I recently had a project that required an extensive amount of customization to a WordPress Theme. The following article describes how I setup a WordPress blog on my home computer to work through the changes on the theme.
The web site that was to be upgraded was already generating significant traffic. So using the conventional methods for updating a theme on a live site was out of the question. Especially since my changes were going to break something until I had tested them all. So my challenge was, how to setup a hosting service on my home computer with PHP, MySQL and all of the other bits and pieces necessary to run a self-hosted WordPress blog.
I introduce to you, XAMPP from Apache Friends.
XAMPP is a full distribution of an Apache web server complete with everything needed to run a website … and more to the point, a WordPress blog. Even better is the fact that it is available for Windows, Linux distributions, Mac OS X and Solaris.
Using it is simple:
- Download the appropriate package for your computers operating system
- Unzip (unpack) it to a directory of your choice
- Run the XAMPP control panel application
Ok, there is a little bit more configuration to do. But it is all clearly marked in the documentation and very simple. Once you have the control panel running, you can start and stop the MySQL server and the Apache Server as needed. To make sure the installation is setup correctly, start your browser and type “http://localhost/” in the address bar. If everything is running ok, you will be provided with a web based interface to change the configuration, add other services, and have a look at the demo programs provided.
After you have everything working, download the latest version of WordPress. Then extract WordPress to the root directory of the XAMPP distribution (usually the “htdocs” directory in the “xampp” folder. Follow the installation instructions just like you would for a normal installation on your web site and you have a self hosted WordPress blog ready to go on your home computer.
Now you can customize any of the themes in the WordPress theme folder, or use it to develop that new plug-in. Once you like what you see, and you have tested everything to make sure it works, simply upload the theme or plug-in directory to your live web site and try it out.
This provides you with a perfect environment to try out new things or learn a little bit about customizing WordPress. The best part is, if you break anything, you just delete the directory or overwrite it with the original contents from the zip file, and start again.
If you are having troubles with getting your XAMPP to work, feel free to contact us.