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Seamus Brady edited this page Apr 5, 2018 · 43 revisions

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What is WordPress?

WordPress is an open source content management system for blogs and websites. You can find out more at the WordPress website.

What is InstantWP?

InstantWP is a version of WordPress that runs on your own Windows or macOS machine so that you can learn, test and develop WordPress websites quickly and easily.

What does InstantWP do?

InstantWP wraps an entire web server into a simple to use interface so that you can start, stop and use WordPress very easily.

So InstantWP can host my website?

No! InstantWP is only for testing and development! You will need a web hosting account with WordPress installed to get your website onto the Internet.

Help! My InstantWP won't start! It just hangs when connecting to the WordPress website!

Try restarting the web server and database and then refresh the web browser...

Start the SSH Terminal by using the SSH Terminal button on the Advanced Tab of the InstantWP Control Panel.

To restart the web server, do the following:

  • Type the command sudo rc-service apache2 restart and then hit enter.
  • The web server should restart without an error.

To restart the database server, do the following:

  • Type the command sudo rc-service mariadb restart and then hit enter.
  • The database server should restart without an error.

Also see the troubleshooting guide in the wiki.

Can I install InstantWP more than once?

Absolutely. We suggest you keep the initial InstantWP setup file somewhere safe and install it as many times as needed. You can even use a different installation for different projects.

Just rename the folder that InstantWP is in.

You can install it as many times as you wish, but only one installation of InstantWP will run at once though using the default configuration. If you change the configuration as outlined in the wiki each site will run independently. After making the suggested changes, you can run multiple installations of InstantWP at once :)

How do I turn off the "InstantWP Unleashed" button?

Edit the configuration file and set the showDeployInfo setting to "no".

Will Multisite work on InstantWP?

I don’t support Multisite on InstantWP but it should work. Just follow the standard multisite installation instructions.

Will InstantWP work on a Mac?

Yes. The macOS is now fully supported from V5.0 onwards. In fact InstantWP is developed on a Mac :)

I cannot delete or move InstantWP! Help!

It can happen that InstantWP does not shut down properly in the background. If this happens, you will need to reboot your machine and then delete or move the InstantWP files.

Where are all my WordPress theme and plugins files stored in IWP 5.x?

Your files are quite safe and stored in the embedded Linux Virtual Machine (VM). The Linux VM is actually in a "qcow2" file in the vm folder if you look. This is where the entire server is squashed up when it is not running. When you start IWP 5.x, the Linux VM starts and the files and folders in the VM are available via a web file manager. It runs in the RAM in your machine, hence the WP files are only available when IWP is running.

How do I put WordPress on a USB key?

Simple – just install InstantWP onto the USB key and it will run as usual.

Can I share InstantWP over the web temporarily using a service like ngrok?

Yes! See the wiki:

Every time I try to install, the InstantWP Control Panel does not work. Any suggestions?

You can try some of the following:

– Try temporarily disabling your Windows or macOS Firewall and/or your anti virus or security software and see if that helps.

– Sometimes InstantWP will not work if the folder path is too long or if there are spaces in the directory. Try moving it.

– Some users have tried running InstantWP from the Windows or Program Files subdirectory. This may work or you may get permission problems. Try running InstantWP from the desktop if this happens.

Also see the troubleshooting guide in the wiki.

After entering the username “admin” I insert a password of my choice and it is rejecting it? What’s wrong?

Try ‘admin’ and ‘password’. That is the default WordPress InstantWP login.

When I log in (with admin/password) it takes me to: “”. I can’t seem to change that – how do I instruct it to go to my live WordPress site?

InstantWP is working as designed – it is just a local copy of WP on your machine.

I am unable to edit main theme (php) files using the build in WordPress editor after upgrading to version 4.9. I get the following error: "Unable to communicate back with site to check for fatal errors, so the PHP change was reverted. You will need to upload your PHP file change by some other means, such as by using SFTP".

What can I do about this?

This is an issue with the server configuration on IWPServer. Unfortunately we do not have a fix for it yet (see This issue is complicated by the fact IWP uses a VM.

However, there is a temporary workaround. Just install the WP Editor plugin ( and use this to edit the theme files. You can always disable it afterwards.

I am getting an error to do with the SimpleXML extension - how do I install this extension?

Try opening up an SSH Terminal and typing:

sudo apk update

sudo apk add php7-simplexml

Just restart IWP afterwards and all should be well.

Am I logging into my live WordPress website through InstantWP?

InstantWP knows nothing about your live WordPress website, they are completely separate unless you have exported your website into InstantWP.

InstantWP is just a test WordPress server that runs on your local machine.

Yesterday I migrated a live server to InstantWP. Before I did this I changed the URL in the live site WordPress Dashboard from the actual live URL to the InstantWP URL. Now I can’t login as the site in InstantWP is forwarding me to the live site. What is wrong?

The problem might be that the website you migrated still has a reference to the live site URL.

I use the plugin below to reset any URLs when this happens:

Hi, I’m totally new to WordPress and I want to install a theme. When I click on the theme, I get a bunch of PHP files. Where do I start? What file do I access first, and how to I employ this theme?

