When it comes to developing on WordPress locally, you have a few options. You have the tried and tested XAMPP, WAMP, MAMP and if you’re feeling adventurous: Docker.
I will recommend an option that isn’t any of the above, it’s one you might not even be familiar with, but spoiler alert: it’s the best. It’s called Local, and it’s the best way to develop WordPress sites locally.
What makes Local one of the best options around for WordPress development is:
- It’s 100% free (they have a pro plan, but it doesn’t offer anything that you need to pay for)
- One-click WordPress installations
- SSL support
- SSH root access
- Hot-swap PHP versions, allowing you to test your site on different versions of PHP
- Deploy your sites to Flywheel or WP Engine
- Support for addons and allowing developers to write their own addons for Local
One of the most interesting things about Local that makes it stand out from the pack is that unlike XAMPP and other options, there is no installer process. Instead, you open up the app, create a new site, choose your PHP version, the server you want (Nginx or Apache), and the database. This allows you to choose what sites have what environments.
Furthermore, the site creation process even supports WordPress Multisite, allowing you to deploy a new fresh installation of WordPress without the headaches of creating databases, configuring your site and editing any files.
What blows my mind is Local is completely free and their paid features are not crucial things that most developers need when running WordPress locally. I would pay money for this kind of app, but I am grateful that it is free.
Uninstall XAMPP, throw out MAMP and toss WAMP into the shredder, Local is the only option you should be considering for local WordPress development in 2021 (and beyond).