I will show you how to get WordPress running on your own computer using the Xampp software. This way you can get to know the system, try out templates and make adjustments.
Anyone who has ever dealt with the subject of web design knows that websites no longer consist of simple HTML code and a little CSS. In the past, a simple “Hello World” page was written with a few lines of HTML code, but today more sophisticated systems usually also require advanced knowledge. As soon as the new website has to be database-based, it is difficult to get ahead without PHP and MySQL knowledge. In the meantime, however, there are numerous so-called content management systems (CMS) on the software market, which are intended to make it easier for the user to maintain the website by separating content and design. TYPO3, Joomla and Drupal are among the best-known and most commonly used open-source CMS.
WordPress: modern websites, blogs and online shops
Another system has enjoyed particular popularity over the last few years: WordPress! More and more websites, both private and commercial, have the CMS as the engine under their hood. WordPress is free software licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPLv2), which means the source code is freely available to anyone. According to the developer, the focus of the system is easy customization, elegance, usability and compliance with web standards.
There is now a lively community that has developed numerous plug-ins, extensions and design templates in the form of templates and themes. This allows WordPress-based websites and web applications to be implemented for just about any imaginable purpose.
You can get an impression of what is possible with WordPress on the website http://www.awwwards.com/websites/wordpress/, which presents particularly successful WordPress sites.
Example of a successful WordPress website: The homepage for the film “Worlds Apart” http://www.worldsapartfilm.com/
The technical framework for WordPress is provided by the scripting language PHP and the database system MySQL, which manages all post data. A web server is therefore required for use, which acts as a runtime environment that allows both services to communicate with each other. Setting up such a server yourself can be very challenging. Fortunately, there is a comfortable and beginner-friendly alternative to set up such a system locally.
XAMPP: Local web server with Apache, PHP, Perl and MySQL
With the tools XAMPP a server environment can be created locally on your own computer with just a few clicks. XAMPP contains the Apache web server, the MySQL database and the scripting languages PHP and Perl. Instead of the X, you used to write L, M or W, distinguishing between LAMPP for Linux, MAMPP for Mac and WAMPP for Windows. Finally, to avoid confusion, a uniform program name was created.
The free program is particularly attractive for beginners who want to build a playground for a wide variety of web technologies – regardless of whether it’s about MySQL databases or programming PHP or Perl scripts. XAMPP also comes with all the web server requirements to make WordPress run on your own computer. A local installation offers the following advantages, among others:
- Modifying and testing themes, as well as HTML and CSS code adjustments, before committing those changes to the live environment
- Use as a personal database system, for example for your own photo collection, for project documentation or for a personal diary
- Export dynamically generated WordPress pages and posts as static HTML pages
Installing and setting up your personal WordPress development environment using Xampp is relatively straightforward. The biggest challenge for hobby programmers is probably adapting WordPress to their individual needs. Numerous free and paid templates and plug-ins are available for this purpose on various forum sites, including https://de.wordpress.org/themes/ and https://de.wordpress.org/plugins/.
As an example, I present you the basic installation of Xampp and WordPress for Windows systems, so that after successful setup you have your personal WordPress website to tinker with on your computer.
Instructions: WordPress on XAMPP
1. Download and install XAMPP
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First, download Xampp and double-click the file.
After successful installation, the Xampp welcome page can be called up in the browser at http://localhost/dashboard/.
The Xampp Welcome page.
By default, Xampp is saved as a separate root directory under C:/xampp. It contains files required by the program and information about Xampp as well as the subdirectory htdocs. All files to which Xampp should later have access must be located in this directory or a corresponding subfolder – more on this in step 3.
All files to which Xampp should later have access must be in the directory C:/xampp/htdocs or a corresponding subfolder. Here you create the subfolder for WordPress C:/xampp/htdocs/Wordpress and unpack the WordPress files there.
2. Creation of a database for WordPress via phpMyAdmin
Since WordPress requires a MySQL database, you must first create it: To do this, simply enter http://localhost/phpmyadmin/ in your browser and you will get to the phpMyAdmin configuration menu. To the right of the general settings you can see the web server information and the standard user information “User: root@localhost”, which you can manage and change under the “User accounts” tab. You can create a password for the MySQL area and directory protection for the XAMPP directory to protect your WordPress installation from unauthorized access.
You can now create a new database for WordPress via the “Databases” tab. You can choose any name such as “wordpress” and you only have to select utf8_general_ci for collation so that German special characters can also be used without any problems.
The database has been created.
3. Installing and setting up WordPress
After downloading WordPress, the zip file must first be unpacked. To do this, it is best to create and select a subfolder of the Xampp folder such as C:/xampp/htdocs/Wordpress and extract all WordPress data there. After unzipping the files, you can simply click on the readme.html file in the corresponding WordPress folder in Windows Explorer and an English-language website with information on the WordPress installation will open locally in your browser.
4. Setting up WordPress
Simply enter http://localhost/Wordpress/wp-admin/setup-config.php in your browser address bar (or click on the link). A web page opens with information about the “famous” 5-minute installation. Simply click on the first link in the text wp-admin/install.php and you will be taken to setting up the system.
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Simply click on the first link in the text wp-admin/install.php and you will be taken to setting up the system.
After successful installation, you will be taken to the WordPress welcome page. Here you can now assign a page title as well as a user name and password for administration access. After logging in, you can then access the developer area (backend) in the browser and see the corresponding version of the website (frontend).
After successful installation: Welcome to WordPress – a sample page (frontend).
After successful installation: The developer area of Wordpress – Dashboard (backend).
Now you can explore the system, change themes, make posts and set up your personal WordPress website according to your wishes and ideas. Have lots of fun with it!
You can find more information on the German WordPress support page https://de.wordpress.org/hilfe/.
➤ Download XAMPP now
➤ Download WordPress now
Do you already have experience with WordPress? Do you know the “best” themes and the most practical plug-ins? Share your knowledge in the comments!