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Set Up Your Local Web Server
System Requirements for WordPress
- Database − MySQL 5.0 +
- Web Server −
- WAMP (Windows)
- LAMP (Linux)
- XAMP (Multi-platform)
- MAMP (Macintosh)
- Operating System − Cross-platform
- Browser Support − IE (Internet Explorer 8+), Firefox, Google chrome, Safari, Opera
- PHP Compatibility − PHP 5.2+
Setting up a Web Server (or Localhost) on your Personal Computer will save you a bunch of time. It is by far no easy feat, but once it’s installed, it’s a breeze to run and In fact, you’ll forget it’s even there. The great thing about running a localhost install is that your test site will run much more quickly than it otherwise would online.
A localhost install is also more secure and provides an ideal testing environment on your computer, away from prying eyes or hackers.
To run a Webserver on your Windows PC, you would need XAMPP.
What is XAMPP?
XAMPP stands for cross-platform, Apache, MySQL, PHP and Perl. It’s a simple and lightweight solution that allows you to create a local web server for testing purposes.
Since XAMPP is cross-platform, it also works on Mac and Linux, but today we’re going to focus on how to set up XAMPP on Windows 10.
WordPress isn’t a stand-alone application and requires server software in order to run. XAMPP provides the necessary environment needed to run WordPress on a local machine.
Go to the Apache Friends website and download XAMPP.
The XAMPP file is 109MB. Once downloaded, launch the installer.
During the install process, you may receive warnings such as Windows asking you if you’re sure you want to install the software and the installer prompting you about antivirus software. As you would when installing any software on Windows, use your best judgment, but you probably want to click “Yes” to continue with the install.
The XAMPP setup wizard will guide you through the installation. Click Next.
In the next window, you will be asked to select which components of the software you would like to install and which ones you don’t want. Some options, such as Apache and PHP are essential to running the software and will at automatically installed, so they are grayed out so you can’t select them.
It’s up to you which components you want to install. Since we want to run WordPress in our localhost environment, leave MySQL and phpMyAdmin checked and uncheck the remaining options.
Next, select the folder where you would like to install XAMPP on your machine. I’m going to create a new folder in C:\Program Files\XAMPP.
In the next window, you’ll be asked whether you would like to install Bitnami for XAMPP, which offers free tools for installing WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla! on top of XAMPP.
Since we’re going to install WordPress manually later in this tutorial and don’t need free installers, untick “Learn more about Bitnami for XAMPP” and click Next.
After going through all those initial installation steps, XAMPP is now finally ready to install. Click Next.
Once installed, you’ll be asked whether you would like to start the XAMPP Control Panel, which provides an interface for running your localhost environment. Leave this option ticked and click Finish.
The Control Panel will automatically open, but if you unchecked the option in the previous window, you can go to the XAMPP folder on your computer and open XAMPP Control Panel instead.
If the installation process went well and everything is running smoothly, the control panel will open with black and blue text updates at the bottom. But if there are issues…
… Well, look at that – red text! It looks like I’ve run into some errors already. Not to fear, it looks like a port conflict.
Fixing Port Errors
The main reason why XAMPP throws up errors like this is due to another program on your machine using ports 80 or 443 – the ports Apache and MySQL need in order to run.
If you’re using Windows 10, World Wide Web Publishing Service is most likely using post 80. This program, which is for Internet Information Services (IIS) for Windows® Server, comes pre-installed and if you’re not using it, you can simply stop the service running on your machine or even delete it.
To stop the service running, do the following:
- Go to Start, type in “services.msc” and select the best match
- Scroll down in the Services window to find World Wide Web Publishing Service
- Right-click on it and select Stop
- This should free up port 80. When you restart XAMPP it should run without errors
If that doesn’t resolve the issue, you can set up a new firewall rule to forcibly unblock the ports:
- Open Windows Firewall on your machine and > click on Advanced Settings on the left
- Click on Inbound on the left, then on the far right click New Rule
- Click Port and then TCP. In the field below for Specific Ports type in “80, 443” and click Next
- Check Allow the Connection then click Next
- Make sure all options are checked and click Next
- In the name field, enter whatever you want, but for the sake of consistency let’s type in LOCALHOST1. Click Finish
- Now repeat steps 1-6, but name this new rule LOCALHOST2 and click Finish
- Restart your computer
Ports 80 and 443 should now be open locally on your computer.
I should also mention at this stage that if you get any security/firewall warnings while installing or using XAMPP (such as the prompt pictured below), make sure you check “Private networks, such as my home or work network” and click “Allow access.” This is very important. If you don’t allow access, XAMPP won’t work.
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Now, let’s see if everything works smoothly.
If you previously quit the control panel to fix a port issue, restart XAMPP. Then start up both Apache and MySQL.
You have no idea how happy I am to see both Apache and MySQL working, or maybe you do!
Both services are running fine. Excellent!
You can check if your new local server is installed by visiting http://localhost in your browser.
Woohoo! Successfully set up.