Recently, I received an email from a curious reader who was interested in using WordPress but wanted to know if it was possible to try out the system before signing up to a hosting site. Basically, he was seeking to know if there was a kind of “trial version” available for users to download and use while learning about the features of the software.
Some people don’t want to pass through the stress of signing up for a product or service online and later again discover that it wasn’t for them. The same applies here. Unfortunately, WordPress does not offer a real “free trial” option. While this feature is readily provided by some website builder services like Squarespace, Weebly, as well as a number of eCommerce platforms like Bigcommerce and Shopify, nothing of such is available for self-hosted WordPress.
One of the best ways to get a real insight into a program is by messing around with its features. Regardless of the amount of tutorial videos you watch or setup guides you read, there is no better way to understand software operations than this.
On a practical note, here are some common ways users can get to learn more about WordPress before signing up for hosting.
1. Try WordPress.com
WordPress.com is the commercial product of WordPress software. Users can sign up for free accounts on this website to learn more about its features on subdomain.
However, it is important to note that this only presents a strictly limited version of WordPress itself. While every user can get a feel of its general outlook, not all plugins can be tried on its limited version.
Nevertheless, those looking to try WordPress can still be able to decide on whether to continue with the system or not, particularly now that it incorporates 3rd-party plugins.
Some common features that can be tried on wordpress.com include:
- Adding a Menu under Appearances
- Selecting a new “Theme” under Appearances
- Creating a “post” and a “page”
2. Consider Using Public Test Servers
Getting on a publicly accessible server to employ an installation of WordPress is another helpful means of trying the software. While this option is rarely used as a result of spam, it is, however, good to know that there is still a significant number of WordPress plugin developers, as well as some hosting companies that adopt this method.
There is service that users can employ to set up a quick, provisional, efficient installation of WordPress. Known as ShiverWeb Sandbox for WordPress this service which is only meant to last for a week can be used by anyone to test run a self-hosted WordPress installation and get to see how it works on a hosting server.
Generally, it is good to try a product before buying it. All you need to do is to set up a temporary test site (that will only last up to a week) and get to know how posts are created, plugins are added, etc. By now, you should know that this is the same WordPress software that will be installed on your own host.
Typically, users can use the temporary install to perform the following tasks:
- Change a design by selecting a new “Theme” under Appearances
- Search for plugins and install any of your choice
- Organize your site by creating a new “post” or “page”
3. Use Your Own Computer
Among all three, this is the most technical option. However, it is outrightly doable. Basically, it can be done by setting up your computer as a server and then installing a downloaded application of WordPress on the computer.
These setups use the database language of WordPress (PHP/MySQL) to create a server. Before you can access WordPress on your browser, you will need to install the software on your server.
In order to effectively get this done, most users often prefer to install WAMP on Windows first before installing the WordPress software. Below is a simple guide that can be followed.
Whether you own a Mac or Windows operating system, you can efficiently get this done by using a freemium software known as Desktop Server.
Basically, the main objective here is to create a real server environment that will enable WordPress features like themes and plugins to work efficiently on your computer setup.
Users can either choose to go live by simply making use of a plugin-like Duplicator or by manually moving their site. To a large extent, this can be really complicated. But this is just what should be done by those looking to try WordPress before purchasing hosting.
Using the Desktop Server method can be very helpful for anyone looking to continue with the process.
This article WordPress on Google Cloud for Free managed to shed more light on the process.
While there are no many options available for self-hosted WordPress tasks, there are still some effective options users can adopt toperform with the task.
As a matter of fact, users can also take good advantage of the gracious refund policies of some hosting companies like that of HostGator’s 45 days and InMotion’s 90 days refund policy.
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