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1. Desktop Server
Local WordPress Development DesktopServerPhoto: DesktopServer
As we mentioned, DesktopServer is built on XAMPP. This is good news, especially for those currently using that particular stack, as it’s practically guaranteed to work with your system out of the box.
DesktopServer is a new breed of local environment that gives you a good-looking interface to navigate. It also requires a minimum of clicks to get an install up and running. Ultimately, it’s ideal for developers who spin up sites regularly. What’s more, because the software itself can be optimized, it’smuch faster than a standard XAMPP stack.
If you want to test drive DesktopServer (or one of the other similar solutions), there’s a free version available. However, this is fairly limited and serves as, for all intents and purposes, a demo. The premium version is priced at around $100 (at the time of this writing).
2. Varying Vagrant Vagrants (VVV)
Local WordPress Development Varying Vagrant VagrantsPhoto: Varying Vagrant Vagrants
We’re now going to move on to tools that primarily use the command line, starting with the WordPress developer’s tool of choice. The eccentrically-named and open-source Varying Vagrant Vagrants is built on top of the Vagrant environment. It provides a functional, browser-based Graphical User Interface (GUI) to manage your installs.
Using VVV is understandably more complex than a tool like DesktopServer, but for the experienced developer, this should be no problem. Each install is actually a virtual environment powered by VirtualBox, which you manage primarily from your Terminal or Powershell.
There are a few simple commands to learn, and the majority of your non-development time will be spent “provisioning.” In other words, pushing through changes and updating the install. As such, this isn’t going to be necessarily fast in practice depending on your workflow, although under the hood, it’s much faster than XAMPP.
3. Docker
Local WordPress Development DockerPhoto: Docker
Finally, we have Docker. This is basically an alternative to VVV, and those using it champion its speed compared to that solution. We’d agree that there’s a clear speed benefit for those creating lots of installs, but it might be inconsequential for all but the most time-pressed developers.
Overall, Docker offers a harder to digest infrastructure than Vagrant, but a much snappier process due to less strain on the CPU and RAM. You may also find that each particular “container” is smaller in size, due to the inherent structures of VVV and Docker.
Weighing up whether Docker or VVV is best for you is beyond the scope of this article. However, this piece offers a comprehensive look at both platforms. We recommend starting with VVV, and looking into other solutions as your needs change.
Conclusion
“Always develop within a local environment” has been rammed down your throat so much it could be imprinted on your headstone. A good start is to use a tool such as XAMPP, but there are also plenty of WordPress-centric solutions available. These even come with additional speed and functionality benefits to boot.
For example, VVV is run from the command line, and is the WordPress developer’s environment of choice. Docker is just as good, and arguably even faster. However, a tool such as DesktopServer can straddle the line between power and ease of use. It could be the answer to your local WordPress development prayers!
This post was originally published by Tom Rankin on the GoDaddy Blog. Image by: Alexandru Acea on Unsplash