A WordPress theme is just a bunch of php files. Normally it is transported as a zip file.

To install it in InstantWP. just unzip the folder and place the folder into the Themes folder (the one that opens from the Themes button).

It should appear in the WordPress admin section once you refresh it.

The following link might help:

I am getting an error starting a database connection just straight after InstantWP opens up the WordPress frontpage. What's wrong?

This is probably because you are too fast! The VM is still starting up the database. Generally waiting a few seconds or restarting InstantWP will fix this.

How do I fix the error “The uploaded file could not be moved to wp-content”? Or why am I getting WordPress permission errors?

These kind of errors can happen when you moved new files and folders into the WordPress root folder using SFTP or the Web File Manager. Basically, the web server user (apache) does not have the right access to manage the new files.

There is a script supplied with IWP that should fix this.

  • Open up a new SSH session using the SSH Client button on the Advanced tab of the IWP Control Panel.
  • Type in the command below and press enter:


That should fix the issue.

When the size of one of the files in my site exceeded 4Gb, InstantWP stops working! What is wrong? Or is there a 64-bit Windows version of IWP available?

The open source version of IWP is a 32-bit application, so it can only handle files up to 4GB. If your website contains files that are getting bigger than this, you may get some weird issues.

There will be a 64-bit version at some stage in the future, but for now this version of IWP is probably not suitable for your needs if your website is getting this big - sorry!

Why does the Customizer not work for my theme? It is hanging.

This behaviour is sometimes seen with particular themes on particular systems - the Twenty Seventeen theme is one of them. The Customizer is very slow to start. Normally if you wait, it will start. You could also try increasing the amount of RAM that InstantWP is using and restart InstantWP, that may help.

My theme does not work in InstantWP! Help?

Most of the time it is not InstantWP causing the problem 🙂 . It is just WordPress after all. If you go over to the theme developers support forum they should be able help.

I’m working on building a website using InstantWP. Everything worked fine until recently. When I open WordPress Admin, I would get a “500 Internal Server Error”. Please help me resolve this?

This is usually the result of a plugin or theme gone bad! I would remove all the plugins one by one (by removing the folder from wp-content/plugins) and see if you can login then.

Also see the troubleshooting guide in the wiki.

I’m using IWP on a Mac and I get this message when I try to update WordPress or any plugins within the admin console: "Update Failed: Download failed. cURL error 6: Couldn't resolve host ''" - what can I do?

This seems to be a known macOS High Sierra issue...

You must edit the /etc/resolv.conf file from the IWP SSH Console to use the Google DNS. Add these lines:


To avoid overwriting /etc/resolv.conf on each reboot, you must create the /etc/udhcpc/udhcpc.conf file with the line below:


That will probably fix it as per the Alpine Linux forum discussion below:

How do I access my InstantWP from a different machine?

The only thing to caution you about is that IWP is not designed for public facing websites. There is no password on the MySQL database for instance. But you can use ngrok to allow secure access to a local webserver like InstantWP.

How do I directly access the files on the Virtual Machine? I don't want to use the Web File Manager.

Check out the links below on the Wiki:

How do I show the QEMU window on startup? I need to see the Linux Virtual Machine booting to diagnose an issue.

See the troubleshooting guide in the wiki.

InstantWP does not start for me / I am getting a 500 error when accessing WordPress / The database or web server is not working!

See the troubleshooting guide in the wiki.

How do I add new software to IWPServer?

You use the built-in apk tool (an Alpine Linux tool). For instance, if you want to add cURL, a command-line download utility, simply open an SSH session (using the SSH button on the Advanced Tab) and then type the following commands:

sudo apk update

sudo apk add curl

How do I upgrade PHP / MySQL to the latest version in IWPServer?

You use the built-in apk tool (an Alpine Linux tool). Simply open an SSH session (using the SSH button on the Advanced Tab) and then type the following commands:

sudo apk update

sudo apk upgrade

This will upgrade all software to the latest available. Be careful though and see the Alpine Linux web page on package management first, just in case something breaks!

What is the minimum size USB flash drive needed to install and run IWP?

In general, IWP needs about 300MB (it may get bigger as your site gets bigger) so a 1GB USB key would do at the start. But a few gigabytes to spare is probably better so try to get a 4GB key if you can.

When I install new themes and plugins within my IWP install, or add images to the WP media library, where are they being installed/saved? I have IWP on a flash drive and looked in several folders and don't see any of the themes/plugins/images I added to my IWP test site.

IWP has changed since v4.5 - in v5+ there are no theme/plugin folders on your machine as there used to be. Instead, they are actually contained on the Linux Virtual Machine. You access them via the Web File Manager which is accessible on the IWP Control Panel.

Alternatively there is another question ("How do I directly access the files on the Virtual Machine?") in the FAQ on accessing files via the File Manager or Finder that should help :)

Who is behind InstantWP?

Seamus Brady, a software developer from Dublin, Ireland, is the creator of InstantWP.

His company is called Corvideon.

You can find out more about Seamus at