Support » Localhost Installs » Multiple WordPress installs on local Mac using MAMP (Pro) for Offline Editing

  • Hi, thank you for reading my post. As a complete beginner with little understanding of servers and coding, I’ve spent the last weeks trying to find a clear step by step tutorial for doing the seemingly simple task of running several WordPress installs on a local machine with OSX via MAMP or MAMP Pro to allow offline editing of more than one Blog. Then, after editing, the files are supposed to be uploaded to a Webhost instead of working online and then backing up the files. I do realize that some variables depend on the Webhost’s nature.

    I see tons of posts in all kinds of forums asking for this information and they all end with fights, the advice to go and ask somewhere else or at best a vague speculation by someone who either never used WordPress or never used MAMP.

    So my question is, 1. Am I allowed to ask this here or is the topic not WordPress-related enough?

    2. Has anyone here actually done this and set up MAMP or MAMP Pro with more than one WordPress install and would you be willing to show beginners how to do it? If so, I have some more specific questions.

    Thank you for reading!


Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • Yes, I do this all the time: I typically have two installs on one local machine and anywhere up to about six on another. So it’s definitely actually possible.

    Give each install its own folder in MAMP/htdocs. Don’t mess around with having a whole set of WP files, and then trying to put different set in a folder inside of that (shudder).

    You don’t need to create a new database for each (although it won’t hurt anything if you do). You DO need to make sure each new install has a unique prefix for its database tables. I use the same prefix name as the new WordPress folder – so core_, stable_, client_ etc. That way, whenever I need to go digging in PhpMyAdmin for something I can figure out where to look much more easily.

    Aside from that, there’s not much more to say that doesn’t also apply to every other localhost installation. Finish the installation the way you normally would, go to localhost:8888/site1 or /site2 or whatever you’ve named them, and go to work.

    Cool, thanks a lot for your reply!

    One thing I want to know is, do I need to have the files on the same Hard Disc the OS is running on inside Applications>MAMP or can I have them on a separate HD, where I have all my other project files (photos, videos, text documents…)? Would that require a lot of extra work? Because currently I have only the application and the operating system on my first HD.

    Not a problem at all — in MAMP preferences, go to the “Apache” tab, and you can select whatever location you want to use for your files.

    Great, that’s how I did it for a single blog too!

    And is there any benefit for this setup of multiple blogs in using MAMP Pro over MAMP? Some users have suggested this but I didn’t really get what the advantage was.

    Thanks a lot for your help!


    I’ve never used MAMP pro, so I don’t know for sure what differences they’re thinking of; for what I use local sites for, I’ve never felt any need to upgrade, but that could very well different for other people’s uses.

    Jo Landers


    Re: MAMP vs MAMP Pro – the big difference is that it is MUCH easier to set up multiple virtual hosts and configure each to match the server on the live site (and the latest version provides some SSL support, though you do have to set up a non-ssl and an ssl-enabled host for the same virtual host to get it to really work).

    This lets you do things like have multiple client sites, each in a separate folder (and with their own database), using the exact same structure the live site will use, and test them using something like,, etc. (I set up my local sites using the exact url of the live site, but replace the .com [or whatever] portion with .dev), instead of accessing them using ‘localhost/mysite’

    If you work on multiple client sites, it’s much easier going this route, since you don’t have to change your MAMP settings everytime you switch client development sites, and all the url’s and ‘include’ files work the same as the live site will.

    It’s possible to hack MAMP (not PRO) to do something similar by editing the httpd.conf file each time you add/remove a new development site, but MAMP PRO lets you do this from the ‘Hosts’ interface, which is much easier (after spending lots of time doing the hacking, I decided to spend the $59 for the upgrade)

    Jo Landers


    One more note regarding MAMP and MAMP Pro (or any development server) – Make sure you test your .htaccess file on the ‘real’ server before going live (or put it in a temporary folder within your live site and check out specific settings where the public won’t see them). For example, I use php in my css files. On my development server, using MAMP Pro, I need this line in my .htaccess file:
    AddHandler application/x-httpd-php .css

    But the ‘live’ server doesn’t handle php in the stylesheets correctly unless I change it to:
    AddHandler application/x-httpd-php5 .css

    Even though both MAMP Pro and my live server are both using the same version of php.

    That was very helpful, thanks to both of you!

    This video shows the whole installation with separate database for each WordPress install:

    MAMP and WordPress Installation Tutorial

    Thanks for your patience, I got two more questions, would be great to get a comment:

    1.) What’s the point of the htdocs folder in the MAMP Application folder and why do most tutorials place the wordpress folders in there instead of outside the Applications folder?

    2.) For example in this video the user generates a symbolic link to the folder, (why) is that necessary? Doesn’t changing the Apache location solve that?
    How To Install MAMP & WordPress on OS X (MAG 22)
    [Jumps to correct time]

    And #3 how do you update your WP installs offline? I assume auto-update is not possible.

    1) Tutorials use it because htdocs is the default content folder. MAMP sets it up that way because it’s also the standard location for an apache server, but since you’re working locally, there’s no real need to worry about that one way or the other.

    2) To have an easier shortcut to their default folder, of course!

    Since you set a different default folder, neither of those matters one whit for your installation.

    3) Auto-update works just fine in local installs.

    1&2) Got it! Thank you!
    3) How do you get past the FTP Screen when trying to update locally? I’ll try this method:



    Eughh, I’m having problems with multiple installs on MAMP Pro and I thought I made the fixes that Robnonstop did, but I’m not having success. Here’s what I’ve done:

    1. Create a new database (collated) in PHPMyAdmin.
    2. Create and re-name a new WordPress site folder (“myfirsttheme”) in MAMP htdocs folder.
    3. In MAMP Main Window, create a new localhost (localhost2). Point Disk location to the htdocs folder (/Applications/MAMP/htdocs).
    4. In WordPress folder in htdocs, re-name wp-config-sample.php to wp-config.php. Put in database name, PHP username, password, and host (localhost2). Add unique salts and prefix and save.
    5. Try to access localhost2:8888/myfirsttheme on my browser.

    But it doesn’t work!! It says “error 500: error establishing a database connection”. If I go back into wp-config and change the host to simply “localhost” I can get onto the site (have to type in localhost:8888/myfirsttheme). But then somehow I get the error when I try to add media: “Unable to create directory wp-content/uploads/2012/10. Is its parent directory writable by the server?”. When I haven’t blocked any permissions. How can I get my site to work??

    I have two wordpress folders in htdocs (wordpress and wordpress2) and use two databases (wordpress and wordpress2). The first site admin dahsboard works fine, but the second is corrupted – as in the CSS seems to be gone so I can’t use it….any ideas on what the problem is?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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