How to Build A WordPress Website Locally - What You Need To Know

How to Build A WordPress Website Locally - What You Need To Know

Learn how to build a WordPress website locally and what you need to know. WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world.

WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world. Whether you are an experienced developer using the tech that powers 38% of all websites or you are just getting started in WordPress, building locally on your computer is a low-cost, testing-friendly, and fast way to create WordPress websites.

What does building locally mean?

A "local development environment" or "developing locally" just means hosting the website's files on your computer as opposed to on a web host's servers.

You may already be doing this. Many programmers develop backend applications locally.

If you are just starting out in web development, you may have built some basic sites with HTML and CSS using text editors like Atom, Sublime, or Visual Studio Code. These simple sites are already hosted locally.

When you start to run more advanced code that needs to utilize PHP, JavaScript, and SQL, you need some more advanced tools that we will discuss later.

Why should I build a WordPress site locally?

Before getting to the tools you need to build a WordPress site locally, let's quickly touch on why you should.

I was recently speaking to a fellow web developer, Daniel, who builds all of his sites locally. He started out building simple HTML and CSS sites like UsefulPDF and also builds more advanced WordPress sites.

His main reason for building locally, which I thought were excellent, are:

  1. Quick setup - there is no need to wait for a hosting provider or to configure a domain name. I work for a number of small businesses and quickly getting a mockup design out the door is a huge benefit of local development.
  2. Low cost - hosting and domain names can be expensive. My preferred hosting provider (Kinsta) costs $300 per year and a domain name registration will cost you $10-$30 per year. Developing locally is free!
  3. No domain name needed - if you are not set on a domain name, you can still start building locally. This provides great flexibility and will save you the pains of migrating your WordPress website.
  4. Easy testing - when you develop locally, you can experiment more easily with plugins, themes, and custom development. There are no worries if you break your website. You're the only person who can view and use the website, so move fast and break things!
  5. Site Speed - when you make an update to your website, you don't need to wait for a server to render the page. It is like browsing the internet with instantaneous internet speeds.

How to Build A WordPress Site Locally

Now that you've decided to build your Wordpress site locally, you need the help of a tool to build your site.

These tools will set up a web server software, PHP, and SQL database management on your computer. Installing all of these separately on your computer can be confusing, so these tools will make your life easier and allow you to start building more quickly.

Here are two tools used to develop WordPress locally and the steps required to get started.

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