During your adventures of creating your own website, you must have come across this term “localhost” and wondered what it really means. It’s not that daunting though. Once you understand what a localhost really is you will be confident to use this term and impress newbies with your technical knowledge. This article will not only tell you what a localhost is but it will also enable you to use it for WordPress.
What is localhost?
Localhost simply means the computer on which you are running a program. That’s it. This can be your own computer or a friend’s computer which you are using to run a program. In simple terms, a “localhost” is also referred as ‘this computer”. This does not mean that localhost must mean your personal computer. A server on which you are hosting your website is also called a localhost since you are running your program on that computer.
Why is this term needed? Many times, when developers create a website, they want to test it on their own computer before publishing it on the internet. To publish on the internet, you need a web host. However, you can also publish the website on your own computer. Your computer, in this scenario is called localhost. On this localhost, you can deploy your website just as you would do on the internet. You can detect and fix bugs, make changes to your projects and see those changes as they would appear on the internet.
By default, localhost has the IP address as: 127.0.0.1
This address is known as loopback address and it is reserved only for localhost.
A localhost is a handy term to refer to the computer on which you are working on. This simplifies a great deal in network terminology. So, next time you want to refer to your computer, you can brag about it being localhost and get on with your work.
How to Use Localhost To Install WordPress Locally
First, let us discuss the benefits of installing WordPress locally on your localhost:
- WordPress can create many types of sites. There are numerous themes and plugins available. This essentially means that there are lots of options for customization. But if we try all these customizations live, the user experience will be hampered and this will lost site’s credibility.
- It’s not safe to edit a website on the web host itself as the things can go weirdly wrong and you might not have an idea what went wrong. This may turn your entire project into a garbage pile.
- By hosting WordPress locally, you get a chance to explore all the themes and plugins and choose the one that best suits your needs. There is a lot of room for experimentation without fearing the effects on the actual live site.
- Localhost is a safe environment where you can fix bugs, test shortcodes, make upgrades, change the site content and make your website ready to publish by taking care of all the issues in advance.
- A localhost is similar to web host and it displays the results similar to that of a web host.
- WordPress localhosting should be your first step in your website building creation. You can always transfer the files on your web server once the site is ready in the localhost.
Tools To Host WordPress Locally
There are many tools that allow you to host WordPress in your localhost. These tools help you set up a local WordPress testing environment. These tools create a self-contained web server on your computer. While each has its own benefits, here are one of the best alternatives you can have.
ServerPress has created DesktopServer, a WordPress specific tool that allows you to create websites in seconds on your local environment. It is available for both Windows and Mac. It saves time in creating, testing and developing sites in a WordPress like environment. The interface is user-friendly and one can create a website with just a few clicks. DesktopServer specifically optimizes its environment for WordPress.
XAMPP is a general local development platform that uses Apache Web Server. It is one of the most popular PHP development environment. It is free. It is easy to install and it contains MariaDB, PHP, and Perl. There is huge community support available for XAMPP. If you are stuck at something, people are ready to help you out. You can use Bitnami on top of XAMPP to create an environment specifically for WordPress. It is easy, free and optional to install while installing XAMPP itself.
This is the Apache Web development environment specific for Windows. It offers Apache, MySQL, and PHP on Windows. You can create web applications using Apache 2, PHP, and MySQL database. It automatically installs all the components that you need to create a website. It has an intuitive interface. You can switch online or offline (access only to localhost). There are lots of features available. There is a large community supporting WAMP and there are dedicated forums should you ever encounter a question.
Like others on this list, MAMP is the local web development solution. It is free and works on cross-platform like Windows and Mac OS. MAMP provides all the tools needed to run and test WordPress on the localhost. It isn’t a problem if you prefer Nginx over Apache, MAMP can still work for you. You can work with PHP, Python, Perl or Ruby.
How to Start with WordPress Locally?
Step 1: Choose one of the platform mentioned above.
Step2: Install WordPress on the Platform
Step 3: Start creating your project on WordPress
Step 4: View the results locally on your computer.
It’s that simple. Choose a platform you are comfortable with and you are good to go with your WordPress web development. Still have some doubts? Let us know in the comments. We always appreciate your feedback.