Get Started with Bitnami Applications using an Installer

Introduction

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 native installer. Bitnami provides pre-packaged images for automated setup of popular server software on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux platforms. Each installer includes all of the software necessary to run out of the box, and it's also completely self contained. 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 native installer to deploy a new server application on your local development system.

Overview

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 Stack
  • Log in and start using WordPress

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

NOTE: Bitnami native installers are available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux platforms. This tutorial uses a Mac OS X native installer, but similar steps apply on Windows and Linux platforms. Platform-specific notes are included where necessary in the following sections.

Step 1: Install WordPress using the Bitnami WordPress Stack

At the end of this step, you will have installed the Bitnami WordPress Stack.

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

  • On Windows and Mac OS X, begin the installation process by double-clicking the installation executable. On Linux, give the installer executable permissions and then execute the installation file, as shown below:

     $ chmod 755 bitnami-APPNAME-VERSION-linux.run
     $ ./bitnami-APPNAME-VERSION-linux.run
    
  • Select the installation language if prompted. You will be greeted by the welcome screen. Click "Next" to proceed.

    Installation process

  • On the resulting component selection screen, select "WordPress". You may optionally also choose to install phpMyAdmin and Varnish. Click "Next" to proceed.

    Installation process

  • Select the installation directory for the Bitnami WordPress Stack. Click "Next" to proceed.

    Installation process

  • Enter your name, email address, WordPress username and WordPress password. These last two values will be needed to log in to the WordPress administration panel in the next step, so note them carefully. Click "Next" to proceed.

    Installation process

  • Enter a name for your WordPress blog (you can always change it later) and click "Next" to proceed.

    Installation process

  • WordPress (and many other applications) can send email notifications on certain events, such as comments on posts. In case you'd like to receive these notifications, check the box to configure mail support and choose whether you'd like email to be sent via your Gmail account or a third-party SMTP server. Click "Next" to proceed.

    Installation process

  • Depending on the options selected on the previous screen, you'll now be prompted to enter either your Gmail username and password, or the credentials and other details for your SMTP server. Enter this information and click "Next" to proceed.

    Installation process

  • Choose whether you'd like to read about Bitnami Cloud Hosting and click "Next" to proceed, then "Next" again on the final screen to begin the installation process.

    Installation process

The application will now begin installing to the directory you specified. The process usually takes a few minutes: a status indicator provides a progress update.

Installation process

Once installation is complete, you will see a success message. Check the box to launch the Bitnami WordPress Stack and click "Finish" to complete the installation.

Installation process

This should launch a new browser window with a welcome screen, as shown below. You can also access this welcome screen by launching your Web browser and entering the URL http://localhost or http://localhost:8080 (depending on which platform you're using and whether you installed the stack as an administrator or regular user) into the browser address bar.

Stack welcome page

Click the "Access WordPress" link and you should see the front page of your blog with a sample post, as below:

WordPress blog home page

Bitnami native installers include a graphical tool to manage the database and Web servers. This tool is named manager-windows.exe (on Windows), manager-osx (on Mac OS X) or manager-linux-x64.run (on Linux) and is located in the installation directory. To use this tool, double-click the file and then use the graphical interface to start, stop or restart servers. Server log messages can be checked in the "Server Events" tab.

Graphical manager

A control script is also available to easily manage servers from the command line. For more information, refer to the FAQ for your platform.

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, usually at the URL http://localhost/wordpress/wp-admin or http://localhost:8080/wordpress/wp-admin.

  • 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.

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: