Do you want to build a WordPress website offline on your machine? If you wish to, keep reading this post!
Making changes to the live environment is not preferred. When we run a WordPress site, we might need to add extra codes to our WordPress installations on several occasions. For example, if you need to add a new image size to your WordPress site, you have to make some adjustments inside your themes’ functions.php file.
Making these changes in a live environment is not recommended by most experts, including us. The thing is, a single line of wrong code will affect the site. If the code is not correct, your website can go offline. If you are running an eCommerce store with conversions, sales will bring a lot of canceled orders.
The best way to fix this issue is by creating a staging environment or create a WordPress website offline. When you use any premium WordPress hosting companies like Cloudways, Kinsta, WP Engine, or Flywheel, they provide a staging environment for their clients.
But what about shared hosting users?
For helping those, we have come up with a solution. This article will show you how you can build a WordPress website offline on your Windows/ Mac machine and start using it!
Why Do You Need to Build a WordPress Website Offline?
Creating a WordPress website offline will help you when you need to test new codes or run some plugin/theme/core updates. If you plan to create a new WordPress theme or plugin for your business, having a WordPress website offline would be great.
Instead of paying for a hosting company, you can create a free website on your Windows or Mac machine. So, it is good to have a WordPress website offline.
How To Create a WordPress Website Offline – Local By Flywheel Method!
We will be using software called Local by Flywheel for creating the environment. Local is a freemium, feature-rich software developed by the Flywheel hosting team. Now, let’s see how we can use it to make a development environment. The first thing you need to do is, download the software to your computer.
You will need to select your machine OS.
As you can see above, Local comes in four variants.
- Mac version
- Windows version
- Ubuntu Version
- Red Hat/ Fedora, CentOS version
In our case, we are running on a windows machine. So, select the appropriate software version from there. After that, you need to enter your name, email address for downloading the software.
After filling out that form, you can download the software.
It will take some time according to your current internet speed. You have to wait till the download completes. Once you have completed the download, you need to install it on your computer.
After completing the installation, you can start using the software.
Local by Flywheel comes with an excellent user interface.
We have just installed the software. So, we haven’t created any websites. For making your first website, click on the + CREATE A NEW SITE button.
They will ask for your website’s name. You can enter your website’s title here.
If you check the advanced options section, you can see more configuration options.
From there, you can customize the domain name and site path. By default, the software will assign a domain name for your website according to your website’s title. Once you have made the changes, click on Continue.
Now, you need to choose your environment type. You can select a preferred environment or a complete custom environment according to your needs.
If you check the above screenshot, they recommend these configuration options:
- PHP – 7.3.5
- Web Server – NGNIX
- MySQL – 8.0.16
If you need a custom setup, click on the Custom section.
If you choose the Custom install, you can select the PHP version, Web Server, and Database from there. In our case, we will be using the preferred install.
Finally, you need to enter your username and password. Plus, add an admin email there. Once you have done that, finish the installation.
The software will take care of the rest. Local will take several minutes to finish the install.
After several minutes, you will see your new local installation on the screen.
If you need to visit the staging site, click on the Open Site button.
On your default web browser, the site will be opened.
For accessing the admin area, try /wp-admin at the end of the URL. On the other hand, you can also do the one-click WordPress admin accessing from the Local dashboard.
Using the username and password you provided while setting up the site, log in to the WordPress admin area.
From here, you can manage your WordPress site. Just like the standard WordPress installation, you will get every feature here. Once you have done with the playground, it is essential to stop the engine.
Local is using our system resources for powering up the site. To keep our computer optimized for performance, you need to stop the site every time you are done with it. And later, you can start the site before using it.
The Local by Flywheel software comes with several add-ons.
The popular ones are:
- Xdebug + Phpstorm
- Xdebug + VS Code
- Image Optimizer
- Atlas: Headless WP
If you are interested, you can help the team to build more add-ons. The free version of Local is good enough for beginners and self-starters. Well, there is a premium version of Local is available with more features.
The premium version of Local by Flywheel will cost you $20/ month if you prefer monthly billing.
If you are good with the annual billing, you can get the premium version for $199/ year. The annual payment will give you 2 months of free usage.
The premium features you can get in the Local Pro are:
- Priority Support
- Instant Reload
- Live Links
- Broken Link Checker
And so on.
Plus, you can sync your Local websites to Flywheel and WP Engine to better website management.
What Are The Advantages of Local By Flywheel?
Local by Flywheel comes with several advantages. We will list the main ones below.
The free version of Local by Flywheel is free forever. They will never ask for your Credit Card details or payments. You can use the software for a lifetime.
No Manual Actions
When you use similar software to create a staging environment, we need to manually create a MySQL database and install WordPress manually. If you are in a hurry, bad luck. Doing these things manually will take a lot of time for beginners.
On the other hand, Local by Flywheel doesn’t need any additional actions. Once you have added the site name, configured it with the server requirements, you are good to go.
Within seconds, you will have a complete ready staging environment ready to use. On top of that, Local comes with an excellent user interface.
One-Click WordPress Admin
Some people prefer one-click logins. And there are several WordPress hosting companies are providing one-click WordPress logins. The one WordPress hosting company we used with one-click log-in is GreenGeeks.
The good thing about this is, we do not need to enter username and password whenever we need to manage the website. Local got the same feature.
From the website management screen, you can turn on the one-click log-in feature.
You can specify a user from the dropdown if you have multiple users inside the blog. By default, Local will only create one administrator. You can always add more users to the site by logging in to the site, going to the profiles section.
Some of us are web designers. If you are working with a client on a custom website design, Local can help you with it. We won’t be editing our live websites and modifying the colors there.
Instead, we will be using any staging sites for the work. After completing that, we will give access to our client. If they are happy with the design, we can proceed with migration and similar things.
Without using any other WordPress hosting companies, we can create a playground using our system and Local. And once we are done with the customization, you can turn on the live link feature to make it publicly accessible.
The link can be shared with your client. Not so many staging software are offering this feature.
WordPress developers can also use the same feature for better productivity.
Unlimited Local Installations
With Local by Flywheel software, you can create unlimited staging environments. If you are using any hosting company like Cloudways for starting a staging environment, you are using your hosting resources. So if your live website is using 20GB of disk space, your staging environment will also use the same disk space. That’s 40 GB in total.
If you are limited by disk space, this is not a good option for you.
With Flywheel, you can use your computer resources for powering your staging site. You can test the codes on a complete basic WordPress install or migrate your live site to the staging site using WordPress backup plugins like BackupBuddy.
This is how you can create a WordPress website offline and create a development environment for testing codes, plugins, or themes. We hope you have found this article helpful and enjoyed the read. If you did, please consider sharing this post with your friends and fellow bloggers on social media.
If you are looking for more WordPress tutorials, theme reviews, and plugin reviews, feel free to check out our WordPress archives section. If you need another software for creating a staging environment, check out DevKinsta, developed by Kinsta.
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