What is localhost? It is a term used in web development to refer to the computer or server hosting a website or application. It is a virtual server that runs on a user’s own machine and can be used for testing and development purposes before deploying the website to a live server.
Understanding localhost is crucial for web developers, as it allows for easy testing and debugging of websites and applications. You can think of it as “running websites on your computer.” In most cases, setups like this are more straightforward for the initial stages of development.
What is localhost: setting up a local environment for WordPress
If you want to install WordPress locally, you have a couple of possible ways to do this depending on your local system. For Windows, XAMPP seems to be the best option. For Mac, you can use Local by Flywheel. Doing so lets you build a development site ideal for testing purposes.
XAMPP is going to be the most typical setup for most users, so we’ll just cover the steps of it briefly here:
- Download and install XAMPP: First, get the installer. The file is about 110 MB, so it might take a while to complete. Download and run it as you would any file.
- Start the modules: Run Apache and MySQL to finish the installation process. You can test if your local server is working through
http://localhost/in your preferred browser.
- Add the WordPress files: If you’ve ever installed WordPress before, this step should be easy. Visit the WordPress.org site to download the latest version. Afterward, extract the WordPress zip file into a new folder, which we recommend naming “TESTSITE.”
- Create a WordPress database: First, launch phpMyAdmin from the XAMPP control panel. Next, click on the “databases” tab and create a new database there.
- Install WordPress locally: Your test site is simply something like:
http://localhost/TESTSITE. Go there through your web browser and follow the steps on the screen. When prompted for your database details, you can enter these:
- Database Name: The name of the database that you created through phpMyAdmin
- Username: “root”
- Password: leave blank
The last step is to finish the WordPress install process as usual. With this done, you should have a blank WordPress site set up on localhost.
Importing and exporting data
Importing or exporting data is a common step to take when dealing with a local WordPress website. For once, you might want to import a live site and make a copy of it on localhost. Or, you can also take whatever you’ve built on localhost and export it to a live server. Here are the ways you can do that:
- Use WordPress’ native export feature: This method will let you export data from your site’s database, including blog posts, comments, and pages. However, the list doesn’t include plug-ins and themes.
- Migrate your site using the Duplicator plugin: With this tool, you can clone, duplicate, and migrate your website to another location. You can also export your WordPress information, including your database and all the files with it. Here’s how to use Duplicator.
- Export your site manually: Lastly, seasoned developers can export WordPress sites using FTP and phpMyAdmin. WordPress newbies might find the process too complicated.
👉 For more info, follow this guide of ours on how to export a WordPress website.
What is localhost: conclusion
Learning what is localhost and how to use it speeds up your development process, allows you to save, test, and view website elements without rolling them out to your live server. It may involve a learning curve, but the results are well worth it. Check out our other articles to learn more about localhost and how to build your next WordPress website.