If you’re a WordPress developer, you probably do most of your work in local environments. Developing in a local environment lets you make changes to dev sites quickly and easily. It also greatly reduces the risk of making and breaking changes on a live web server.
It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie developer or an experienced one, you need to test your plugins before implementing on any live site. And what place better than a WordPress localhost server. You can develop and test your developed plugins and themes without worrying.
It is a common practice in the WordPress industry.
However, choosing the best WordPress localhost is difficult as several options are available out there. More importantly, your workflow will vary depending on your pick, so it’s important to know what your options are and what features they offer you.
No worries! We have made that job easy for you. Today, in this blog post, we are going to discuss the best localhost for WordPress users and make a comparison between them. Keep reading.
Practice Your Development Skills In WordPress Localhost Environment
Practice makes a man perfect.
If you’re developing a WordPress theme or plugin, it’s often necessary to make sure that your code runs well on different servers, under different versions of PHP and MySQL. That’s why WordPress localhost servers are so important.
Building a modern WordPress website from scratch takes time. If you want to set up and design WordPress on a live server, you need to spend hours online to get your website up and running. However, if you opt for local installation, an internet connection will only be needed when you want to push the website online.
Besides, you can’t afford to make drastic changes like modifying a theme on a live website. This could break your site, and your website’s uptime and reputation will be severely affected. The better option is to test offline and then make the changes live after exhaustive testing.
Best WordPress Localhost Services
We have several options at our disposal to set up local server environments. To make your job easy, we are mentioning five of the most popular localhost service providers.
- Local by Flywheel
Let’s have a more in-depth look at these local WordPress development environments.
XAMPP is probably the oldest local development environment around you and possibly the most complex one. XAMPP stands for X-platform Apache MariaDB, PHP, and Perl. It is an open-source platform and supports all major operating systems including Windows, macOS, Linux, etc. Also, it’s completely free.
- Lets you set up a software stack including Apache, MariaDB, PHP, and Perl
- Provides the option to choose from multiple XAMPP versions, depending on which PHP release you want to use
- Offers a VM-based local WordPress experience, if you’re a macOS user and download the corresponding version
- Enables you to use a simple dashboard tool to manage all your new services
- Makes it possible to set up WordPress manually, or use a standalone installer (if you want to).
Limitations of XAMPP
- No autonomous process
- No other way but to create database every time
- PHP, MySql version cannot be upgraded without reinstalling.
XAMPP is a 100% open-source package. There’s no premium version with hidden features, so you’re free to use it in any way you see fit.
DesktopServer is a Windows and macOS tool that enables you to create multiple local WordPress websites using a simple step-by-step wizard. Despite the fact that there is a free version of the tool, you still need to register to download it, which is a small price to pay.
- Includes a wizard to help you set up new local WordPress websites
- Enables you to map domains to your local sites
- Lets you duplicate or delete your sites at any time
- Makes it possible to manage up to three local sites, using the software’s free version
- Supports Apache, MySQL, and PHP 5.5.
Limitations of DesktopServer
- The free version offers limited features than other WordPress localhosts
- It only supports a single type of environment.
So far, we’ve only talked about DesktopServer’s free version. There’s also a premium alternative, which starts at $99.95 per year.
MAMP stands for Mac Apache MySQL and PHP. Earlier it was a macOS only application but it’s now available for Windows too. MAMP provides all the tools that is needed to run WordPress on a desktop PC for testing or development purposes.
It does not matter whether you prefer the web server Apache or Nginx in addition to MySQL as a database server, or whether you want to work with PHP, Python, Perl, or Ruby.
- Enables you to set up an environment based on Apache, MySQL, and PHP
- Lets you use different versions of the software, depending on which PHP release you want to set up
- Supports a lot of additional languages, including Python and Perl
- Provides the option to set up local WordPress websites manually.
Limitations of MAMP
- Free version offers limited features
- It doesn’t let you run multiple types of environments at the same time
Throughout this section, we’ve only focused on MAMP’s free version. However, there’s also a premium option available. It starts at $59 for both macOS and Windows.
Laragon provides super fast, easy-to-use, productive and powerful development environment for all. It is portable and very flexible. You can move the Laragon folder around (to other disks, to other laptops, synchronize with Cloud) and the magic of Laragon will be with you.
