Local: A development tool for WordPress sites
If you’re looking to create a local WordPress website, you can’t go wrong with Local.
This fully-featured tool contains everything you’ll need to set up and use local sites. It’s simple enough for beginners to use, but also offers plenty of advanced features if you want to customize the way your local environment works.
Some of Local’s key features include:
One-click WordPress installations, letting you set up your local sites fast
Local Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) support, to keep those sites safe
Easy access to your local sites’ root files, via Secure Shell (SSH) access
Shareable demo URLs, making it possible to show your site to select people
Customizable environments for developers, helping you configure the way your local site runs
The option to clone sites, export a live site to a local version, and push a local site to live hosting at Flywheel and WP Engine.
An Add-ons Library, allowing you to customize your local development environment with the features you need
Best of all, Local is completely free to use for Mac, Windows, and Linux. This means you can try it out without any risks or obligations involved. Let’s see how it works in action!
How to get started with Local (in 3 Steps)
Fortunately, setting up Local and using it to manage your local sites is a straightforward process. Over the next few sections, I’m going to walk through how to start using it. The process begins with installing the tool itself.
Step 1: Install Local
To download Local, visit the website and hit the Free Download button. Next, choose your platform, and enter some basic information (only the email field is mandatory, and it’s just so we can keep you in the loop on new features and functionality):
Your download should start right away.
Give it a few moments, and then run the installer file. You’ll then be taken to a start-up screen, where you simply need to select the Let’s Go! button:
This will install a few programs that are required for Local to work properly. The installation may take a few minutes to complete. If you receive any prompts during the process, make sure to hit Yes to permit the installer to do its job.
After, you’ll be taken straight to your new Local dashboard:
There are several options to choose from. You can create a new site, which I’ll talk about next. You can also select the cloud icon to connect to managed WordPress hosting services, enabling you to make copies of existing sites and push local sites live.
Finally, in the top-left corner there’s an “Options” menu to let you configure various settings and preferences. However, this is optional—right now you’re ready to create your first local site!
Step 2: Create your local WordPress site
Next up, let’s create a brand-new local WordPress website. To do so, select Create a New Site in your Local dashboard. This will take you to a simple setup wizard, where the first step is to create a name for your site:
You may want to make this something descriptive, especially if you plan to create multiple local sites. You can always change the name of your site later on.
In addition, you can expand the Advanced Options tab to configure a few optional settings if you’d like:
Here you can set a domain and path for your local site, You can choose any domain name and suffix that you’d like, and Local will modify your hosts file to make it work. In our case, we went with demosite.
Local will also automatically create a directory to store your site’s files, but you can also set it to any folder you like.
Once you’ve entered a name for your site, you can continue to the next screen:
Here, you have two options. You can choose Preferred to set up your local site using a recommended set of tools, or select Custom to configure your environment:
The Preferred option works well for most beginner users, while Custom comes in handy for developers with more specific requirements. Just keep in mind that if you go with the Custom option, you won’t be able to connect your local site to Flywheel (in order to publish it live if you so choose). It may also require downloading some additional files.
Either way, continue to the last step once you’re done here:
Being able to quickly create a local WordPress site offers numerous benefits. It lets you develop a new website in peace, and makes it easy to perform testing and troubleshooting without affecting your live site. Local enables you to do all of this easily, while offering plenty of advanced tools to enhance your local development options.