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June 30, 2016

Keepin’ it Real for WP End Users: XAMPP vs. Bitnami Installation

XAMPP installation is complicated but Bitnami offers instant results when installing WordPress locally.

It’s easier than you think to install a local version of WordPress on your laptop. If you’ve been scared off in the past by the lengthy process for installing XAMPP and WordPress locally, there’s very good news.

There’s a better way, and it’s called Bitnami.

Especially for non-technical people who rely on WordPress for their livelihood, Bitnami makes a ton of sense because it’s worlds easier than the alternatives.

Can you believe what it takes to install WP locally using XAMPP?

Take a look here at the ridiculously long, drawn-out process for installing XAMPP plus WordPress on your machine. It’s involved and it requires many decisions on your part.

For example, with XAMP, you have to pick and choose which components you want to install, which means you have to know what they are.

You have to know to choose Apache, phpmyadmin, mySQL etc., which means installation is no walk in the park. Then, you’ll be setting up your database … you know the drill (and if you don’t, refer to that tutorial link I gave you at the beginning of this section). You also have to name things like databases, and answer questions relating to those names. The process isn’t fun and it’s entirely possible to make mistakes.

For all the freelance writers out there who use WordPress to make a living, there are very few who relish developing the kind of knowledge it takes to do all this.

I was lucky enough to have a friend do my XAMP installation for me (he’s an actual Web developer). Otherwise, I’d have been lost at sea.

Installing the Bitnami WordPress stack is easy

Installing the Bitnami WordPress stack, on the other hand, is cake.

Here’s a taste of how easy it was for me to install it on my laptop. Notice how wonderfully short it is.

My Bitnami WordPress Stack Installation Tutorial

1. First, make sure you don’t already have XAMPP installed. If you do, you’ll get port conflicts as well as some MySQL errors. Get rid of your existing XAMPP installation and start fresh with the one Bitnami will install for you.

2. Download the package from https://bitnami.com/stack/wordpress

3. Then you hit ‘install.’ Then hit ‘next.’

4. There’s an option to uncheck phpMyAdmin if you don’t want access to the database. The default is to install phpMyAdmin, which is the admin panel you would use if you were going to go in and monkey with your WordPress database. It is sometimes useful, so you might as well leave the box checked.

5. Then select which folder you want to install it in, or leave it at the default (Programs).

6. Add your name, e-mail and login info you want for the blog.

7. Type the name of your blog.

8. Do you want to configure e-mail support? It’s unchecked, so leave it that way unless you want to be able to send e-mail notifications from your blog once it’s up and going. This is useful for developers but for writers, not so much.

9. Then there’s the Bitnami Cloud Hosting advertisement, which asks you if you want to learn more. Uncheck this unless you want to learn about cloud hosting through Bitnami.

10. The hit ‘next.’

11. Installing takes a few minutes. Meanwhile you can sit back and be glad you’re not going through this part yourself, the way you would have to if you were installing via XAMPP.

12. You might get an alert that tells you ‘Windows Firewall has blocked some features of this app.’ Simply ‘allow Apache HTTP Server to communicate on these networks’ and the default is that your private home network is checked. That’s OK, so hit ‘next.’

13. Launch Bitnami WordPress Stack

14. Then it launches the stack and you get five options, the first of which will be the one you want.

•  Go to application (launches WordPress)

•  Open PHPMyAdmin

•  Open application folder

•  Visit Bitnami

•  Get Support

15. FYI There are also tabs for ‘Manage Servers’ where you can see that MySQL and Apache are both running. The other tab is ‘Server Events.’

In case you were wondering, the “stack” consists of the following components:

• Apache Web Server

• MySQL

• phpMyAdmin

• WordPress

Now, if you weren’t using the Bitnami Stack, you’d be installing each of those components separately. That’s why the XAMPP tutorial is so darned long.

Why then, does everyone seem to be using XAMPP to install WordPress locally?

If you were to Bing ‘installing a local WordPress,’ the results would most likely direct you to an XAMPP tutorial. Bitnami tutorials simply don’t seem to exist in droves, probably because they’re not very necessary.

I only use WordPress for my writing jobs and not for developing WP interfaces, so I’m an end user. Perhaps installing WP the long way, using XAMPP gives you features and control you don’t have when you go the Bitnami Route, but I didn’t discover what those might be in my research.

If you know of any advantages to installing a local version of WP via XAMPP over Bitnami, please chime in and straighten me out.


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Catherine Tims is the founder and owner of Ivy League Content, a Key-West based writing company specializing in blogging for business and research-intensive articles. She is a graduate of Smith College and the University of Arizona at Tucson and has been writing for the Web since 2004.

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