Supercharge local WordPress development with these 6 tools

WordPress powers more than 65% of the websites that used this content management system (CMS) at the time of creation.

Getting started is easy, but comes with a challenging learning curve if you want to get it right. You have hundreds of plugins to test, apply themes or configure settings to build a WordPress website.

Whether you use a drag and drop website builder or custom code, WordPress development takes a long time depending on the complexity of your website.

However, with the help of local WordPress development tools, things are easy to manage — whether you’re collaborating with a client before going live with a site or working on your personal project.

Here I will list some of the best WordPress local development tools and their benefits.

Advantages of developing WordPress sites locally

You can prepay for web hosting, install WordPress for your domain, and get started.

Of course it shouldn’t be a problem if you know what you’re doing.

However, you don’t have to make any payments to start building your WordPress site.

All you have to do is set up a local WordPress development environment and build your website before it’s prime time ready.

Not only to avoid hosting fees, there’s more to on-premises WordPress development that catches the eye.

Let me highlight some of the benefits of developing a WordPress website using local development tools:

Work offline

You don’t need to be constantly connected to the internet to develop a WordPress site.

This is especially useful when you’re traveling or on vacation with poor connectivity. You can continue working on your WordPress project without having to wait for the WiFi.

Break free from hosting restrictions

When choosing a web host for your WordPress site, there may be a few limitations that can affect your workflow.

Especially with the performance of your website.

With a local development tool, You don’t have to worry about performance issues and limitations.

Of course, you’ll have to deal with all hosting issues when you go live with the site. But at least you don’t lose valuable time creating the website.

It is also important to know why not choose cheap web hosting for your WordPress site if you are still deciding on a web host.

privacy

If you upload the files to a hosting service, your website will be public.

If you already have an established website and are working on changing or updating your website, visitors can notice the changes in real time. This can affect the user experience of your visitors.

And if it’s a new website, you might be able to restrict access to the website or keep the URL private. Even then, the hosting provider (or their employees) may need access to your files.

While this may not be important, you still risk leaking your ideas before launching your web portal.

A local development environment allows you to keep your files private unless you’re willing to make them public.

Testing

No matter how popular or trustworthy a plugin/theme is – they all need to be tested.

Extensive testing is important, especially if you run a mission-critical website or expect a large number of visitors to rely on your website in some way.

And with local development tools, you have complete freedom to pause and style your site until everything is compliant. Also, when you update a theme or plugin, you might want to test it locally before trying it on your live site.

You’re not just limited to plugins/themes, you can easily update/upgrade the WordPress version to test how it affects your website. So you can update it on your live website.

This should be especially useful if your hosting doesn’t support a seamless staging environment.

Local WordPress development tools to try

There are quite a few web development tools tailored for WordPress development. Some of the best are:

DevKinsta

DevKinsta is an on-premises WordPress development suite created by the team behind Kinsta (popularly known as a premium WordPress hosting solution).

It makes WordPress site building easy and allows you to do it with a single click. You can also create a multisite and manage them all without any hassle.

Additionally, database and email management tools make it a breeze to develop a WordPress site, whether using preconfigured settings from a theme or introducing custom tweaks. In other words, it is suitable for both beginners and experienced WordPress developers.

You can test your website for errors, different PHP versions and outgoing emails before going live. HTTPS support is also available.

Best of all – it supports seamless integration with Kinsta Hosting. So if you want to host your site there, DevKinsta will make it easier.

LocalWP

Local WP is an impressive WordPress site development tool created by the team behind FlyWheel which also owns WP Engine.

It also offers all the essential features like switching PHP versions for testing, one-click WordPress site creation, and multi-site support.

In addition to the basic WordPress development requirements, it also offers cloud backups (the ability to upload your local copy of a site to Google Drive or Dropbox and download it anywhere).

Like DevKinsta, you also get the ability to monitor logs and test outbound emails.

Local WP makes collaboration easier by generating a live link to access your site’s copy. This way you don’t have to upload the site to your hosting service and still share it with anyone you like.

Unlike other options, Local WP comes with some pre-launch tools like Image Optimizer and Link Checker (identifying broken links) to make it easier for you to deploy a WordPress site.

XAMPP

XAMPP was one of the most popular local web development tools for WordPress until the introduction of the DevKinsta and Local WP options.

It’s still a popular choice for on-premises WordPress development, but you might not find all the options you get with other options above.

With the help of Bitnami modules, you can deploy any supported open source software along with WordPress.

While it supports Windows, macOS, and Linux, there are plans to drop support for most modules (except WordPress) for Linux at the time of writing.

You can work on various web development projects with XAMPP and deploy it to the cloud. It is more of an all-in-one on-premises environment solution for web development projects.

Since it’s backed by VMware as its parent company, you can expect constant improvements tailored to cloud container deployments.

MAMP

MAMP is an alternative to XAMPP that provides a local web server to facilitate development. You can also use it to build and test WordPress sites.

Unlike XAMPP, it is not available for Linux. Besides desktop clients, it also offers a mobile app for iOS and Android to preview your websites.

The only deal-breaker is that MAMP doesn’t offer a one-click installation solution for WordPress with its free edition. However, you do get detailed documentation to find instructions on how to install WordPress.

You must go for MAMP PRO (one-time purchase) to easily install WordPress, switch PHP versions, get Dynamic DNS support, and more features.

In addition to all the basics of a local web server, MAMP PRO also gives you the option of backing up your data in the cloud (Dropbox). This allows you to purchase the cloud add-on separately even if you use MAMP for free.

vagrant

tramp

Tramp is more of a local development tool that you can choose to set up and work on WordPress.

It’s an open-source tool that allows you to create portable development environments that you can use cross-platform and use in a local virtual environment.

As it approaches the concept of creating boxes for everything, you can select an available WordPress box to get a head start and then work your way through.

While not the easiest option for WordPress development, it claims to be light on system resources.

desktop server

DesktopServer is an interesting development suite tailored for WordPress. It offers a free edition and a paid option.

The free version does not support multisite, LAN sharing and some other features. You will also find the ability to work seamlessly with WP-CLI if required.

Overall, you can easily manage virtual host configurations and deploy local WordPress websites with SSL support. It is available for Windows and macOS.

Local WordPress development just got easier

A decade ago, setting up a local web server and building a WordPress website on it was a time-consuming process.

With the help of these amazing development tools, you can build a new WordPress site, test changes to your existing site, and seamlessly deploy them to the cloud.

And it only gets better with time. Make sure you use the tools available to improve your workflow.