Get Started with Bitnami Applications using an OS X VM


If you've ever tried installing a server application (like WordPress) or a development environment (like an Apache/PHP/MySQL environment), you already know that it's a lot harder than it seems at first glance. There are files to download and copy, configuration settings to be adjusted, and various other hoops to jump through before you can actually get some productive work in.

Needless to say, there's a better way: a Bitnami OS X VM. For OS X users, Bitnami provides pre-packaged virtual machines (VMs) for automated setup of popular server software. Each VM contains all of the software necessary to run it out of the box. This means that there are no additional libraries, databases, and runtimes to download, and, once installed, the new application or development environment will not interfere with other software on your system.

In this guide, I'll walk you, step by step, through the process of using a Bitnami OS X VM to deploy a new server application on your local OS X development system.


If you're interested in creating a personal or small business blog, chances are that you're going to use WordPress. WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms in the world, in use on over 60 million websites (according to Wikipedia). It's not hard to see why: WordPress is incredibly easy to use, comes with thousands of extensions and themes, and is completely free and open source.

In this tutorial, I'll install the Bitnami WordPress Stack, which gives you a pre-configured WordPress blog that you can start using right away. But WordPress is just an example: there are hundreds of other Bitnami applications to choose from, and they're all equally easy to set up.

Here are the steps you'll follow in this tutorial:

  • Install WordPress using the Bitnami WordPress OS X VM
  • Log in and start using WordPress

The next sections will walk you through these steps in detail.

NOTE: This tutorial uses a Mac OS X VM, but Bitnami native installers are also available for Windows and Linux.

Step 1: Install WordPress using the Bitnami WordPress OS X VM

At the end of this step, you will have installed the Bitnami WordPress OS X VM.

Begin by downloading the Bitnami WordPress OS X VM for your platform. Once downloaded, follow these steps:

  • Begin the installation process by double-clicking the image file and dragging the WordPress OS X VM icon to the Applications folder.
  • Launch the VM by double-clicking the icon in the Applications folder. Enter your administrator credentials if prompted.

    This should launch the OS X VM manager, which includes controls to start and stop the VM, manage services and handle data volumes. Here's what it looks like:


  • Click the "Start" button in the "General" tab of the manager. Wait for the status icon to turn green and note the IP address of the VM.

    VM status and IP address

  • Click the "Go to Application" button in the manager.

    VM application

This should launch a new browser window and direct you to the front page of your blog with a sample post, as shown below. You can also access the application by launching your Web browser and browsing to the IP address shown in the manager.

WordPress blog home page

Click the Bitnami badge at the bottom right corner of the page. This will display your WordPress administrator credentials, as shown below:

WordPress credentials

Step 2: Log in and start using WordPress

At the end of this step, you will have logged in to WordPress and created a new blog post.

To log in to the WordPress dashboard, follow these steps:

  • Browse to the WordPress dashboard at the URL http://SERVER-IP/wp-admin. Replace the SERVER-IP placeholder with the IP address of the VM as shown in the manager.
  • Log in with the administrator credentials from the previous step.

    WordPress credentials

You should now arrive at the WordPress dashboard, which allows you to manage posts, pages and comments; customize your blog with themes and plugins; import and export content; manage navigation menus; add or delete new user accounts; and much more.

WordPress credentials

You can now add a new post using the following steps:

  • Select the "Posts -> Add New" menu option to create a new post.

    Add new WordPress post

  • Enter a title and content for the post. You can use the formatting tools at the top of the content area to format your post and add hyperlinks or images.
  • Optionally, choose the format and category for your post.
  • Publish it immediately using the "Publish" button.

    Add new WordPress post

And now, when you visit your blog's front page, you should see your new post.

WordPress post publishing

Congratulations! You now have a working, fully-functional WordPress blog in the cloud.

You can keep your WordPress installation up-to-date with the WordPress automatic update feature. To access this:

  • Log in to WordPress using the administrator account.
  • Select the "Dashboard -> Updates" menu item.

    WordPress update

  • Review the resulting page to see if WordPress needs an update. If an update is available, you can install it by clicking the "Update Now" button. You can also re-install WordPress if needed with the "Re-install Now" button.

    WordPress update

To learn more about the topics discussed in this tutorial, use the links below: