To run WordPress on the Web, you need a domain name and web host. But you don’t need either of those things to run WordPress on your own computer. You need only to set up a local server environment that includes Apache, MySQL, and PHP. That may sound like a tall order, but thanks to packaged software bundles such as MAMP and WAMP, setting up a robust server environment on your computer is a relative breeze.
The names for these software bundles — MAMP, WAMP, LAMP et al — are abbreviations that specify the operating system and included software. For example, the abbreviation “MAMP” stands for Macintosh, Apache, MySQL and PHP. Likewise, the abbreviation “WAMP” stands for Windows, Apache, MySQL and PHP. In this article, we’ll see that there’s an “_AMP” for just about every operating system.
Like WordPress, most _AMPs are free, open-source, and licensed under the GNU General Public License. They also bring together some truly amazing programs & libraries, such as:
Apache, MySQL, PHP, APC, eAccelerator, XCache, phpMyAdmin, Zend Optimizer, SQLiteManager, Freetype, t1lib, curl, jpeg 8, libpng, gd, libxml, libxslt, gettext, libidn, iconv, mcrypt, YAZ, PHP/YAZ
Full instructions for installing and using _AMPs may be found on their respective sites. For now, here’s a quick run-down of all the best _AMPs for WordPress and beyond.
- For Linux, installing Apache, MySQL, and PHP is more like running specific commands to install what’s known as “LAMP”, with the “P” referring to Perl, PHP, or Python, depending on which components are installed. So for LAMP, there really isn’t any specific “bundled” software to install, but if you want something like that, there is also LAMPP, which is one of the four flavors of XAMPP.
- The star of the show, MAMP is _AMP for Mac OS X. Truly easy to use, MAMP comes in “PRO” flavor, a professional-grade version that does awesome stuff like multiple servers, external access, easier configuration, and tons more. No portable version of MAMP at the moment, but there are tutorials online for making it work.
- Actually four separate distributions, there’s a XAMPP for Linux, Mac, Solaris, and Windows. The “X” in “XAMPP” refers to “cross-platform”, and the extra “P” is for Perl, which makes this particular _AMP even more capable. Portable/USB versions also available.
- Renamed WampServer, WAMP is exactly what you would expect: Apache, MySQL, and PHP for Windows. If you’re a Windows user, you’ll find WAMP a solid, flexible program that’s pretty easy to use. Also available in portable/USB flavors.
In addition to these top suites, there’s also JAMP, ZWAMP, and many others that include all sorts of programs and aren’t named with an abbreviation. For a more complete collection of AMP packages, check out the following links:
- List of AMP Packages
- Comparison of AMPs (404 link removed 2013/07/07 – Note: Wikipedia deliberately deleted this useful reference without any sort of replacement material more info — if you know of a suitable resource to use as a replacement, contact me)
Also check out these fine tutorials on setting up WordPress/MultiSite on MAMP: