XAMPP is one of many AMP software stacks (Apache – MySQL – PHP) that can be used to create a local web development environment for design and testing. It automatically installs and configures Apache as a web server so that you can view your pages through http://localhost, MySQL as a database server for website data and PHP to render any PHP code within your pages.
Once you have XAMPP installed, you can install WordPress or other content management systems locally so that you can easily develop and test your web content and programming before uploading it to the web or an intranet. I also use WordPress as a local CMS for organizing my own content.
Setting up XAMPP and WordPress takes as little as 10 minutes and can be done either on your hard drive or a USB flash drive as I show in this video. The flash drive option is a little slower but it is easily portable between systems as XAMPP runs entirely from the directory it’s installed to.
Note: This article was written in 2015 and is due for update at some point. It is still useful as a general guide for issues you might encounter in this type of installation. Please takes this into consideration when downloading components.
One of my latest projects was setting up WordPress, the popular content management system, on a client’s web server which was running Windows Server 2008. WordPress requires installations of MySQL for the database back-end and the PHP scripting language in order to serve up the WordPress content. On a local Windows machine, I’d probably just use a pre-configured WAMP (Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack package like EasyPHP which is installed quickly and includes all the necessary components. That’s not quite an option in a professional environment, though. I was also working with Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.5 for the web server instead of Apache so the process is a little more involved.
If you’ve been wanting to learn how to design websites with ASP.NET, here’s your chance! Check out my latest three-part series on OcalaITPros.com where I explain the basics of Microsoft’s ASP.NET framework and how it’s used to create dynamic websites. This series will guide you through creating and publishing a sample application completely from scratch. The series is based on my speaking notes from a recent meeting of the Ocala I.T. Professionals.
Part I – What is ASP.NET?
Learn about the difference between static and dynamic websites and how ASP.NET is used to serve dynamic content.
In a recent post, I talked about using the WordPress plugin Add Meta Tags for adding meta descriptions and titles to posts and pages within my WordPress sites. It’s a simple SEO tool but works well. Nevertheless, I decided to switch my sites over to Yoast SEO for all its extra features and guidance in constructing pages. I was anticipating quite a job as this blog alone has almost 100 posts and all of those descriptions needed to be transferred from the fields created by the old plugin to Yoast’s fields. Yoast does have some import tools of its own but they didn’t include the one I’d been using and my experience with a third-party converter had not been good so I was glad to find that I could do it so simply with one query in phpMyAdmin.
One of the great things about WordPress is the thousands of plugins available. With a little bit of research and just a few clicks, you can quickly add almost any kind of functionality to your site from SEO features to full eCommerce packages. Since I manage multiple sites of my own and more for clients, I’ve had the opportunity to review a number of WordPress plugins and thought I’d list some of my favorites here.
You can find any of these plugins by searching for the name I’ve provided through your own WordPress site. I’ve reviewed the free versions here and included the names of the authors and their sites for reference.
“Running a website is easy and inexpensive these days. With cheap domain names, hosting packages running under $5 per month and gigabytes of space and monthly data transfer, anyone can quickly get started with a new site and put their name and message out there. Better yet, user-friendly tools like WordPress and Joomla make it easy to go far beyond a few static pages and to create a full multimedia experience, adding audio and video content to your site to entertain and engage your visitors. With all the space and resources available to you through the average hosting package, however, it’s often better to store some of your content, such as video, on other sites and then display it on yours so your visitors can still see it.”
Before you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on classes and specialized materials, check out what’s available online for FREE. Very often, the only investment you need to make now is your time.