Select the language of your preference and click on continue.
And how exactly do we get the details of the database?
Well, that is where our final step comes into play.
Enter the ‘Username’ as ‘root’ and keep the ‘Password’ blank. Then, click on ‘Go’.
On the left-hand side, you will notice several existing database names.
For example, I’ve created a database called ‘wpastra’.
To begin, enter the name of the database you just created under ‘Database Name’.
As for the ‘Username’, enter the same as ‘root’. And the ‘Password’ field can be left empty. Leave the remaining two fields, i.e., ‘Database Host’ and ‘Table Prefix’, as the default values. Which are ‘localhost’ and ‘wp_’ respectively.
You should now reach the following page. If you have, well then, your connections to the database are working just fine!
Key in the ‘Site Title’, the ‘Username’, the ‘Password’ and ‘Your Email’.
As is shown in the image above, I’ve keyed in the required fields.
And you will get to see your WordPress login screen.
Great! You are on the WordPress dashboard. You have installed WordPress on your Windows computer using WAMP.
You can access your website by entering in the URL, which for this example is ‘http://localhost/wpastra’.
Go ahead, install your themes, the plugins, test the complete functionalities, and create your WordPress website on your Windows computer. The local installation works the same as a hosted version.
If you have faced any issues while installing WAMP and WordPress, you are not alone. I’ve faced an issue every time I’ve installed WAMP on my Windows computer.
For example, there were missing ‘.DLL’ files, namely the ‘msvcp120.dll’ and the ‘msvcp110.dll’, while creating this article.
If you have faced the same issue, you could try downloading the ‘.DLL’ files using the following links.
And where do you save the ‘.DLL’ files?
Save the ‘.DLL’ file into your ‘C:WindowsSystem32’ folder.
WAMP also uses some Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Packages to run.
At the end of the WAMP installation, if your software doesn’t launch, it might be because you don’t have the Microsoft Visual C++ libraries installed on your computer. If so, services such as Apache, PHP, and MySQL won’t run.
Use these links to download and install the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package based on your operating system.
- Install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package x86 (For Windows 32 BIT)
- Install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package x64 (For Windows 64 BIT)
If WAMP still doesn’t work, you may have to try installing the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2012 Update 4.
You could also check out the WAMP forums for more help on installing WAMP and WordPress on your computer.
If you would like to install WordPress on your Windows computer and test its functionality before making the site live, it is a good practice to set up WordPress locally. It lets you install WordPress and experiment as you see fit without impacting real websites.
And now that we have walked you through installing WAMP and WordPress on your Windows computer, you can learn, experiment, and be as creative as you like!
We’d like to hear from you. Do let us know if you’ve been able to set up your WordPress site on your Windows system using the steps mentioned above.