Install WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal on Your Own Computer

Run a CMS on Windows or Mac with VirtualBox and TurnKey Linux

Want to install WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal on your local computer? There are many good reasons to run a local copy of your CMS. Follow these instructions to get started.

Spot Check: Linux Users Can Skip This

If you're running Linux, you may not need these instructions. On Ubuntu or Debian, for instance, you can install WordPress like this:

apt-get install wordpress

It's always surprising when something's easier on Linux.

Basic Steps

On a Windows or Mac, it's a trifle more involved. But it's still a lot easier than you might think. Here are the basic steps:

  • Download the VirtualBox program.
  • Download the virtual disk image for WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal from TurnKey Linux.
  • Start VirtualBox, create a new virtual machine and set it to use the virtual disk image you downloaded.
  • Within VirtualBox, boot this virtual machine. On the first boot, follow simple steps to complete the installation.
  • Now you can easily boot this virtual machine. Once it's booted, you can browse to your local installation of WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal.


This technique basically requires running an entire virtual computer within your computer. So, you'll need a few resources to spare.

Fortunately, TurnKey Linux has put together images that are pretty lean. You're not trying to play Quake here, or serve Drupal to 10,000 visitors. If you've got 1GB or 500 MB of memory to spare you should be fine.

You'll also need space for the downloads. The downloads seem to hover around 300MB, and expand to 800MB. Not bad for an entire operating system.

Download VirtualBox

The first step is easy: download VirtualBox. This is a free, open-source program developed by Oracle. You install it like any other application.

Download Disk Image

The next step is also easy. Go to the TurnKey Download Page, select your CMS, then download the disk image.

Here are the download pages for WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal:

You want the first download link, the "VM" (Virtual Machine). Don't download the ISO, unless you want to burn it to a CD and install it to an actual computer.

The download will be around 200MB. Once you've downloaded it, unzip the file. On Windows, you can probably right-click and select Extract all....

Create a New Virtual Machine

Now you're done downloading. It's time to get making a new virtual machine. Start VirtualBox, and click on the big "New" button to create a new "virtual machine" or "VM".

Screen 1: VM name and OS Type

  • Give the "Virtual Machine" a name, like TurnKey Linux WordPress.
  • Select "Linux" as the operating system, and "Ubuntu" as the version.

Screen 2: Memory

Choose how much memory you want to give this virtual machine. My VirtualBox installation recommended 512 MB; that'll probably work. You can always shut the VM down, configure it to use more memory, and reboot.

If you give it too much memory, of course, there won't be enough left for your real computer.

Screen 3: Virtual Hard Disk

Now our virtual machine needs a virtual hard disk. Fortunately, this is exactly what we just downloaded from TurnKey Linux. Select "Use existing hard disk" and browse to the file you just downloaded and unzipped from TurnKey Linux.

You'll need to drill down through the unzipped folders until you get to the actual file. The file ends in vmdk.

Screen 4: Summary

Review the configuration, and if it looks good, press Create.

More Configuration

Now you're back at the main VirtualBox screen. You should see your new virtual machine in the list on the left.

We're almost there. We just need to do a little more configuration, and you'll be running WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal on your own box.