Your development environment for WordPress can be either local or remote. But if you are serious about your WordPress website or your development in WordPress in general and want to gain maximum efficiency, you should definitely consider going local.
Local development servers are very popular among the web developers. These tools help you to install and setup your WordPress site locally on your computer (irrespective of your Operating System). Having a local setup enables you to work faster, easier and without dependence on the internet.
On the other side, development on a live server is slow and risky, requires an active internet connection and is not as flexible as its local counterpart.
Here we present some of the most famous and efficient local WordPress development tools:
MAMP is usually the first choice for beginners and its quick setup process and compatibility with WordPress is well appreciated. You can use Apache or Nginx with MAMP and also specify which version of PHP and MySQL is required by your project as it provides support for the multiple of them.
There is also a premium upgrade present which is known as MAMP PRP and it adds tons of extra functionalities to the already existing MAMP. Some of the premium features include services like virtual hosting, Dropbox support, etc.
It has a good community following and hence the solutions to specific problems are easier to find. MAMP PRO is a much better tool as compared to the native MAMP and is largely recommended by a lot of developers.
XAMPP claims to be the most popular PHP development environment and provides support for Windows, Linux as well as Mac OS. It is an easy to install Apache distribution and is completely free.
XAMPP contains MariaDB, PHP, and Pearl. It is worth mentioning that it is one of the oldest local development tool present in the market and hence is little rusty.
Local (by Flywheel)
This a relatively new entrant in this market but has quickly earned its reputation as one of the best local development tools. It was originally called Pressmatic and was a paid service but later Flywheel acquired it and also made its services free of cost for the new users.
Local is considered as a great solution for both beginners and experienced developers as the GUI and setup procedures are really simple and efficient. It is a WordPress centric offering and gives an option to choose to choose server type (Apache or Nginx), PHP and MySQL versions.
Automatic setting up of WordPress, an easy interface, a variety of options when it comes to server choices, and most importantly its free nature makes Local as the hot favorite of the market.
Available for Windows and MacOS, DesktopServer has earned its reputation as a local development option especially made for WordPress. DesktopServer is super quick to set up locally and since it was made specifically for WordPress, the process is very simple.
The free version limits the number of sites which can be installed and that limit is lifted by the premium version. Other than that, this is an excellent tool for beginners and newbies who don’t want to indulge very much in the technicalities and focus on their development. There are some additional advanced features present in the premium version which can be exploited by people if desired.
Scotch Box is a pre-configured Vagrant Box which contains a full array of features required to get you up and running with Vagrant in no time. No special tool is required to set up this system as everything comes in a box.
It is also a super-fast tool and there are negligible chances of it breaking due to updates, etc. It is a free service provided by Scotch.io but has a premium service too which adds some special functionalities like upgraded and higher version of server variants.
This is more command line intensified tool. Also, it is quite difficult to fix problems without prior knowledge of Vagrant. There is a prerequisite that Vagrant and Virtual Box should be preinstalled before setting this up.
Some of the other popular tools for local development are Varying Vagrant Vagrants (VVV) and Valet. The choice completely lies with the developer and experience he/she wants.
It can be a bit tricky to set up a local WordPress development tool and equally challenging to find the best one according to your preferences and use. Having said that, if you’re a beginner and just want to quickly set up a local environment, you should go with Local by Flywheel.