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Tutorial – Setting Up Multiple WordPress Sites Using MAMP Pro

Written by

Robert Tonnies

( 25 Comments )

Abstract

We noticed around the web that there were very few quick, straight-shooting tutorials on how to set up multiple WordPress sites on MAMP Pro. We also noticed that many people were having trouble doing this very thing; and for a developer, running multiple sites is really the purpose of purchasing MAMP Pro. Hopefully this quick guide will help. Please comment at the bottom if you have any troubleshooting issues.

Tools You’ll Need

  1. MAMP Pro
  2. Sequel Pro (or your preferred DB creator)
  3. WordPress
  4. Your Preferred Text Editor

Step 1 – Install WordPress

If you already have a WordPress install where you are working on a site. And this is the site you’d like to host locally with MAMP, then skip this step.

If not, hop over to WordPress and download a clean copy. Then, rename the root folder of that copy to the title of the site you plan on making. It’s always good practice to avoid spaces when naming anything that will be involved in your web development.

Step 2 – MAMP Pro Settings

The most important aspect of your MAMP Pro Settings are going to be in the Server < General tab of MAMP Pro. You’ll want to make sure the following things are in order:

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  • Apache: 8888
  • SSL: 8890
  • MySQL: 8889
  • “Run Apache/MySQL server as user”: Yes !

MAMP Pro will have a “For security reasons…” warning against setting the apache to user; however, the whole point is to run this DB locally. When you migrate to your live host, this warning will no longer apply (if you set up your database properly).

Step 3 – Create the Local Site in Mamp Pro

Under the Hosts tab, create a new local site using the + sign. Designate a unique server name (again, using no spaces; example: “greenmarklocal”), and target the root WordPress folder for the site in the Disk Location section.

After you’ve added the new site, hit Apply in the bottom right-hand corner, and go ahead and Start your MAMP Pro server.

Step 4 – Create Your Local DB

We strongly recommend using Sequel Pro for setting up local DB’s. Of course, you can run the default PHPMyAdmin if you’d like, or jump over to any other method you prefer. But, Sequel Pro makes things as simple as they could possibly be, and it’s free! The following steps will quickly and properly set up your DB in Sequel Pro:

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  • Open Sequel Pro
  • Sign in under the Socket tab, with user and password as “root” and “root”
  • Under “Choose Database…”, select “Add Database…”
  • Name the database with the identical title in the MAMP Pro setup (step 3)
  • Hit “add”
  • Minimize Sequel Pro, you’re done!

Step 5 – Edit the wp-config-sample.php File in WordPress

If you just made a clean install of WordPress, go to the root folder and find the wp-config-sample.php file. (If you are dealing with an already established and edited WP site, the file will be called wp-config.php). Open this file in a text editor, and make these changes:

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  • Change the ‘DB_NAME’ to the title you used in MAMP Pro and Sequel Pro
  • Change the ‘DB_USER’ to “root”
  • Change the ‘DB_PASSWORD’ to “root”
  • Make sure your ‘DB_Host’ is set to “localhost”
  • **Save the file, and if necessary, rename the file to just “wp-config.php”

Step 6 – Load the Local URL & Setup your WordPress Site

Probably the most commonly made mistake when using MAMP Pro is not understanding how to target the site that you’ve now successfully setup. If you aligned your port (and other) MAMP Pro settings with those that we’ve shown in this tutorial (see screencast for all settings used), then your local URL for the site will be “yoursite:8888″. This will direct you to setup your WordPress install, and there you can begin crafting your WordPress site locally, and host multiple of these at the same time.

If for some reason your browser pulls up a search engine result by default, then simply go to the MAMP Pro Hosts, and click on the Home button next to your Server Name. This will force your browser to open the local site you’ve created.

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We hope this was useful for some of you. If you have any questions, please post in our comments section and we will get back to you with troubleshooting help asap! :)


About the Author

Robert Tonnies Greenmark Studios

Robert is the founder and chief front-end designer at Greenmark Studios. He's been building things on the web since there was a web, and has recently hit the Silicon Prairie in Kansas City, providing top-notch, honest, and personal web design & development to local businesses. Find him on or drop a line on Greenmark's Facebook.


25 Comments...

  1. Ron Halicki says:

    I am new to WordPress, MAMP Pro and already have a couple of customers already that want their websites built in WordPress. I finally stumbled upon a video that make things easy, but like always with me there are questions. My first question is about the localhost, do you ever change the disk location for it? Sequel Pro, will that have any cost once the website is launched on a web server? What are the advantages of Sequel Pro instead of using the default that comes with MAMP?

