Although WordPress hosting has become very affordable and easy to use – sometimes its just better to working on your site or an upcoming project locally (on your computer rather than a server). Building your site on your PC/Mac allows you to work on things anywhere, regardless of an internet connection. A great example of this is many of our customers like to plan out there new sites and get to grips with the theme at there own pace without having to invest in hosting, or better yet, if your considering upgrading your theme to one from our portfolio – you can take some time moving things over, without having to take your site down temporarily.
This post highlights our top picks of software you can use today to install WordPress onto your PC or Mac so you can be developing your brand new site in no time.
By far one of the most popular solutions for developing sites on your pc is the wonderful program, XAMPP. The software is totally free to use and comes packed with everything your going to need to get going. XAMPP is available for major operating systems including Windows, OSX and many Linux distros and is a simple to follow installable package and is bundled with PHP and Apache (so you can run WordPress of course) as well as optional FTP software in the form of FileZilla. For more advanced users you also have a neat Terminal you can use, though I suspect you wont be reading this article if thats something you know about.
If the above looks like something you want to try, then head over to the XAMPP homepage now and download the latest version.
MAMP and MAMP Pro
Though on the surface, MAMP and XAMPP look like very similar pieces of kit and for the most part, you are right – they both provide similar functionality, however MAMP is certainly worth mentioning as in my opinion MAMPs user interface is much more user friendly and, should you opt to upgrade to MAMP Pro, it makes the process of creating custom urls for your local items a total breeze.
This easy to use interface make switching PHP versions incredibly simple too, just requiring a couple of clicks – and it also supports a fabulous wizard which can install WordPress and its database (which can be accessed via a custom URL such as localwp.dev) in no time. MAMP Pro has become my personal weapon of choice for developing locally because of this – so if its extensive list of features has whetted your appetitie then head over to the MAMP homepage and give either the free version a whirl of even from the pro edition for 14 days to see how it can benefit you.
Up until I discovered MAMP, my favourite solution for working locally with WordPress was the excellent InstantWP. Although only available for Windows – InstantWP is the simplest possible way to get a working local installation of WP in seconds. The software has no options, it simply installs a local copy of WP in a self contained server, so all you need to do is to install the the package and hit ‘begin’.
The key part of this however, and the main reason I swore by InstantWP was the installable package and be run on a USB stick! Which means you have a truly portable, fully working WP install you can take with you and work on, on any machine! If you want to try the program for yourself – head over to the InstantWP homepage and grab yourself a copy today – free of charge.
Moving Your Site Online
Once you have your locally developed site ready to launch, moving your site can be a daunting task. Thankfully we have created a guide for this process over in another article so be sure to check out Migrating your WordPress site for more. If your looking for tips on pricking the best hosts for you, we have a guide for that too.