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Getting started with WordPress and MAMP on your Mac

Sang Tang

WordPress is among the more popular blog publishing and content management systems available. Some web hosting providers, such as GoDaddy and DreamHost, provide a relatively seamless and integrated WordPress installation process built into their dashboards. However, if you'd like to dip your toes into the WordPress waters and learn what lurks beneath it, but aren't yet ready to make a web hosting commitment (or switch, if your host currently doesn't support it) you can get you feet wet using MAMP.

Like LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP), MAMP contains the principle components of an all-purpose web server -- except, as implied in its namesake, it is built on Mac OS X instead of Linux.

To get started, download and install MAMP (link). At 163 MB, it's rather hefty, so pop in one of those 30 cent Tina's Burritos in the microwave or boil some water for Top Ramen while you're waiting.

  1. After MAMP finishes downloading and mounts, drag the MAMP folder into your "Applications" directory.
    a) Now, launch MAMP. Launching MAMP will result in the "Welcome to MAMP" start page opening in your browser.
    b) The only thing we'll need to do is to create a database. But before we do this, we'll need to make sure that MAMP is properly up and running. And we can do this by looking at the status indicator lights for "Apache Server" and "MySQL Server" on the main MAMP window -- if they're green, we're good to go.

  2. Now, let's create our database.
    a) To create the database, click on the "phpMyAdmin" tab on the MAMP start page menu.
    b) Let's see. I want to create a site dedicated to my favorite TV show of all time, Arrested Development. So, let's name my database "arresteddevelopment."
    c) You can leave all the other fields and options alone.
    d) Now, click on "Create," and our database is now ready.

    We're now done with configuring things on the MAMP side. On to the WordPress installation.

  3. Download the latest version of WordPress -- in our case, version 2.8.4.
    a) Because the WordPress package will likely come in a zip file, and because OS X will likely unzip said file, the resulting package will be unzipped in a folder named "wordpress" (how appropriate).

  4. Now, let's move the the "wordpress" folder into the "htdocs" folder within the MAMP folder -- /Applications/MAMP/htdocs

  5. Now, enter the following address into your browser: http://localhost:8888/wordpress
    a) Oops, it's telling us that we need a "wp-config.php" file. No need to worry. Just click on "Create a Configuration File."
    b) After clicking on the "Let's go" button on the next page, we're presented with a set of options. As Steve Urkel used to say, "don't fret my pet." Just enter the following values for the database, user name, and password:

    Database Name: arresteddevelopment (or whichever name you chose for your database)
    User Name: root
    Password: root

Now we're all set. We just need to fill out our blog title and email address, and we're done.

Though there are certainly are other ways of installing and configuring a WordPress-enabled web server on the Mac, I find the MAMP process the easiest to get up and running. And learning them is half the battle. Go Joe!

The other half is getting good and compelling content out there.

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