Table of content
Before downloading or installing anything, you need to provide a home for your PrestaShop online store. This means its files need to reside on a Web server. You might have a Web server of your own, but it is more likely that you have or will have your shop hosted by an Internet hosting service, which provides you with an online home for a few dollars per month.
You may also want to buy a domain-name for your shop. Many web hosts offer a free domain with every new account, but you could also buy one at an independent domain name registrar.
PrestaShop can host your online business on its in-house Web servers; please consult our PrestaBox website for details on our low-priced, secure Website hosting service. This is highly recommended for businesses with little to no experience with the Internet or computers. Naturally, we install and update PrestaShop for you.
Whichever hosting service you use must have the following components installed on your server space:
- System: Unix, Linux or Windows. Unix is highly recommended.
- Web server: Apache Web server 1.3 or later.
- PHP 5.2 or later. (You may have to activate PHP 5 on your hosting service, see below.)
- MySQL 5.0 or later.
- At least 32 Mb of RAM on your server (64 Mb is comfy, the more the better).
PrestaShop can work with PHP 5.1 or later, but versions inferior to 5.2 have bugs that might prevent some functionalities to work as expected (such as invalid date timezone).
PrestaShop can also work with Microsoft's IIS Web server 6.0 or later, and nginx 1.0 or later.
More information is available for system administrators in the System Administrators Guide.
Setting up a local environment
This guide is mainly targeted at users wishing to install PrestaShop on a remote server/host.
You may wish to install on your local machine, either in order to test PrestaShop before investing money in a server and domain name, or to customize your shop locally before you push your modifications to the PrestaShop installation that would already you have online.
Installing any web-application locally requires that you first install the adequate environment, namely the Apache web server, the PHP language interpreter, the MySQL database server, and ideally the phpMyAdmin tool. This is called an AMP package: Apache+MySQL+PHP and the operating system, giving WAMP (Windows+Apache+MySQL+PHP), MAMP (Mac+...) and LAMP (Linux+...). Since all of the items packaged are open-source, these installers are most of the time free.
This would require you to be quite technical; luckily there exist many pre-built packages that you can install easily. It does not prevent you from having to get technical here and there, but they do provide a huge help. Here is a selection of free AMP installer:
Choose the package that you feel the most comfortable with, launch it, and make sure that everything it has installed does work before going on with this PrestaShop installation tutorial:
- The web server should be up and running. You should be able to access it through your browser, by typing "127.0.0.1" in the address bar. 127.0.0.1 is the "localhost", meaning "your computer": it is a loopback address which directs the browser to any local server. In effect, 127.0.0.1 and localhost are synonymous: you can use one or the other interchangeably.
- The database server should be up and running. MySQL is where all your data is stored. The AMP package should provide you with a clear indicator whether MySQL is running or not.
- The phpMyAdmin tool should be accessible. This is the web application that helps you handle data stored in MySQL. Its location depends on which AMP packaging you chose: it can be found at 127.0.0.1/phpmyadmin (XAMPP, WampServer, MAMP), 127.0.0.1/mysql (EasyPHP), or maybe at another location. Check your package's documentation – it might even provide a phpMyAdmin button of sort that would open the correct URL in your browser.
Once you have checked that the package is correctly installed and that all of its parts are running, you need to find the root folder. That's the local folder where you will place your files, and can be compared to the root folder of your online server, only its content is accessed with 127.0.0.1. The actual local location of the folder depends greatly on the AMP package, and can be customized:
- XAMPP: C:\xampp\htdocs
- WampServer: C:\wamp\www
- EasyPHP: C:\easyphp\www
- MAMP: /Applications/MAMP/htdocs/
Finally, you need to know the root user name and password for MySQL, in order to install PrestaShop. Most packages use the user name "root" with an empty password. Read your package's documentation.
With all that clear and done, you can follow up on the rest of this Getting Started guide, keeping in mind that files are not to be uploaded via FTP to a server, but simply to be moved in the correct local folder.