Installing Omeka in a Local Sandbox on a Mac (OS 10.8)

In case anyone should want to try installing Omeka on their local machine before tomorrow’s class, I put together these instructions for doing so on a Mac (to my knowledge it is possible to run a local Omeka installation on Linux and Mac systems, but not Windows).  These instructions were culled in part from the following page:

  1. Normally Omeka runs on a web server, but for testing it is possible to set up a local sandbox installation.  In order to do so, you first need to have working web server software and an SQL database on your computer.  These can be obtained by installing an *AMP (Apache/mysql/php) stack, such as LAMP, MAMP, or XAMPP. For running Omeka on the Mac, XAMPP is recommended and can be downloaded from here:
  2. Once you have XAMPP installed, download Omeka (the latest version is 2, but use 1.5 if you want to also test the Neatline plugin):
  3. Extract the downloaded Omeka folder and move it to /Applications/XAMPP/htdocs/ (this is the root folder of your local web server).
    [N.B. You will probably be prompted to authenticate as an admin user in order to move these files into the Applications folder.]
  4. Install ImageMagick by downloading the installer from ImageMagick is used by Omeka for processing images and creating thumbnails.
  5. Launch XAMPP, and using the “controls” window that will open, start the web server and mySQL.
  6. Open a web browser and go to the location ‘localhost’, where you’ll see the contents of your htdocs folder, which should be the XAMPP splash page.  Choose “english” and you’ll be taken to the main XAMPP control page.
  7. On the left, choose phpMyadmin. phpMyAdmin is software for managing mySQL databases on a web server (or in this case, on server software running locally).
  8. Within phpMyAdmin, click on the privileges tab –> Add new user with the following settings:
    • user name: omeka
    • host: Local
    • password: [choose a password]
  9. Under “Database for User,” make sure to check “create database with same name and grant all privileges.”
  10. Now, you will need to edit the following file: /Applications/XAMPP/htdocs/omeka-1.5.3/db.ini. This can be most easily accomplished through the command line (for example using an editor like vi), but it can also be done with a regular GUI text editor.  Change it so the file has the following settings:
    • host = “localhost”
    • username = “omeka”
    • password = [password you chose above]
    • dbname = “omeka”
    • prefix = “omeka_”
    • charset = “utf8″
    • ;port = “”
  11. In the browser, go to localhost/omeka-1.5.3/ and follow the prompts to configure and begin using your local Omeka site.

7 thoughts on “Installing Omeka in a Local Sandbox on a Mac (OS 10.8)

  1. Another addendum: Step 4, installing Imagemagick, seems to be a sticking point for a lot of people installing Omeka for the first time. My thought was that’s easy installer would avoid such problems, but no dice. Despite having tried out various paths to ImageMagick, I could only get it working properly after I installed it the old fashioned way. I’m appending the basic procedure below, which unfortunately involves a number of preliminary steps:

    1. Install the Xcode developer tools from the Mac App Store. Once that is done, install the command line tools for Xcode: (follow the link for additional developer tools).

    2. Install MacPorts from here:

    3. Once you’ve got Macports installed, you can use it to install imageMagick by running the following command at the command line: $ sudo port install ImageMagick (see also

    I had hoped that my instructions for installation with the much less complicated installer (step #4 above) for ImageMagick would work, but in the end I’ve had to revert to the old fashioned method to get Omeka up and running. Once you’ve installed ImageMagick this way, the path listed in step one of the previous addendum should work.

    • I followed all the steps, I installed ImageMagick with the old fashioned method but at the end I always end up with the same expression on the screen: “Omeka has encountered an error”
      I could not manege to see the problem because I cannot find the .htaccess file.
      Any ideas?

      • Hello Mesut, Turning on error reporting is the way to go. If you are using a Mac (which I assume since this post was written for Mac users!) then you might not be able to find the .htaccess file because it is classed as a ‘hidden’ file by the OS. To see the hidden files in a directory you can use the command “ls -a” while in the directory in your terminal window. To toggle the visibility of hidden files in the Finder, you can use the following command in the terminal:
        defaults write AppleShowAllFiles '1'
        Then restart the finder with:
        killall Finder
        To toggle back to invisibility of those files, do:
        defaults write AppleShowAllFiles '0'
        and then restart Finder with the above command.
        There are also instructions for toggling the visibility of hidden files in the finder on this Apple Support page:
        I also recommend asking for help on the Omeka forums:

  2. Nice , i can try my own omeka and if i want my local omeka to online setting is same or i have to change something ? Sorry I’m still a beginner in this case

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