Choosing a Local Development Environment For WordPress

Interested in making a custom modification to your WordPress site? You’ve probably landed on a tutorial or blog post that gives you a snippet of code to add to a header or single post file. If you managed to add this code using the WordPress code editor you may be astonished to find your site is broken now. This could have been avoided with a local development environment, where you can test changes before taking them “live.”

In this article, we’ll take a look at:

Without a local development environment, you will not be able to properly test changes on your WordPress site. But in addition to a local host, you should also have a staging site. Our WordPress hosting lets you easily create an additional site on a subdomain, so you can develop your site this way:

Local host -> staging.example.com -> example.com.

By developing your site this way, you can ensure quality all the way up.

AMP Stacks

AMP stands for Apache, MySQL, and PHP. An AMP stack gives you all the software you need to run a WordPress host on your personal computer. Advanced users often install AMP stacks manually. But this requires a lot of command line experience and tedious editing of configuration files.

That’s why there’s a whole host of integrated AMP software on the market.

XAMP and MAMP

For most users, XAMP provides an easy solution. With one installation, you can automatically create as many virtual hosts as you need. It includes all the software you’ll need and there’s a Windows, Mac, and Linux version available to cover virtually all users. Similarly, MAMP provides services along the same lines as XAMP, but it has a different interface.

Laragon

Laragon is a good solution for Windows users. Unfortunately, there is no Mac or Linux version as of this writing. Laragon lets you easily create a blank host where you can use PHP, MySQL, or whatever server-side languages your app requires. Or, you can install a WordPress host with a few clicks. For those who need an SSL, Laragon easily adds a Let’s Encrypt certificate to your host, so you can develop your app with secure links.

Migrating To WordPress

The primary benefits of using local development environments are:

  • Access to source files
  • Testing changes/updates before uploading to production
  • Free play, instructional, educational purposes

It’s important to note that development environments listed in this article automatically create custom hostnames (site.local, for example). These will need to be updated before migrating a WordPress site to a server. Or, you could use a hosts file modification.

Migrating your site can be a complicated process. That’s why there are migration plugins that help. You are best advised to get help from a WordPress expert in your area, or contact InMotion Hosting live support.

(If you want to try it on your own, check out the migrations addon from the UpdraftPlus plugin.)

Selecting the right local development environment depends on your comfort level and what your goals may be. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

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