How to set up WordPress on Your Local Computer Using WAMP

WAMP is a web server that runs on your local machine. It comes with Apache, PHP, and MySQL that is configured to run specifically on Windows machines. It’ll let you build your PHP based website with ease. In our case, we’ll be setting up WordPress with WAMP as our local server to serve up the pages.

How it all works

When you download WAMP, you are setting your computer up to be a local server. What this means is that when you request a webpage from a web address beginning with localhost, you will be directed to the server on your machine.

With WAMP, your server runs on Apache – a software that makes the server possible – and renders your PHP code. Your PHP may make connections to a MySQL database that you’ve set up and return relevant data based on the code query.

Your WordPress code and set up will sit in the PHP box for the diagram below.

Part 1: Setting up WAMP

For this tutorial, we’ll be using WAMP because its a stack that is specifically designed for Windows machines.

Step 1

Go to wampsever.com, scroll down to the downloads area and hit the download button based on your computer’s processor bit. There are two options available – 32-bit and 64-bit.

The difference between these two numbers is based on your CPU hardware. A 64-bit is expected to work more efficiently has it can process more data. If you’re unsure what CPU bit is, you can find this out by right-clicking on the start icon, select System and it should bring up a screen that tells you your computer’s specifications.

Quick skim: How to find out if computer is 32 or 64 bit

right click on Windows’ start icon –> select System –> look for Specifications section

Step 2

Once the download is complete, run the .exe file you just saved. Select your desired language.

Agree to the terms and conditions.

Once that’s done, it’ll come up with a screen that tells you what WAMP is going to do when it sets up the local server on your computer. You can click next on this too.

It will then ask you to confirm the location of the installation. By default, it’ll suggest the C drive. If you want it somewhere else, you’ll need to change it here. In most cases, the C drive is perfectly fine.

After you click next, it will ask you to confirm the start menu folder. In this case, it’ll create a new folder for you. If you want it in a different folder, you’ll need to click browse and select from the pop up that comes up.

When all that is done, it will come up with a final confirmation screen that looks something like this.

Once you click next, it’ll begin the installation process on your computer.

It will then prompt you for two more things – your default browser and text editor. I decided to go with Chrome on mine because I’m better at debugging on Chrome than on IE. For my text editor, I opted out from the default notepad and went with Visual Studio Code.

Once you’ve finished dealing the prompts, the installation will continue its final few seconds and then come up with a screen that looks something like this.

And viola! You’ve finally finished installing WAMP.

Now that you have it all set up, you can start up the server by looking at your icon tray. When you click on the WAMP logo, something like this should pop up and allow you to start your local server services.

If you start your services now, you can check that everything is in order by going to localhost in your browser. A webpage looking like this should pop up without any issues.

Part 2: Setting Up WordPress

Step 1: Install the WordPress files on your local server

Go to wordpress.org/downloads to get your download package from WordPress. We’re going to wordpress.org because this is the non-commercial and open-source part of WordPress. WordPress.com is a separate and different entity from WordPress.org

When you click download, it will give you a zip file.

Open up a folder window and navigate to where you installed WAMP. If you didn’t change the default location, it should be in the C drive under the name wamp64.

Navigate into the www folder, create a new folder and extract the contents of your WordPress zip file into this folder. It will give you a nested folder that looks something like this:

wordpress-x.x.x > wordpress

You just need the contents inside the wordpress folder. What I usually do is select all the files inside this folder and paste it at the root level of the folder I just created. This is because your localhost address will take on the folder structure as its navigation.

So rather than having to type out localhost/yourfoldername/wordpress-x.x.x/wordpress every time, you can just type out localhost/yourfoldername in the address bar instead.

original folder structure
New folder structure

Now when you type in localhost/yourfoldername into your browser’s address bar, you should see the WordPress set up page come up. You can also access this via the localhost homepage, under Your Project section.

But before you can proceed, you’re going to need to set up your database.

Step 2: Setting up the database for WordPress in WAMP

Go to localhost/phpmyadmin/ in your browser. You will encounter a phpMyAdmin login page. Your username is root and there is no password required.

Once in, you’ll encounter a console page that looks something like this:

Click on the Databases tab and it will navigate you to a page where you’ll have the option to create a new database.

Give your database a name. Make sure you select utf8mb4_general_ci from the encoding dropdown.

Once you click create, the admin console will create an empty database for you.

Navigate to User Account tab and create a new user with a password you will remember. You can use whatever name you want for the username. I’ve just used wordpress so it’s easy to remember. Grant this new user all privileges. Scroll down to the bottom and click on the little go to create the new user.

What the end screen looks like if the user creation process has been successful.

Now that you have your database set up, you can now connect it up to your WordPress installation.

Part 3: Putting it all together

Rember this screen? Go back to it. (remember, it’s located at localhost/yourfoldername) Click continue.

Once you click continue, it will present you with this screen. Since you’ve already created the database, you can click Let’s go! to proceed.

I named my database mockTest when I created it. You’ll need to fill in the details based on the database you’ve just created. The username and password is the one that you’ve just created and granted all privileges to.

If everything goes well, WordPress will present you with this screen.

Once you’ve run the installation, WordPress will give you a screen asking you for your website details. You can change this later if you want. Because it’s on your local computer, you don’t need to have a crazy username and password pair.

Once you hit the install button and everything goes smoothly, you’ll be presented with this screen.

And that’s it! If you go to your localhost/yourfoldername again, you’ll be greeted with a default theme installation of WordPress. If you go to localhost/yourfoldername/wp-admin, you’ll be able to log in and use WordPress as per usual like a normal user.

I am currently embarking on a Prototype Year to experiment my way into a life I want. This space is for documenting that journey.

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