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How to Setup WordPress Development Environment?


You need to carefully plan your website development before you kick-start your journey. There are many approaches to developing a website, and every approach will have different stages.

Another problem is that some visitors can accidentally land on your under-construction website, which will not leave a good impression on them. Here development environments come to your rescue.

What is a development environment? Well. It is a type of environment that acts as a location where you can secretly design and program your new site. Nobody will see your site’s development stages. Once you are ready, hit the live button.

What is a WordPress Environment?

WordPress web development environment is a group of tools that allows you securely test your websites before you launch them. The best WordPress development environment will depend on your requirements and likes.

But, we suggest you test out the core aspects of your project in the development environment before making them live. Here are some of its benefits:

  • It allows you to try your modifications locally and identify any issues without any risk
  • You can modify your testing environment as you like. You can also check if no plugin that you developed is showing a compatibility issue
  • You can work fastly and at less cost when working in a local testing environment than using a remote server
  • You can work on your app development projects even when you aren’t connected to the internet
  • You can make a WordPress site go live in a couple of minutes depending on the type of tools you use

How Can You Deploy Your WordPress Development Environment?

Firstly, understand that setting up a development environment doesn’t follow a set group of rules. There are different solutions for different situations (your unique needs). And the same goes for WordPress development.

But don’t worry, we will guide you through the process of deploying your WordPress environment from A to Z. So, let’s get started:

Pick an Appropriate Server Solution

It is the hardest step. That is why we should deal with it first. You need an apt server, and you can choose either a virtual or a local server.

A local server
You would need to install server software as well as WordPress on your system directly as you do with any other tool.

A virtual server
You would need to develop a pigeonholed PC within a PC that has both WordPress and your required software installed in it. You will configure it to open it from your browser.

Local servers are more accessible and installation-friendly, but they also have disadvantages. You might need to hire a WordPress development agency to set up your development environment.

If you choose to do it yourself, there is a chance you pick tools that are not compatible with WordPress. On top of this, you may face difficulty uninstalling them if you don’t use a full stack.

Tools like MAMP, XAMPP, and WampServer usually stack all your required tools into one package.

Setting up virtual servers can be difficult if you are a beginner. But they have an edge over local servers. You can develop multiple virtual systems depending on your computer’s target space without facing compatibility issues.

Additionally, you can delete a virtual server once you have completed the relevant setup. If you want to find tools that offer a middle approach between virtual and local servers, we have got you covered.

Local by Flywheel and DesktopServer are two tools that let users build an infinite number of WordPress sites, tailor their server selection, and get rid of the websites neatly once they are done.

Practically, they offer you all the perks of virtualization combined with those of local servers, and it is the ideal option.

Identify an Appropriate IDE or Text Editor

The next step is finding a suitable text editor. Our recommendation is Atom which offers various extensions and an auto-completion system.

You can consider using an IDE or Integrated Development Environment if you need other project management and development features along with a text editor.

They are a better choice if you want a minimum number of tools in your development environment. Our pick among IDEs for WordPress development is NetBeans.

Ideal for PHP coding, NetBeans also assists users in rectifying coding errors and simplifies the process of finding important areas in critical files.

You should do your own research on text editors and IDEs to find out the best for you according to your specific needs. Don’t get deceived by the online advocates of a certain text editor solution/IDE. Instead, you should experiment with each tool if possible, and then select a solution.

Select a Good Browser

Most latest browsers come with developer tools that help users work on WordPress sites. Chrome’s set of developer tools features debugging and testing for responsiveness, directly from the browser.

Firefox also allows you to debug and test websites as well as provide a browser custom-tailored for developers’ needs, named Firefox Developer Edition.

Though these two browsers are the best for WordPress web development, there are other good browsers in the line too. Safari, Opera, and Microsoft Edge also come equipped with a set of development tools.

Enable the Debugging for WordPress

Now, you have set up your chosen server, text editor/IDE, and a set of developer tools. Before we move on to the next step, make sure you have deployed WordPress in your development environment or create a new website if you use
a tool like DesktopServer.

The next vital step is to enable debugging for WordPress. Once you do it, WordPress will start showing you an automated list of errors.

Needless to say, this feature is all developers’ favorite as it saves your neck by spotting issues that appear as you proceed with the development project.

You can configure this list to be shown on the home page or saved on a log. A reputable WordPress development services provider can also help you with debugging.

Set up More WordPress Web Development Tools

We hope the above information is enough for you to install all the required WordPress development tools and find a debugging method.

It is all you need to kick-start your journey. However, it doesn’t hurt to get some optional WordPress development tools based on your unique objectives.

If you want to have a more seamless development process, WP-CLI (WordPress Command Line) can help you. You can easily memorize its commands.

The developer is a handy plugin containing lots of tools like QueryMonitor. It lets users remove bugs from their database queries, conditionals, HTTP requests, and hooks.

For theme developers, Theme Check is a great plugin. It automatically examines a user’s active theme to ensure it is compatible with all the newest standards of WordPress.

Lastly, don’t forget to consider using Theme Unit Test, WordPress’s official data kit, if you are experimenting on an exposed website. It automatically occupies your website with the components an actual site would contain, like pages, posts, comments, and a bunch of distinct formatting.

Bottom Line

A WordPress development environment helps you create sites securely in a controlled environment. We have discussed the two servers used for WordPress development and the middle options that combine the aspects of both server types.

Most people build a local development environment on their own PC or employ remote hosting for their web development. Both options have perks and downsides, so we recommend picking one of the middle options.