Today I’m brought to you by the letter “I”. I is for irony. Why irony and not something fierce like Intercontinental Ballistics Missile? Because I’m going to give you the steps to install WordPress.org on your PC.
WordPress.com is fantastic, it allows me to share these words of wisdom (as I like to think of them) with all you on The Interwebs. I get to do it stylishly and even give you feeds of my Twitter and GoodReads accounts automagically. But the .com iteration is limited. You can’t install plugins or edit the CSS. Most of the time this is okie dokie. But you really can’t build an entire website and have it customizable without using WordPress.org. I should know, my library’s website is built using WordPress.org. (http://wilmlibrary.org)
And that’s why I investigated how to install WordPress.org on a PC. Our website is hosted on a server and I don’t have much control on said server; and rightly so. But I wanted to test out upgrades of themes and plugins on our site and to do so, I needed a test site. So I saw this chance to broaden my skills and install in on a PC in my office. Here’s where the irony comes in: I want to set up a local web site that no one can access. And here’s how I took my ball and went home, so to speak.
I. Install WAMPServer
WAMP stands for Windows Apache MySql PHP. And this bundle installs the last 3 services. The more common bundle is LAMP, which uses Linux in the stead of Windows. But I’m more comfortable working with Windows, so I went with WAMP. Man, that’s just fun to say…WAMP!
You’ll want to go to http://wampserver.com/en/ make sure you go to the /en/ part because the bundle was developed by a French dude and I don’t know about you, but I can’t read French well enough to follow along.
Scroll down to the Downloads section of the page and click the WAMPSERVER (64 bits & PHP 5.6.15 & PHP 7) button
Then click the download directly link at the end of the first paragraph. You’ll be redirected to the SourceForge Project page.
Click Save when the dialog box pops up. This is a large file, so it’ll take a few minutes to download. Whistle a happy tune whilst waiting.
When it finishes, double-click the file
Click OK to choose English
Click the circle next to I accept…
Click Next to start the install
At this point, you’ll need to verify you have all the versions of Visual C++, so scroll down and click each of the links under the Visual C++ Packages section. There’s a lot of them. Hey, I never claimed this would be straight forward. You’ll need each of the packages. I tried skipping one and it failed on me.
For the sake of space, for this is going to be a looooong post, I’m going to skip detailing each C++ step. Suffice it to say there is a lot of clicking Download and Run and Next happening. If you get prompted to uninstall, that means you’ve already got it and you can skip that one. Also if you have a choice to download multiple files, do them all. As you install the first file, the second file’s Save As… button will be greyed out until the first file’s install is done. One more thing you might be asked to do is reboot. Wait until you finish installing WAMP then reboot. That way you can take care of multiple needs to reboot at once. So go ahead and do all that. I’ll wait.
NOTE: Going back through this doc, the last link didn’t work. So here are the direct links in case you run into something similar:
— VC9 Packages (Visual C++ 2008 SP1)
— VC10 Packages (Visual C++ 2010 SP1)
— VC11 Packages (Visual C++ 2012 Update 4)
The two files VSU4\vcredist_x86.exe and VSU4\vcredist_x64.exe to be download are on the same page: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30679
— VC13 Packages] (Visual C++ 2013)
The two files VSU4\vcredist_x86.exe and VSU4\vcredist_x64.exe to be download are on the same page: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40784
— VC14 Packages (Visual C++ 2015 Update 3)
The two files vcredist_x86.exe and vcredist_x64.exe to be download are on the same page:https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=48145
All set? Good.
Click Next, to choose an install location.
Click Next to specify a folder name
Click Install, to, y’know, install the thing
Click No to use Internet Explorer. You can always change it later and I usually end up doing so, but I find IE to be a good browser with which to test as it tends to be quite cranky.
Click No to use notepad.exe as a text editor. Again, you can always change later to notepad ++, which I strongly suggest you get.
You may get prompted to allow firewall access to Apache, if you do, Click Allow access (duh).
Click Next to install phpMyAdmin
Now reboot to finish configuring all these changes.
Double-click the pink W on your desktop to launch WAMP
Now you’ll have a W near the system time. It will change from Red to Green as all the services start.
Now, you might as well reboot if you were asked during one (or more) of the C++ installs.
II. Creating the DB
Click the Green W
Note: If you get a blank page in IE when trying to load phpMyAdmin, just copy the link into FireFox (if you don’t have FireFox, get it, here.)
Type root in the Username: field
Click Go, to login. Don’t worry about a password. By default, it’s blank. If this were on a remote server, you’d definitely want to change that. But I’m not worrying because the PC is in my office.