- Instantly creates local site, no configuration is needed.
- Multiple CMS sites can be created. (e.g. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal)
- Three versions available – Portable, lite, and full.
- Multiple versions of PHP, MySQL, Apache, can be installed.
- Different extensions can be installed.
- Tutorials are available.
Limitations of Laragon
- There is no cloning and migration feature
- Also missing blueprint feature.
Laragon is a 100% open-source package that means it is completely free to download and use.
5- Local by Flywheel
Local by Flywheel is one of the most straightforward tools you can use to set up a local testing environment. As it stands, the application packs plenty of features. There are also further developments on the horizon, such as the ability to import remote sites and enable off-site backups.
- Enables you to set up local WordPress websites with a few clicks
- Lets you monitor the status of all your existing sites from a list
- Provides the option to access your sites’ dashboards, databases, and local directories with a click
- Makes it possible to create live links, to share access to your local projects
- Offers the option to set up blueprints, to easily deploy WordPress websites using the settings you prefer
Limitations of Local by Flywheel
- Supports only WordPress site
- Only perfect for smaller outfits and projects with less strict requirements
Completely free to download and use.
Which WordPress Localhost to Choose
Now, we know the features, strengths, and limitations of all the WordPress localhost services that we have mentioned above. If we make a comparison table of these services, how it will look! Let’s check it out.
|Features||XAMPP||DesktopServer||MAMP||Laragon||Local by Flywheel|
|Does It Use Virtual Machine||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Can Create Any CMS Site?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Have to Create Database Every Time||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Price||Free||Free & Premium||Free & Premium||Free||Free|
All the WordPress localhost applications mentioned here are popular. Each localhost for WordPress will run seamlessly on your machine. However, from our point of view, we can say that if you are using Windows operating system then it’s better to use Laragon and if you are using macOS then use Local by Flywheel.
If you want a cross-platform WordPress localhost, you can choose XAMPP without any hesitation. Because it supports all the major operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, etc. That makes this localhost more popular than any other WordPress localhost exists.
Bonus: How to Install WordPress on Localhost (XAMPP)
To install WordPress using XAMPP server –
- First, download it from the official location.
- Choose your preferred download option, e.g. If you are using windows then choose XAMPP for Windows.
- Install the XAMPP in the default way or choose the component as you required.
You have successfully installed XAMPP on your pc. Now the second part begins. It’s time to install WordPress. But before installing WordPress you have to create a database.
- Run the XAMPP control panel.
- Now start ‘Apache’ and ‘MySQL’. (Apache is the webserver and MySQL keeps your database.)
- Now open your browser and go to ‘localhost/phpmyadmin’
It’s time to create a Database for your site.
- Click on the ‘new button’ from the top left corner
- Put your database name and click on the ‘create’ button. (We have created a database named ‘xampp_site’.)
Database creation is done! Now let’s start installing WordPress.
- Download WordPress from ‘wordpress.org’.
- Extract the zip file and rename to your preferred site name. (we have renamed it to xampp_site)
- Put the folder in your htdocs directory. The default location of htdocs directory is (C:\xampp\htdocs)
- From your browser go to ‘localhost/your_site_name’. (we are entering this address ‘localhost/xampp_site as my site name is xampp_site’.)
- Choose your language and click on the ‘Continue’ button.
- Now put your database name, user name, and password to run the installation. (The default database username is ‘root’ and password is blank.)
- Give your site details and hit the ‘Install WordPress’ button.
Congrats! You have successfully installed WordPress localhost with XAMPP. Now login to your site with the details you have used during installation of WordPress.
Now visit your site and build your WordPress website in the localhost in the way you want. You can visit your WordPress site anytime using the address ‘localhost/wordpress/wp-admin’. (replace ‘wordpress’ with your_site_name. )
Choose a Localhost & Start Developing Now
A WordPress localhost lets developers create a local testing environment to build WordPress websites. Essentially, this environment mimics a live website but is entirely self-contained on the user’s own computer. Once the site is complete, developers can then move the website from their localhost environment to a live server environment.
This can be a massive help for a developer to build and test his site before deploying. So, if you’re a developer, choose the right WordPress localhost, and start deploying sites. You can share your experience through the comment box below.