Getting a local WordPress server up and running is surprisingly complicated. If you’re a seasoned developer, it makes sense to set up a local server with XAMPP or WAMP. But if you’re a beginner who just wants to mess around with a self-hosted WordPress installation (which is different from wordpress.com), to see what a customized WordPress site would look like, you’re usually out of luck.
So I recommend you skip this tedious process. Instead, create a free virtual WordPress installation on a Cloud9 server space. There’s no coding required. No need to download specialized software. You’ll be tinkering with a WordPress installation — customizing themes and adding plugins — in just a couple of minutes.
What Is Cloud9?
Cloud9 is a cloud-based development environment. It lets you code in more than 40 languages on servers hosted by the website. What’s relevant is the fact that Cloud9 lets you create basic workspaces for free. They come with 1 CPU, 512 MB of RAM, and 2 GB hard drive space, which is more than enough for our endeavor. Plus, installing WordPress on a workspace is just a one-click affair.
How to Install WordPress on Cloud9
Step 1: Visit Cloud9’s website and click on Sign in at the top toolbar.
Step 2: On the next page, sign up.
Step 3: Once you’re signed up, you’ll see your Workspaces on your account page. Click on Create a new workspace.
Step 4: Give your workspace a name and select the team (if any). You can make a workspace Private (for free, you can only do this once). Now in the template section, click on WordPress. Then select Create Workspace.
Step 5: Wait while Cloud9 whips up a new virtual server out of thin air. Take this time to appreciate the wonders of technology.
Step 6: You’ll now land in what’s called an IDE. Feel free to ignore all the code. Just click on the Run Project from the top toolbar.
Step 7: The server is now running. Click on Preview and select Preview Running Application.
Step 8: Your WordPress installation is now running inside the IDE. You can see the setup screen here. Let’s take this up to a new tab entirely by clicking the Pop Out into New Window button that’s highlighted in the screenshot below.
Setting Up Your WordPress Install
Step 1: Now that we’re in the full-screen view, select the language of your choice and click on Continue.
Step 2: On the Welcome screen, give the site a title, provide the username, password, and your email before clicking Install WordPress.
Step 3: And there’s your WordPress dashboard. You can install themes, customize them, write blog posts, and more.
As long as your Cloud9 workspace is live, so is the WordPress install. Yes, this is not a live site, but it’s fully equipped for all your experimentation.
Now Level Up Your WordPress Game
A virtual installation is a good playing ground. But as this is WordPress, you’ll be able to easily export your customizations from the Cloud9 space and import it into a real, live self-hosted WordPress installation on a host like Bluehost for just $2.95/month or any of our recommended web hosts.
What do you think of WordPress? Are you looking into a self-hosted WordPress site or blog? Share with us in the comments below.
Image Credits: Maksym Povozniuk/Shutterstock