How to Develop WordPress on Windows

On a Windows PC, with Internet Information Services (IIS), you have the capability to easily host WordPress websites locally for development purposes.

Here is a way to install and host a local instance of WordPress quickly using IIS Web Platform Installer.

Steps for Local Windows WordPress Hosting

  1. Requirements Before You Start
  2. Modify Hosts File
  3. Add Website Directory
  4. Setup Website in IIS
  5. Install WordPress Using Web Platform Installer
  6. Complete WordPress Installation
  7. Check WordPress Installation

1. Requirements Before You Start

  • You will need a computer with a Windows operating system, preferably Windows 10.
    We’re using a laptop running Windows 10, but these instructions can be used for Windows 7 onwards.
  • Check that you have IIS (Internet Information Services) installed on your Windows computer.
    Press the Windows + S key combination and search for IIS and if you see the following then you are ready to start.
    Internet Information Services (IIS) Installed
    If not, then the installation is quite simple. Just follow these steps:
    Press the Windows + R key combination.
    In the run box type appwiz.cpl and press Enter.
    In the Program and Features dialogue click Turn Windows features on or off link.
    Click the Internet Information Services checkbox and click OK
    That’s all, just wait for Windows to apply the changes and you’re right to go.
    Any problems see How to Install IIS on Windows 10 »
  • PHP and MySQL database are required, but these will be installed in Step 5 when you install WordPress using IIS Web Platform Installer.
  • [optional] We use MySQL Workbench for managing MySQL databases. Download  and install your Windows version from https://dev.mysql.com/downloads/workbench/

2. Modify Hosts File

Add Local Reference using Hosts File

  1. Open Notepad as administrator.
  2. Open your Windows Hosts File located at c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
    Windows Hosts File Location
  3. Add the local URL you will use in your browser to access the development website e.g.
    127.0.0.1mywebsite.local

3. Add Website Directory

Using Windows Explorer add a folder structure similar to the path of the production website e.g. c:\Websites\mywebsite.com.au\wwwroot

This will be the folder where your local version of WordPress will be installed.


4. Setup Website in IIS

  • Open IIS.
    Note: If IIS is not installed on your local machine you will need to enable IIS, via Windows Features.
  • Select Sites and Add Website…:
    • Site name: mywebsite.com.au
    • Physical path: c:\websites\mywebsite.com.au\wwwroot
    • Type: http
    • IP address: All Unassigned
    • Port: 80
    • Host name: mywebsite.local
      Add Website Locally in Windows IIS

5. Install WordPress Using Web Platform Installer

  1. Open Web Platform Installer in IIS.
  2. Search for WordPress and click Add next to the corresponding result.
  3. OPTIONAL: If you’d like control over the names used in the MySQL database configuration check Enable configuration of all web application parameters under Options.
  4. Click Install – If your system requires any other components such as PHP, MySQL, these will be added to the installation.
    • Website: Select the name of the website you’ve setup.
    • ‘WordPress’ Application Name: Leave blank for root installation.

    Web Platform Installer

  5. OPTIONAL: If you selected Enable configuration of all web application parameters you can configure the MySQL parameters as desired on the following page:
    Web Platform Installer DB

6. Complete WordPress Installation

  1. The website should appear in a browser window at the local address you specified e.g. http://mywebsite.local
  2. Select a language e.g. English (Australian)
  3. Provide the requested information to complete the installation process e.g.:
    • Site Title: My Website
    • Username: mywebsit
    • Password: **********
    • Email: clients@wiseinternet.com.au

    WordPress Setup

  4. Click Install WordPress.

7. Check WordPress Installation

  1. Log into your WordPress dashboard e.g. http://mywebsite.local/wp-admin
  2. Check the latest version of WordPress has been installed.
    If not, update to the latest WordPress version.
  3. Check all plugins and themes have been updated.