Using WordPress offline with XAMPP and Skype playing nice

I’ve spent the last few days playing more with the stuff behind the blog curtain. I prefer to develop my posts offline, drop in my formatting and links and see how everything looks before I actually go online and publish the post. So, I dusted off my offline install of WordPress which I managed to get up and running last year by following the directions I found on LifeSpy.

There are several different ways to get WordPress up and running on your local PC, but I found LifeSpy’s instructions the easiest to implement. Their version makes use of XAMPP which handles the install and set up of  an Apache web server, MySQL and PHP; all needed to get WordPress to cohabitate nicely on your desktop sans an Internet connection.

Sadly, the comments on this LifeSpy post seem to have disappeared; at least, I am unable to access them. During my original install of XAMPP I found the comments as helpful as the original post. Of course, this post is now at least a year old or more, so you might want to dig further for more up-to-date instructions if you want an offline version of WordPress. Regardless, my install still works even after being allowed to lie fallow for a year and the original post proved helpful when I couldn’t remember how to fire it up after so long.

This time I did run into problems with XAMPP.  The Apache server just would not start. Every time I tried to fire up XAMPP I got the message, Run this program only from your XAMPP root directory. A bit of searching on this error message led to the news that XAMPP and Skype (which I now keep running in the background so I can keep up with my kid) do not play well with one another. Both programs want to use port 80; if Skype gets it first, the Apache server will not start. Disable Skype and XAMPP fires right up and the Apache server runs fine.

Getting your cake and eating it too

Well, that’s nice. But what if you want to be able to use your offline WordPress and have Skype running in the background? Back to the search engines and I find that the folks over at the knowledgesutra.com forums offer up an explanation and the solution for me. Turns out that Skype uses port 80 as an alternate port. It is easy to turn this off in Skype by going to Tools | Options | Advanced | Communication and unchecking the box for Use port 80 and 443 as alternatives for incoming connections.

So far, this has worked for me. I did have to completely sign out and then quit Skype, restart and sign in again.

However, be careful! I haven’t a clue of the impact unchecking this option might have on the operation of Skype. On the “to do” list is to find out the significance of not having ports 80 and 443 available for Skype if it happens to want either of them.

If you can help educate me on the significance of these ports to Skype or have other thoughts, please share in the comments.

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