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How To Set Up A WordPress Development Environment?

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Written By: author image Komal Bothra
author image Komal Bothra
Set Up A WordPress Development Environment

Developing WordPress websites often involves a delicate balance between creativity and technical precision. A safe and controlled environment is paramount whether crafting a new site, experimenting with plugins and themes, or updating existing websites. This is where setting up a WordPress development environment comes into play. It’s a critical step for maintaining your work’s integrity and ensuring a seamless user experience upon deployment.

This comprehensive guide delves into the essentials of a WordPress development environment. We’ll explore its significance in the development process and outline a straightforward, step-by-step approach to setting up your environment. Let’s embark on this journey to streamline your WordPress development process!

What Is a WordPress Development Environment?

WordPress Development Environment
A Showcase of an Easy-to-Set-Up WordPress Development Environment

A WordPress development environment is a specialized setup where developers can build, test, and modify WordPress websites, plugins, or themes before deploying them to a live server. This environment acts as a safe space, distinct from the production or live website, allowing experimentation and error without impacting the user experience or website functionality. Two primary types of WordPress development environments exist: local and remote/hosted.

What Is a Local WordPress Development Environment?

A local WordPress development environment refers to a setup where the development version of a WordPress site is hosted on the developer’s personal computer. This setup allows the WordPress developer to work on the website offline without an internet connection. It’s ideal for:

  1. Rapid Development and Testing: Changes can be tested instantly without uploading files to a server.
  2. Privacy and Security: The site is not publicly accessible, which is beneficial for working on new features or addressing security vulnerabilities.
  3. Cost-Efficiency: There’s no need for web hosting or server costs for the development phase.

Tools like WAMP, MAMP, XAMPP, and Local by Flywheel are commonly used to create local WordPress environments, providing a stack of software (Apache, MySQL, PHP) necessary to run WordPress on a personal computer.

Read: How to set up and launch your WordPress site?

What Is a Remote/Hosted WordPress Development Environment?

A remote or hosted WordPress development environment is set up on a web server, not the local machine. This environment can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection and is often provided by web hosting companies. Key aspects include:

  1. Collaboration: Ideal for teams, as multiple people can access and work on the site from different locations.
  2. Real-world Testing: Offers a more accurate test environment, especially for performance and server-related issues, as the site is hosted on a server similar to the live environment.
  3. Ease of Deployment: Moving the developed site to live hosting can be more straightforward since it’s already on a remote server.

Both local and remote development environments serve the same purpose of providing a safe, controlled setting for WordPress development. Still, they differ in accessibility, collaboration potential, and how closely they mimic the live server environment. The choice between them depends on the specific needs and workflow of the developer or development team.

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Setting up a WordPress Development Environment

Setting up a WordPress development environment is straightforward, whether you choose a local or remote environment. Here are the crucial steps for both approaches:

Local WordPress Development Environment

Install a Local Server Software

Choose a local server software like WAMP (for Windows), MAMP (for Mac), XAMPP (cross-platform), or Local by Flywheel. These tools provide the necessary Apache, MySQL, and PHP stack to run WordPress.

Download and Install WordPress

  • Visit the website.
  • Download the latest version of WordPress.
  • Extract the files and place them in the directory set up by your local server software (e.g., www directory for WAMP or htdocs for XAMPP).

Create a Database

  • Access your local database management tool (like phpMyAdmin).
  • Create a new database for your WordPress installation.

Configure WordPress

  • Navigate to your local site URL (e.g., http://localhost/your-site-name).
  • Follow the WordPress installation wizard, connecting the WordPress files to your newly created database.

Install Themes and Plugins

Once WordPress is installed, you can add themes and plugins via the WordPress dashboard to mimic the setup of your live site.

Remote/Hosted WordPress Development Environment

Choose a Hosting Provider

Select a hosting provider that offers staging environments or supports WordPress. Many hosting providers have one-click WordPress installation features.

Set Up a Staging Site

  • If your hosting provider offers a staging environment, use their tools to set up a staging site.
  • If not, install WordPress on a subdomain or a hidden directory manually.

Install WordPress

  • Utilize the one-click installation feature if available.
  • Alternatively, manually upload WordPress files via FTP and create a database through your hosting control panel.

Configure Your Site

  • Access your remote WordPress installation through the provided URL.
  • Complete the installation process, linking the files to your database.

Synchronize with Live Site (optional)

If you’re working on an existing site, use plugins or manual methods to sync the live site with your development environment.

Develop and Test

Work on your themes, plugins, and site content. Test everything in the hosted environment.

Seeking A WordPress Developer To Build Your Website?

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