WordPress is a very useful platform for website designing. It can cut days from the creation periods or even weeks. But when you bring changes to your WordPress website, it’s better to test them offline first. Starting a website offline and then moving it on a server may be the best choice of action. There isn’t much to hosting a WordPress website offline, so here how’s to do it:

Installing Instant WordPress

Instant WordPress is a free tool for hosting an offline website. It gives youall the tools you need without going through any extra configuration.

First, head to http://www.instantwp.com/download and click the Download Instant WordPress button.

Now head to your Downloads folder and open InstantWP_4.5.exe.

Unlike Wamp or any other similar programs, InstantWP is portable and does not require to be installed on the root of the drive. It makes no changes to your registry so you can have multiple installation and have them with you on an USB drive.

You will be asked to provide an installation path. Pick one that best suits you and then click Install.

The installation process will begin. Being a lightweight piece of software, it won’t take long before the installation is finished. Another advantage that InstantWP brings, you don’t have any framework requirements. You simply install it and you are good to start working on your website.

After the process is complete, click Close.

Using Instant WordPress

After you install InstantWP there is no configuration that requires your attention, so you can simply start building your website. Go to the folder in which you installed and look for a folder called InstantWP_4.5. In that folder, look for InstantWP.exe and open it.

Briefly, a loading splash screen will appear.

After it finishes loading, the main panel will show.

From here you have a couple of options. In the top left (red square), you have the WordPress Frontpage button. By clicking here, you can navigate to your website’s homepage. By default, it will open in Internet Explorer. If you want to use any other browser, just type http://127.0.0.1:4001/wordpress/ in the address bar.

In the top right (purple square) you have the WordPress Admin button. This button sends you to the login page of your website. After you login, you will be redirected to the Dashboard. The default credentials are ‘admin’ and ‘password’. You can change them latter on from the Dashboard. Type http://127.0.0.1:4001/wordpress/wp-login.php in the address bar if you want to use another browser.

In the middle left (orange square), you have a button that will open the Plugins Folder. You can simply drag and drop plugins in this folder just like you would do using a FTP connection to a server.

In the middle right (green square), you have a button that will open the Themes Folder. Just like in the case of the plugin folder, you simply put your themes in this folder and you will be able to view the in your dashboard.

In the bottom right (blue square), you have the Documentation button. By clicking on this button you will be redirected to a website with useful information such as Frequently Asked Questions, InstantWP components and so on.

To close InstantWP simply press the top right X button and wait for the closing process to finish.

Things to keep in mind

While Instant WordPress is a great tool for offline testing and development, you should keep in mind some limitations of the current version (4.5). After you finish installing, you will have to update WordPress to the latest version. New versions out come every month and it’s recommended you have the latest. For both performance and security reasons.

The current version runs PHP 5.3.2. Some plugins will require minimum PHP version 5.4, in which case, you should switch to a program that offers you more control such as Wamp or simply don’t use the plugin until you move your website online.

This piece of software is intended to be used in an offline environment, you should not, by any means, use it on a server to actually host your website.

You can make a copy of your offline website simply by copy and pasting the whole installation folder in another location. This way you can make as many mistakes as you need to advance through your learning curve.

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