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What are the steps to setup Wordpress/XAMPP for multiple test sites?

I am very new to creating websites so I realize I may be making some dumb responses.  My apologies in advance.

I want to have a local development/test environment on my Win XP PC.  I have installed XAMPP and WordPress 3.2 on my PC and currently have one test site running.  

My main question is how to setup additional test sites on the same PC.  I have seen many tutorials, etc on the web that do a good job of explaining how to get the first site operational but I haven't found complete instructions for going beyond this.  There always seem to be some reference/instruction that is either vague or incomplete.  

A sub-question to this:  How difficult will it be to upload the development sites to the web-hosting provider when they are ready?  Does anyone have an opinion whether Instant WordPress would facilitate this?  
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donthee
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donthee
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Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
>> My main question is how to setup additional test sites on the same PC

You would just keep installing new instances of WordPress into subdirectories of localhost and creating new databases for each one.  

So:

http://localhost/site1/
http://localhost/site2/
http://localhost/site3/
...

you get the point.

>> How difficult will it be to upload the development sites to the web-hosting provider when they are ready?

Moderate.  When you create local instances of wordpress as http://localhost/site1/ etc, all of the content you create locally will get links and paths as http://localhost/site1/.  Moving everything from a local to remote host isn't tough, but you will need to do a find and replace on the database tables to change http://localhost/site1/ to http://www.livesite.com/
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Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
>>  Does anyone have an opinion whether Instant WordPress would facilitate this?  

It wouldn't.  Instant WordPress is just a fast way to install.
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dontheeAuthor Commented:
This is where I need amplification:

"just keep installing new instances of WordPress into subdirectories of localhost"  

     How do I install new instances of WP?

     Are the subdirectories under c:\xampp?   How do they get created?

     The current structure with one site running:

          c:\xampp
               \htdocs
                    \wordpress

          what will this look like after the 2nd site is setup?

"creating new databases for each one."  How do I do that?
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Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
>> How do I install new instances of WP?

Make a new folder under htdocs and unzip the WordPress install package there

>> Are the subdirectories under c:\xampp?   How do they get created?

You actually want C:\XAMPP\htdocs\  and you create the subdirectories.

>> what will this look like after the 2nd site is setup?

          c:\xampp
               \htdocs
                    \wordpress
                    \site2
                    \site3

>> "creating new databases for each one."  How do I do that?

Use the instance of phpmyadmin that came with XAMPP to make new databases.  From the landing screen of phpmyadmin look for:

MySQL localhost
    Create new database

under "Actions"
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dontheeAuthor Commented:
So, looking at my current directory structure with one site running, is the first site running from the \wordpress subfolder?   The DB name I gave it is "RCI", which appears in the \xampp\mysql\data subfolder.  Is this correct?  

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Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
Don't look at the MySQL stuff from the folders...it will just confuse you.

For WordPress, just look at the URL in browser.  It should say http://localhost/wordpress/ , right?  The actual name of the site within WordPress is irrelevant to the proceedings :)
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dontheeAuthor Commented:
You are right, the URL for the first site (RCI) is as you say.  

Would it work to rename the \wordpress folder to \rci to maintain some consistency in the way i intend to organize my sites?  or does a \rci folder have to be created via the WP install process?  If I have to do it as an install, can I just leave the \rci folder that already exists in the \mysql subfolder?

BTW, I have followed your instructions to setup the second site and it seems to be running correctly.  I think I am too inexperienced in this area to have read between the lines with some of the other instructions found on the web.
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Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
>>Would it work to rename the \wordpress folder to \rci to maintain some consistency in the way i intend to organize my sites?

Sort of.  What you would need to do is all of the following:

1) Change the URL in WordPress Settings: (Settings | General) to http://localhost/rci/

2) Change the folder name in Windows.

3) Download, install and run the Search and Replace plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/search-and-replace/ to fix all instances of http://localhost/wordpress to http://localhost/rci/

The problem is that when you change a URL for an existing WordPress installation, WordPress doesn't go back through the database tables and fix every instance of the old URL.  So step #3 is critical.

Incidentally, those three steps are a part of what you will have to do to move a locally developed site to regular hosting.
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dontheeAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your instructions re changing the folder name.  This no doubt saved me asking in the future.  

And thanks for your help and patience.  
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dontheeAuthor Commented:
Thanks for a very quick and thorough approach to my problem.
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