WordPress is the world’s most popular tool for creating websites. It is capable of creating any style of website, from a simple blog to a full-featured business website. You can even use WordPress to create an online store.
If you are aspiring to be a developer, WordPress is one of the few content management systems that you will find yourself learning. Most people who have never built a site find it very easy to get started with WordPress since with WordPress, you do not necessarily need any coding or design skills to get a professional website. There are millions of freely as well as premium themes available for download. You can simply get such a theme and change the appearance and content to match your prefered website design.
In this tutorial, we are going to cover how to install WordPress on a Windows machine using Xampp. We will cover two major topic;
- Installing Xampp on a Windows machine.
- Installing and getting started with WordPress on a Windows machine.
Step 1: Installing Xampp on Windows Machine
Xampp is cross-platform, Apache, MySQL, PHP, and Perl installation. It helps in setting up a local environment on a computer. Having a local environment set up on your computer is one of the best things you can do when running WordPress websites since you can easily test them before deploying them onto the live server. A local environment is also very secure since you are the only person with access to it, compared to a live server that is visible to everyone who can get an internet connection.
To install Xampp on your Windows machine, we are going to follow the following steps;
- Visit this link to download Xampp. Here, you will get links for Windows, Linux and Mac. Click on the Windows link to get the Windows installation.
- The Xampp installer will be downloaded to your Downloads folder. Wait until the download is complete then navigate to the Downloads folder. Assuming that you are logged into your computer as the administrator, double click on the download to start the installation.
- Click on the Yes button when a pop up window appears asking you whether you would like to allow the app to make changes to your computer. Clicking on the No button will cancel the installation.
- The installation process starts with the screen shown below. Click on the Next button at the bottom to continue.
- Clicking on Next above will take you to another window where you will be asked to select the components that you would like to install. By default, all the components will be selected. For WordPress to run well, you will need to have MySQL and Apache installed. You will also need phpMyAdmin for database management. You will notice that PHP and Apache are greyed out. These are automatically installed since they are essential in running the software. I am going to leave all the components selected and click on the Next button as shown below.
- Clicking on Next above will ask you where you would like to install Xampp. By default, the C:\xampp folder is selected. Select the folder you are happy to have Xampp running from then click on the next button.
- The next window will tell you more about Bitnami, which is a free installer for tools such as Joomla, Drupal and WordPress itself, among others. Choose to either untick or leave ticked the Learn More about Bitnami for Xampp checkbox. Note that if you leave it unticked, you can only install WordPress manually. If you leave it ticked, you can install WordPress using bitnami or manually.
- Xampp is now ready to install. Click on the Next button to start the installation process. When the installation is complete, you will be asked whether you would like to start the control panel that comes with Xampp. Check the box and click on the Finish button.
- If you followed the above steps and managed to install Xampp successfully, you should see the control panel. It opens with text updates just below it. If you get a red text, it means there is an error. Here is how mine looks like;
The most common errors that you are likely to find are port conflict errors. This mostly happens when there is another program on your machine using ports 443 and 80 which are used by Apache and MySQL to run. You will need to find which service is using these ports and stop it. You can either free the ports by stopping the services using them or by creating a new firewall rule to free the ports forcibly.
- The next step is to run Xampp. We will now go to the Xampp control panel and click on the start buttons for both Apache and MySQL and see if they will run successfully. You should also check the messages at the bottom to see if there are any errors. In my case, I have managed to get both Apache and MySQL running without any errors as shown below;
- Let us now check if our new local server is installed by visiting http://localhost in the browser. This should take you to a screen that looks like this;
We have now successfully installed Xampp on our Windows machine. The next step will be to install WordPress. But before then, we are going to set up a database for the WordPress installation.
Step 2: Installing and Getting Started with WordPress on a Windows Machine
2.1 Setting up the Database
WordPress needs a database setup. To do that, we are going to follow these steps;
- On the Xampp control panel, click on the admin button shown below, just beside the MySQL Stop button. This will open a phpMyAdmin tab on your browser.
- On the phpMyAdmin page, click on the Databases menu option at the top left, then enter a database name and click on the create button as shown below. I am going to call my database new_database.
- A database named new_database has been created. You can now close this tab.
2.2 Installing WordPress
We have now successfully installed Xampp and created a database named new_database. The next steps will involve downloading and setting up the WordPress installation.
- The first step will be to download the latest version of WordPress. We can do that by visiting the downloads page in WordPress here. Click on the download button to download it in a zipped format.
- After the download completes, you will need to navigate to your downloads folder to locate the download. Once you get it, you will need to move it to the correct folder in Xampp. Remember we selected an installation folder for Xampp when we were installing it? Navigate to that folder, then inside it, there is another folder called htdocs. Move the downloaded zipped WordPress to this folder.
- We are now going to extract the zipped folder here. Use a tool such as WinRAR, extract the WordPress zipped folder here into its own folder and give it a name of your choice. I am going to call mine new_WP.
- Let us now go to our new folder where we have the WordPress files extracted to. Here, we will find many files. We are going to look for a file named wp-config-sample and change its name to wp-config. This is the configuration file that we will get settings for our database.
- After renaming the file, open it using your favorite editor. We need to change the database settings to match the database we created earlier. Open the file and locate the following lines shown in the screenshot below;
- Replace the database_name_here with the name of the database we created earlier, replace username_here with root and leave the password_here blank. Note that the quotes (‘’) remain. In my case, I am going to have the following;
- After doing that, save the file and close it.
We are not set up and ready to begin the actual installation of WordPress. To start the final step, we are going to follow these steps;
- Open your browser and visit http://localhost/name-of-the-wordpress-folder where name-of-the-wordpress-folder is the name you gave to that folder inside htdocs where you extracted WordPress files to. In my case, I am going to visit http://localhost/new_WP. This will take you to a translation screen where you can select the installation language. I am going to select English in my case. Click on the Continue button at the bottom to continue.
- You will be taken to a welcome page which tells you about information that WordPress will need. We already have this information created on the wp-config file. Click on the Let’s Go button at the bottom to start the installation.
- You will be taken to another screen where you will need to match the above details with the ones you set up on the config.php file. Make sure that the details match. Once done, click on the Submit button at the bottom.
- On the next screen, click on Run the Installation button to finish up installing WordPress.
- The next step involves adding a few details for our website. These details include a site title, a username and password for admin access, and your email address. Provide these details as requested and click on the Install WordPress button at the bottom.
- You have now successfully installed WordPress and are ready to begin using it. You will get to this screen where you can click on the login button to get started.
Installing WordPress is that easy. Using WordPress is easier as well. I would recommend you play around with it before starting any major website development. You can start by learning how to install plugins, use a plugin to modify the login page and how to create a post in WordPress. Enjoy working with WordPress.