MAMP is dead easy to use. What it does is run a local webserver on your Mac. I was able to get it working as soon as I installed it, and that is saying something. You install it … the download comes with the free version, MAMP and a more powerful paid version, MAMP Pro. You get a free trial of the Pro version, but you don’t need it for this. After installing, you will have a MAMP folder in Applications, and inside that MAMP folder is a folder called htdocs.
Now set up RapidWeaver to publish to “local folder” and use the path “/Applications/MAMP/htdocs” - you don’t even have to remember the path, just use the “choose” button to navigate to the htdocs folder. Once the website is published, run the MAMP application. You get a gray box with a few options. Click “Start Servers”, the rightmost icon. Don’t worry about any of the other options. After a moment a new tab/browser window will open, with a blue header and a bunch of other info you can ignore for now. The top menu has “My Website” second from left. Click that, and you will see the website you just published. It will work just like any other website. When you want to shut it down, close the browser window, go back to the MAMP application and choose “Stop Servers”, then close MAMP.
I will copy the htdocs folder to htdocs_backup or something, then delete the contents and republish. This way I can try out multiple sites, or variations on the same site from different RW projects, and swap them in and out. This is all you need to do to run a local website - you can ignore all the complex choices for now. Your site will work fine with just the default choices.
If you do decide to publish your site on the internet, you can simply FTP the files in the htdocs folder to the proper location on your web host (ask for their documentation) instead of using RapidWeaver to publish. I use Yummy FTP for that. Faster than RW’s publishing process, and Yummy FTP will synch the folders to save upload/download time and will also remove any “orphan” files left over from an older version.