How To Run WordPress On Your Mac For Free!!!

wordpress-on-your-macIf you are building a new site or want to test new feature for an existing site,  you only have a few options where to develop your site. You can do it live right on your domain. You can develop your site on DreamHost using the included subdomain feature. Or In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to run WordPress on your Mac and develop your site locally right on your machine.

The advantages to developing locally is that your site will run super fast because it’s all self contained on your mac. You have easy access to the files that run your site, no need to login to the ftp server, your computer is the server! There are some security issues with running a web server on your computer. I have done it for years and haven’t had any problem, but you should know that the risk is there.

If anyone out there can explain what the security issue is and how to minimize it please leave a comment! I’d love to know and share that information!

Let’s get started running WordPress on your Mac!

You Mac already has some server software on it, but you need a nice neat package to help you run it smoothly. MAMP puts the whole server package together for you and ties a nice neat bow around it.

Let’s install MAMP!

Download MAMP at

Install MAMP!

Open MAMP:

When you first open up MAMP you should see a screen like this:


After a few moments your web browser will open up. If for some reason your browser doesn’t open just click the middle button “open start page”


You will know that you are in the right place because you will see localhost:8888/ as the web address.


Let’s Install WordPress

Create a Database

While we are on the start page let’s create the database that our WordPress site will need.

On the start page select Tools > “phpMyAdmin”


You will be taken to the phpMyAdmin configuration page. Select the “Databases” tab.


In the “Create Database”field enter in a name for your database. It doesn’t really matter what the name is, just make sure that it doesn’t have any spaces in it and I would suggest not using any special characters except for dash – or Underscore _.

Make sure that you write down, or remember what you called the database! You will need this information when you configure WordPress!

Download and Install WordPress

Steer your web browser over to You want to make sure that you go to the .org site and not the .com site; as the .com site is for the WordPress service, and you won’t find the download there.

Click on one of the “Download WordPress” Link


Unzip the downloaded file and open it up in a finder window that shows the contents of the “Wordpress”folder. It should look something like this:


Lets load those files into the correct folder!

Go back to the MAMP screen and select “Preferences”

Make sure that the Apache tab is highlighted. This will show you the location of the htdocs folder where you will need to install the WordPress files.

Push the Arrow button to open up a finder window with the htdocs folder highlighted.


Open the htdocs folder and create a new folder with the name of your site. In this example RWH-demo2

 Copy all of the WordPress files into this new folder.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 6.06.05 PM

Configure and Setup WordPress

We are ready to Setup WordPress!

Point your browser to localhost:8888/ You will see a link to the folder with your sit in it.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 6.01.32 PM

Select “Create a Configuration File”


You will see a screen that will tell you the information that you need to setup your WordPress site.  Press the “Let’s Go”Button

Enter in the Database name that you created earlier. For the user name enter in “root”and for the password also enter in “root”.

The Database host should be left alone. It should already be set to “localhost”the Table Prefix can also be left alone set to “wp_”


Click “Submit”.

On the next screen click “Run Install”

On the WordPress Installation screen you will be asked for some basic information about your site, such as Site Title, Username and Password.

It’s really important to get in the habit of not using “admin”as the username for your site. You also do not want to use the name of your site as the username. Using either of those poses a security threat to you site. You want to select a unique username and a secure password.

Where does the threat comes from? Hackers with bots. They can program these bots to sit on the login page for your site trying admin, or your the name of your site as the username. They then will use passwords that they have gotten from lists of commonly used passwords or randomly generated passwords. Having a unique username is an easy basic and easy step to improving the security of your site.

Enter in your email address

For the Privacy setting it probably doesn’t matter here since your site is only installed on your computer. You can leave it checked or unchecked. You do want to make sure that you remember to check it when your site is all finished and you put it up live on the internet! This will help your site get found!

Click Install WordPress!

On the next page click “Log in”

Log into your site and you are done! You now have a WordPress installed and running on your mac computer.!


If your are having problems with your MAMP install:

If MAMP isn’t working correctly check your to see that your preferences match these. Look on the main MAMP window and click on Preferences.

MAMP-Web-Server MAMP-PHP MAMP-Ports MAMP-Start-Stop




  1. Hi there,

    Good article, but 1 question. When i want to upload the site to a hosting what do i need to copy? I understand the website folder, but where can i find the database?

    • Jos, I recommend using backup buddy to copy and then upload your file to your final hosting destination. This will automatically copy all of your stifles and your database. Then it is as simple as configuring a new blank database on your host and then uploading the zip file and import php file and walking thru backup buddies migration wizard. Here is my article on Backup Buddy:

  2. Tim,

    I’ve tried several different ways to zip the folders with no luck. What works best with Mac Book Apple computers?

  3. If you need to import an existing website already hosted on wordpress is there any difference in the process and should I use a wordpress plugin like WP all backups ?
    Thanks PAul

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