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Just like when you host your WordPress installation on a web host, you can access the files of WordPress itself when it's hosted on MAMP on your desktop. That's actually part of the reason why you want to install WordPress on your desktop choosing MAMP, because then you can work with the files in WordPress on your computer, and you don't have to access a web host whenever you want to make a change. So let's take a look at how that works. First, let's look again at WordPress as it is installed on our computer.
You will remember I installed it under documents, I created a folder called Sites, and under that folder I placed WordPress. As you can see, I never really made any changes to the installation itself. This is WordPress as it was downloaded. The only difference is that when I installed WordPress and made WordPress talk to the database, WordPress created a new file called wp-config. Originally, when you installed it, all you would have was this wp-config-sample file.
So what WordPress did was it took this file and then added the configuration options into it and made the wp-config file. So this is the file the controls WordPress talking to MAMP. The files that you will be working with when you're working with WordPress are generally found under wp-content folder. Here you have your plug-in and your themes. So let's first see how this works. If I go in to WordPress on my dashboard, I can go to the WordPress toolbar, go down to Themes, and I see that here I have two themes installed.
I have the Twenty Twelve themes, and I also have the Twenty Eleven theme. If you look at the folder for themes you see we have twentyeleven and twentytwelve installed. If I now go and install a new theme-- so I will quick Install Themes and then search for twenty ten, I find the Twenty Ten theme, and I click install now. The theme is now downloaded from the Internet and placed into WordPress.
If I go back to my themes folder, you see now we have three folders here, twentyeleven, twentytwelve, and also twentyten. This gives you both an idea of what happens when WordPress installs a theme and also a plug-in, and it also shows you that if you want to install a new theme or new plug-in, you can either do it from the WordPress admin panel by using the installer function that I just showed you, or you can download or create your own folders with the correct files in them and dump them straight into the themes folder or straight into the plug-in folder inside your WordPress installation on your computer, and it'll automatically become active on WordPress itself.
This is why you want to install WordPress on a computer. Now you can work with the files directly on your computer and whenever you make a change to that file on your computer, that change automatically shows itself in your WordPress installation as well. As you can see, the great thing about having a local installation of WordPress is that you have full access to WordPress at the click of a button. That means you can build your child themes, your themes, your plug-ins, and do whatever experiments you want in a safe environment that doesn't require web access. Pretty cool, eh?
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