    • Robert Tonnies says:

      Hi Ron,

      Your first question: I’d have to know a bit more about what you mean by the location of “localhost.” Each of your WordPress sites should have a unique location (as each lives on its own install). So the localhost location of each should be unique. If you ever have to move one of them, that is no problem; you just have to let MAMP Pro know that you moved it.

      Second: Sequel Pro will demand no cost at any point in your usage of it. Which is why it is so kind to donate to them. :)

      Third: the advantages of SQPro are numerous. But chiefly, it is much easier to use for basic WordPress setups than PHPMyAdmin. It is literally a 1-click setup, which then monitors your local DB and updates it accordingly (and properly!). PHPMA allows for a lot more functionality once you get your site live, but for anything less than complex database modifying, you won’t ever even have to look at PHPMyAdmin if you use SequelPro. I have never used the default option that comes with MAMP Pro; so I probably shouldn’t speculate it’s value vs SQPro. :)

      If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to follow up.

      Cheers!

  2. Ron Halicki says:

    One of the reasons I purchased MAMP Pro was I read that I can have the ability to have my client view his website on my machine. It that possible to have limited viewing privileges for the client?

    • Robert Tonnies says:

      It sounds like you might want to host a test site, which would be a sub-domain of the primary url. So, if your client site was http://www.ronh.com, you could create a sub at http://www.beta.ronh.com. If MAMP Pro is able to set something up like this natively, then it is beyond my learning. :)

  3. Tim says:

    Thank you for a very clear article, but can you explain a bit more about “crafting your WordPress site locally, and host multiple of these at the same time..?”

    SO let’s say I have WP installed in a folder called “mampsites.” Then I have a folder with a server setup in MAMP in the root of that folder called “site1.” This is what I have now, and everything is working fine.

    What if I want to add another site called “site2?” I’ve already modified the wp-config file in the root to connect to the site 1 database. Modifying it again will of course break the link to site 1. Here is where my confusion lies. I’m hoping you can enlighten me

    • Robert Tonnies says:

      Hi Tim. If you already have MAMP Pro, creating the second site — “site2″ — is as simple as creating a completely new install of WordPress (not a new theme, but a new folder with a new wp-config, wtc); then, you have to set up a new site in MAMP Pro and target the new folder. In other words, do everything you did for site1, entirely new. If you have MAMP Pro, it is that simple. There are of course some smaller steps here and there, but that is what our elaborate post is for. :)

      Hopefully that helps. Hit us back if you still have trouble with this.

      Cheers!

      Robert

  4. Jennah says:

    As a first time novice graphic designer this is very helpful!! Thank you so much!

    I do have a question though, which is how to share what I am building with a client? Is there a way to send them a URL to view the site? I know I am hosting it locally, so am not sure what the step would be for that to happen….

    Thanks!
    Jennah

    • Robert Tonnies says:

      Hi Jennah,

      Glad you found the post helpful.

      For our clients, we host a sub-url of “greenmarkstudios.com”,

      such as

      jennahsproject.greenmarkstudios.com,

      and then we pump the beta updates of a site to that sub-domain. If you do this, be sure that your WordPress is set to have search engine robots to “not crawl” the sub-site (for obvious reasons). :)

      Another option would be to use a Google “hangout,” where you can screenshare your with your client to show them around the site.

      There may be a way to display your localhost site to your client via the web, but I am not familiar with how to do this, and I imagine it would be susceptible to a lot of security / database risks.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,

      -Bobby

    • Josh Smith says:

      Jenna,

      I am going through this right now. I share my IP address and the port that MAMP Pro is working on. Of course there is the whole port forwarding thing to perform too. It is not that bad of a process. There are tons of security issues with that process so I disable the port after a time period that the user can peruse their site. If you can’t find the solution, I left my Google+ in the website, you could contact me. I am trying to get Robert Tonnies to help me.

      My question is I can share one folder, localhost, with my clients but it has every website I’ve created in it. I just want to share one website, their website, with them. I am poking around the internet to find a solution. I haven’t found one yet.

      I want to have all my dev sites on MAMP Pro then be able to host and share each one individually with each client.

      -Josh

      • Robert Tonnies says:

        Hi Josh,

        The answer to this would be to put each of those sites in a different folder, and then target those folders individually when you create the local server in MAMP Pro. To not have them in separate folders is really to void what separates MAMP Pro from the free version; in the free version, you could easily put all your sites in one folder, and then call them through that folder as separate sites. In MAMP Pro, you can separate them completely.

        It may be a lot of work to pull them from the folder and create new local sites for each … depending on how many sites you have in there … but might be worth it. :)

        Hope this helps!

