WordPress PART 2: Install WP Locally and Enable Multisite

This is Part 2 in a series of WordPress development tutorials for absolute beginners.

I am going to make a few assumptions here. I am going to assume that you are a WordPress novice. You’re familiar with what WordPress is , perhaps you have a WordPress blog, but beyond that you do not know much.You’re interested in getting started developing WordPress sites, but not sure where to begin. If this does not sound like you, it is possible that you know more than I do and that this article will be too frustratingly simple for you.

I’m also going to assume that you have read Part 1 in this series and have acted upon it. You certainly do not need to be a PHP master to get started, but you will need some basic PHP knowledge, especially later on in this series. I believe in doing things properly, so I would suggest doing, at least, the Codecademy PHP track (it’s only 4 hours), before carrying on.

About WordPress Resources

WordPress has a gigantic community of developers who know much more than you or I do. They very kindly share their knowledge, so that every question you could possibly have as a WP beginner has already been answered.

The absolute first place you must get familiar with is the WordPress Codex. It is the online manual for everything WordPress. If you are serious about learning, spend a few hours there. It’s a living manual, so additional articles are added regularly.

Below is only a small sample of other resources I have found indispensable in my learning journey.

WP Beginner

It is a free resource for beginners. You will find quality tips, tricks and hacks, as well as other invaluable WordPress resources

WPMU DEV

The most read WordPress resource on the web with more than 4,000 articles. In their own words: “We’ve got you covered.”

wpMail.me

You are not truly a member of the WordPress community until you subscribe to this weekly email.

Post Status

This is an industry news site devoted to covering the WordPress ecosystem for professionals and enthusiasts. You will find announcements, articles and sometimes posts on community topics.

Installing WordPress Locally

I personally prefer developing WordPress locally on Windows with the WAMP server. I live in the mountains of central South Africa, so I’m constantly battling poor signal and slow internet speeds. Once I’ve finished locally, I simply FTP what I’ve created to my server.

I can not possibly explain all the ways you can install WordPress in this one article. If you have a different setup, or would prefer developing live, I am, of course, going to point you to the Codex. Go to WordPress Installation Techniques.

The instructions below focus mainly on Windows users, because that is what I use and am familiar with, but it should be similar if you are using the MAMP or LAMP servers, and you should be able to follow along. It’s often said that it is difficult to develop on Windows, which is not true and part of the reason this blog exists is to prove that. You will find many articles for Mac or Linux users, including on the Codex.

On Windows using WAMP:

I’m assuming you have read the suggested articles in Part 1 and that you have WAMP installed and running.

Step 1: Create a Database for WordPress

Click on the green WAMP icon in the system tray (righthand side of the taskbar, where the ▲ is).

Click on phpMyAdmin. That will open the browser with a screen similar to this:

wordpress1

Click on Databases (which I’ve highlighted in red for you). The next screen will look similar to this:

wordpress2

In the Create database input area, enter a name for your database (I called mine wordpress) and click Create.

Download and Install WordPress

Go here. Click on the blue Download WordPress 4.4.2 button. This downloads a .zip file. When your download has finished, go to the directory where you downloaded WordPress and click on Extract All. Once extracted copy the wordpress folder. Go to your wamp –> www folder and paste wordpress there like below:

wordpress4

Now, you can go to localhost/wordpress in your browser. Read the Welcome message and click on the gray Let’s go button.

You should see a screen similar to this:

wordpress5

Just enter the name of the database you created for WordPress and leave password blank. Click Submit.

All right, sparky! Run the install.

On the Welcome screen, enter a name for your site, username, password and valid email then Install WordPress.

Click Log In. Use the username and password you just created and Log In.

Congratulations!

wordpress6

Welcome to the magical world of WordPress! This is your Dashboard, from where you will control everything. Take some time now to explore and see what is available.

Enable Multisite

If you are interested in WordPress, then you obviously don’t just want to create this one site and be done with it. Luckily, since WordPress 3.0, you can create a network of sites – as many as you can imagine!

A multisite network is a collection of sites that all share your one WordPress installation. All sites you create will share available plugins and themes. They are only virtual sites, so they won’t have their own directories on the server, but they will have separate Media Libraries and separate tables in the database.

Go to your server’s www folder again. That is there where you pasted wordpress before. Inside the wordpress folder look for wp-config.php. Open it in your favourite text editor.

Just above the line which says /* That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging */ add this code:

/* Multisite */
define( 'WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE', true)

Save and refresh your browser. In the Dashboard menu, look for Tools. You will see a new option: Network Setup. When you click on that you will see this message at the top of the screen:

Because you are using localhost, the sites in your WordPress network will be subdirectories…

This means, if you create a site called newsite on your network it will be path based and not domain based and therefor located at localhost/wordpress/newsite. This is fine for local development. In fact I also use sub-directories and not sub-domains on this network.

Change the suggested title of Network if you want and click install. On the next screen, follow the instructions exactly. Once you’ve added the required code to wp-config.php and .htcacess, log in again.

In your Dashboard, you will now see My Sites like this:

wordpress7

From here you will be able to create unlimited sites and control your network.

Next time we will venture into the wonderful world of WordPress themes.

Until then, as always,

Happy coding!

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