WordPress is a web application that needs a web server to run on and a database to store its content. WordPress is written in the PHP programming language, so that is also required. To run WordPress on your Windows machine, you have to install all of this. It can be a technical challenge. WAMP makes this easier by doing it for you. Then it helps you to download WordPress and configure the system and set up the web site.
You’ve decided to install WordPress on your Windows machine at home. You’ve realised that it can be quite tricky to get all you need in place. While you searched the web for how to do it, you came across this thing called WAMP that will make life easier for you. But what is WAMP really?
Let’s begin with WordPress
WordPress is basically nothing more than a set of advanced webpages. In contrast to the apps you install on your computer, like Word, StarCraft II or even Chrome, which opens a window that you use the app through, a web page isn’t accessible by itself like this. It needs a browser. The web page is actually only a set of instructions to the browser that makes it get information, format it, and show it to the user. And of course, interact with it, you know, buttons and stuff. Actually, you could say that a web page is like an application without a window.
The web server enters the stage
But the browser has to get the web pages from somewhere. You need a web server. This is an application that stores web pages and makes them available to anybody that asks for them. You do that by writing a URL, or as you might call it, a web address, in the address bar. Or, like most people you Google it and let Google enter the address for you. Now, there’s a lot more involved in the process than this, but that’s nothing we need to bother with right now.
The browser then works together with the web server to create the web page. Actually, a lot of the work of creating the page is done on the web server before it is sent to the browser, so it can take over the work of rendering it.
And now, we need a database
For instance, a web page is often created from data stored on the computer. Like the books in a bookstore. Or the music on Spotify. Or basically any web site that exist today. The same thing with WordPress. I mean, it is a content management system, the content has to be stored somewhere. And that is of course in a database.
So, what is a database then? Well, it’s an application that is extremely good at storing and sorting data and serving it to you when you ask for it.
Controlling it all, a programming language
I previously said that WordPress is a set of advanced web pages. But what did I mean by that? A web page is in its simplest form just a text that you write on the page and show to the user. But that’s not very useful, I mean, what about all the data in the database? Today, almost no page is just a text anymore. Basically all web pages build their content on the fly. And to do this, it needs something that tells it how to do it, it needs instructions. Someone has to program the pages, decide what data to get and how to present it. And that is what we developers do all day long.
A web page is programmed to get input from the user, sends it to the web server, that asks the database for data, then filters, sorts, and transforms it, and sends it back to the browser, which adds its final touch to it before showing it to the user. So now we also need a programming language to make this happen. So what I meant in the beginning with WordPress being a set of advanced web pages are actually that WordPress is a set of source code that is executed on the web server.
What has all this to do with WAMP?
It’s quite simple. WAMP installs all this for you.
- A web server: Apache
- A database: MySQL
- A programming language: PHP
But it only does this on Windows. If you want it for Linux, use LAMP. Yes, seriously…
Now look at this:
Spell out the bold letters from top down, and you get WAMP.
If you want to find out more about WAMP, I have a lot more articles about it on this page:
ALL MY ARTICLES ABOUT WORDPRESS
If you want to read about how to install WAMP, I have a series of articles for that too. Starting with this:
INSTALLING WAMP, PART 1, VISUAL C++ REDISTRIBUTABLES
And of course, you can always go directly to the source:
WAMPSERVER, a Windows web development environment