  5. Dan says:

    Robert,

    Thanks for this excellent tutorial. I went through all the steps, setting up a database I called “rik.” When I typed “rik:8888″ into my browser I got a Mac OS X personal Web Sharing page that says, “Your website here. You can use Mac OS X Personal Web Sharing to publish…”

    When I hit the home button by the server name on the hosts screen in MAMP pro, it didn’t change.

    Suggestions?

    –Dan

    • Robert Tonnies says:

      Hi Dan,

      Sorry for the delayed response, we’ve been very busy.

      My best guess is to suggest that you try different browsers. You may also try different variations of “rik:8888″ … http’s in front, etc. I’ve also heard that there are certain settings in browsers that make the URL default to whatever the search bar does when a non-URL is punched in. So, if your browser does a Google search when a non-URL is punched in (or in your case, the OS X page), you might need to turn that off.

      Hope this helps!

      Cheers!
      Robert

  6. Dionna says:

    So i saw the video which was great. So instend of downloading the wordress, just upload the theme that I bought then go through the steps on the video right? Also after you are done with editing just load the theme to the hosting(wordpress)

    • Robert Tonnies says:

      Hi Dionna,

      You can simply follow this entire tutorial, and then search for your theme on your local WP site that you set up. From there, you can install the theme, customize it, etc. (probably hundreds of tutorials out there to help you after this point).

      Cheers

  7. Matt says:

    Hi Robert,

    I followed all the steps but when I type in my localsitename:8888, all I get is a blank white screen. Though, the title on the browser tab registers as the local site.

    Did I miss a step?

    thanks,

    - matt

  8. Matt says:

    Figured it out! MAMP was trying to use an old database I’d used with the free version, so I had to create a new database.

    • Robert Tonnies says:

      Glad it all worked out. Nice job troubleshooting your way to success! Always feels good when that happens. :)

      Cheers!

      -Bobby

  9. Matt says:

    Oh, and thanks for the tutorial!

  10. Darleen says:

    Hi- Thanks for this – I have been going crazy trying to sort this all out. This method works the best for localhost. I am wanting to use dyndns to be able to share sites with clients. I am not sure if I have figured out – waiting to test again. From iphone and ipad does not display correctly, sigh …
    So … what do you use to to ‘pump’ the beta updates to the sub-domain for client review?
    I am thinking that might be the better solution, and much easier.
    This local dev is very enjoyable – very fast and smooth.

    Thanks!!!

    • Robert Tonnies says:

      Hi there Darleen,

      I’m glad it has been helpful.

      For our database syncing (between local and live), we use the Pro version of a WordPress plugin called “Migrate DB Pro” from Delicious Brains, inc. With the click of a button, this plugin will pump a local database – pages, plugin settings, posts, users … everything stored in the DB – up to the live database. It can also, of course, save and be exported / imported for other instances of the site.

      Hope this helps.

      -Robert

      • Darleen says:

        Thanks – I will check it out, although I have figured out that iPhone issue with CSS not displaying for the DYNDNS. I will be creating my own tutorial after this session, as is incredible the amount of details missing in all the wonderful ‘how to do’. Yours was by far the best, and got me past the – “why didn’t I just stay working at the strip club” crazies. Oh that was another life :)

  11. tyelmene says:

    Thank you for creating this tutorial. I followed the very simple steps with only one modification- I unpacked my wordpress files in a separate directory called ‘sites’ (instead of just in downloads), Unfortunately, my browser just returns 403 forbidden when I try to access the site?

  12. RobertB says:

    Robert, this is a great tutorial. Almost everything worked exactly as you described. At first, for some reason, MAMP Pro would not see my WordPress site when it was sitting in a folder somewhere in my computer. Someone suggested it would be happier if I put my WordPress folders in Applications > Mamp > htdocs. I did that, and instantly the problem was solved. So, that’s where I’m building all my new sites. I am wondering if the reason you could have your sites in the downloads folder (or anywhere) and I seem to be restricted to the htdocs folder is due to my using Snow Leopard and not the latest OS.

    Thanks for this tutorial… you probably saved me days of work!

  13. Shaye Nelson says:

    Hi – Since I just went back to this tutorial for maybe the eighth time, I felt I needed to weigh in with a thank you. Also wanted to give a shout out to Overland Park. My family lives in Topeka.I’m in Los Angeles now where I’ve been working for an art gallery building wp child themes for clients. Just about to branch out on my own, and your tutorial has SAVED MY SKIN more than once. THANK YOU!! I’ll be passing your company’s name along to my friends in KC, Lawrence and Topeka.