In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to create a local test environment so that you can use applications like WordPress, phpBB3, MediaWiki etc, to build and design your own websites.

INTRODUCTION

Using a local test environment will allow you to make as many websites as you like and experiment to your hearts content! I’m using the term “local test environment”, by this I mean that the websites will be on your computer and not on the internet. This also means that unfortunately next to nobody will get to see the results of your hard work!!

DOWNLOAD XAMPP

First thing you will need to do is download a package called XAMPP. You can download it from here, for this tutorial I’m using XAMPP Windows 1.7.3 (Basic package) and have downloaded the 100MB ZIP file.

INSTALL XAMPP

Once downloaded you will need to unzip (extract) the file and the copy the folder called xampp to your C drive, see image: For this tutorial I’m using Windows 7 but the process is the same for Windows Vista & Windows XP.

RUN XAMPP

Once you have copied the folder to your C drive you will need to start xampp, to do this open the xampp folder and double click xampp-control.exe, see image:

This will then load up the xampp control panel, see image:

You will need to first start Apache by clicking the Start button, and the start MySql by clicking the Start button, when both have started the control panel will look like this:

Once both are running you can close the control panel by clicking Exit, xampp will continue to run in the background.

To test and make sure the installation worked just open up your favorite web browser and type http:localhost into the address bar and you should get the following screen, just choose your language to see xampp demos and security information

CAUTION – installing xampp like this is only recommended for test environments and not for live websites.

TIP – For easy start up I set the xampp-control.exe as a shortcut on the desktop, do do this just right-click on xampp-control.exe in the xampp folder and select Send To/Desktop (create shortcut).

That’s it, you’re now ready to start creating websites!! I hope this helps you get started.

Look out for upcoming tutorials on how to set up a database in MySql using phpMyadmin, install WordPress, install phpBB, install Mediawiki and more.