Hard Out Here for a Blogger

 

This site can be a challenge to maintain.

WordPress, the software that powers this blog, is a web application written in PHP with a MySQL backend. The nice thing about it is that it’s free and enjoys popular development of a lot of themes and widgets. The bad thing about it is that it’s free and enjoys a lot of theme and widget development. Wait, what?

Yes, you read that right: the good is the same as the bad.

Here is what usually happens: You upgrade the site to the latest version of WordPress and then realize that half your widgets don’t work and now your theme looks funky. With a local installation of WordPress, you could try stuff out before you commit to the live site. The drawback for me is that I know very little about programming in general, much less PHP programming. Worse, I’m a Windows dweeb, so Apache and MySQL are scary to me.

Enter XAMPP.

XAMPP is free software that installs Apache and MySQL so you have the infrastructure to setup a local copy of WordPress, even if you use Vista or XP. Download the Windows version of XAMPP. The installer worked fine for me; the zip file has batch files to get you running. Once you get it installed, use a broswer to go to http://localhost.

The web client for MySQL is phpMyAdmin. God only knows why it’s called phpMyAdmin. Use this tool to create a new database with utf8_unicode_ci collation.

Download the latest WordPress files and add them to the xampp\htdocs folder, wherever you installed xampp. In the WordPress files, use a text editor, like notepad.exe, to edit the wp-config-sample.php file.

Fill in the variables for DB_NAME, DB_USER, and DB_PASSWORD.

  • DB_NAME is whatever you named the database in phpMyAdmin.
  • DB_USER use root.
  • DB_PASSWORD leave blank.

Save the file as wp-config.php.

In your browser, go to http://localhost/wordpress/wp-admin/install.php and follow the instructions.

You now have a locally copy of WordPress. Feel free to mess it up. If it all comes tumbling down (as we all know it must), you can just delete the WordPress files and start over again.

Next up we’ll figure out how to get the data from the live site onto the mirror site.

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