How do you roll out new plugins on your WordPress blog?
Do you switch the site into a maintenance mode, or do you run a test site in a subdomain? Perhaps you have someone to manage this side of things for you, but want to take a more hands-on approach.
You might even have your WordPress blog setup to run locally on your PC, thanks to WAMP, or maybe even on a local server.
For those of you for whom all of these solutions seem a bit complicated, there is a new way, thanks to a dedicated Bitnami stack. This is, essentially, a pre-packaged version of WordPress to which you can import data, add themes and test plugins, making sure that everything works as intended before you make the changes to your live site.
As long as your computer is capable of running a virtual machine application (as a rule of thumb, any device with an Intel Core i3 or an AMD Phenom II or greater processor), Bitnami might just be the answer you have been looking for.
Download a Local Version of WordPress!
To install Bitnami’s WordPress stack on your computer head to http://bitnami.org/stack/wordpress and select Installer Free Download. This is just under 90 MB, so will take a few minutes depending on the speed of your network connection.
Once downloaded, double-click the setup file to begin installation. Click Next, where you will see that WordPress and PhpMyAdmin are both selected. Again, click Next to proceed, confirming the installation location by clicking Next again.
You should now see the admin account creation screen. Use this to set a username and password to login to the WordPress dashboard, and once again click Next to proceed. You will then need to confirm Port numbers (try different numbers of no more than 4 digits, such as 8080 and 4433 if the default options fail, but remember to make a note of them!) and once again click Next to proceed.
This time you will have the chance to name your test blog, and after clicking Next you will have the opportunity to configure support for sending emails. Unless you have a plugin that sends newsletters from WordPress, you shouldn’t need to set this, but if you do be ready to provide the appropriate server, username and password details. Click Next again to end setup and begin installation.
Running WordPress on Your Computer
After installation, note that your firewall software may attempt to block features of the Apache HTTP Server; you will need to allow access to this service in order to run WordPress on your computer.
Once setup has completed, you will then be given the opportunity to launch the Bitnami WordPress Stack. To view the default WordPress blog, click the link labelled Access BitNami WordPress Stack, which will open WordPress in your browser.
The URL for this will be http://127.0.0.1:80/wordpress/ and so by using http://127.0.0.1:80/wordpress/wp-admin you will be able to access the admin login box where you should enter the details added previously.
(The URL http://127.0.0.1 represents your own computer, also known as “localhost”.)
Note that using http://127.0.0.1:80/phpmyadmin/ you can open PHPMyAdmin using the credentials created in the Bitnami setup.
Making Bitnami Work For You
With WordPress installed on your computer and accessible in your browser, there are a few things you will need to do.
The first is to make sure you don’t forget the URLs, so add them to your browser favourites. The second is to begin importing data, using the WordPress import/export tools found in the dashboard. These will need to be used on both your live site (to export data) and on your local site (to import the data).
Meanwhile, any data you need to alter or plugins that might need to be added manually can be done so via the installation location, which by default is C:\BitNami WordPress Stack\apps\wordpress\htdocs.
Using Bitnami is a great way to overcome issues with remote test sites and it is much quicker than relying on a remote server – if you need a test version of your website, this tool is recommended and it’s free to use! Bitnami is also available for Macs.