Click Databases at the top. It’ll be next to SQL
Click the Database Name text box under Create Database
Type a dB name. For me, I wanted this to be a backup of my current website, so I had to make sure I named the dB the same or else pointers wouldn’t be actually pointing to the right things.
Click Server:Local Databases to be brought back to the main page.
Click User accounts
Click Add user account
Type a User Name:, Password, and then Re-type: the password
Note: If you’re going to be importing an existing dB to act as a backup copy of a site, you’ll want to make sure this User is the same as in your production dB.
Click the Check all box below to give the user all the permissions. You’ll need this ID created when you go to install the WordPress dB
Scroll all the way down to the bottom and click Go on the lower right
III Download WordPress.org
Click the Green W
Click www directory, because that’s where you’re going to want to download the WordPress files.
Go to http://wordpress.org
Click Download WordPress
Note: If this is to show you how to duplicate an existing site, you’ll want to use the same version as your current site so that testing will be accurate.
Click the Download WordPress ### (the version may be different than what’s in the screenshot). on the next page because they really want you to buy some server space from one of their web hosting partners.
Note: If you’re looking for an older version, like me, you’ll want to go to https://wordpress.org/download/release-archive/. If you’re unsure what version you’re on, go to your site, right-click, chose View Page Info, and it’ll be one of the generator tags.
Open your download location to get to the zip file
Right-click said zip file
Click Extract All…
Navigate to your www directory. See the window you opened earlier in this section if you don’t remember.
Click the Green W
Click Localhost to open the WAMP Configuration Page
Type wordpress after localhost in the address bar to start the WordPress install
Click Continue to do the setup in English
Read the page, then click Let’s go!
Type a Database Name, Username, and Password. Again, for me, this is a backup so I needed to make sure I had all the names the same as the production backup. If you’re in this boat and are not sure what your info is, open your wp-config.php file on your current web site’s server to find it. If you’re creating a new one, it’s dealer’s choice what goes in these fields
After you get called sparky, click Run the install
Type a Site Title, Username, Password, and email. The auto-generated password is impossible to remember, which I suppose is the point. But unless you have a plugin like LastPass that will securely store and then auto-fill, you’re going to have trouble logging in. So I suggest changing it to something you can remember here.
Click Install WordPress
Click Log in
Type the username & password you used when installing
Click Log in
And then you should be taken to your Dashboard.
Now you’ve got a fulling functional locally installed WordPress site. There’s one more thing you should do; make sure WAMP starts automatically. There’s nothing worse than going to troubleshoot a site, only to have to troubleshoot your test setup.
IV Set the WAMP services to start Automatically
And that’s it…if you’re just looking to get started with WordPress.org. If you’re looking to copy the files from your production site to this site, continue on.
Go to Start > All Programs and expand Wampserver64
Drag and Drop Wampserver84 into the Startup Folder
Now every time you log into the PC, WAMP will startup automagically.
If you’re just looking to start with WordPress, congrats, you’re done. If you’re looking to create a backup copy of a production site, you’ve got a few more steps. Carry on below…
V Copy the dB
Go to the current site’s cPanel
Type your Username and Password
Click Log in
Scroll down and double-click phpMyAdmin
Click your production dB on the left
Click the export button at the top
On you local machine, log into http://localhost/phpmyadmin
Note: If you already have a dB with the production dB name, because you’ve done this process before but are revisiting this page to refresh your memory, before you move onto the next step you want to click the check mark next to the production dB and then click Drop
Type the name of your production dB
Click Choose File (alternatively, this may say browse)
Navigate to and click the sql file you exported
Scroll down and click Go
VI Copy the Files
Connect to your current site via Filezilla
Navigate to the www/wordpress/ directory in the Left Pane
Delete all files in the local directory
Click in the Right Pane
Hit Ctl+A to select all the files and folders
Drag and Drop all the files to the Left Pane
Note: Depending on the number of files, this transfer could take a few hours.
VII Change the dB Pointers
Click the wp_options table of the copied production DB in http://Localhost/PhpMyAdmin
You may have to click the > to go to the next page of tables to find the wp_options table
Double-Click the option_value column in the the siteurl
Type http://localhost/wordpress to tell the DB to look locally, not at the production site
Note: Make sure it’s not https. I’ve had problems with not being able to load any images or subpages because I had https when my localhost didn’t support it.
Repeat with the home value
Find the permalink_structure key and delete the option_value
Close all browser windows to refresh the browser cache and restart the WAMP services as well.
Go to http://localhost/wordpress and go to random pages to ensure everything is in order.
And you can now update plugins or the WordPress version to make sure such updates don’t break the site. If they don’t that means to can safely update the production site.