Local by Flywheel (formerly Pressmatic) – The Best WordPress Development Tool

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As I write reviews about different WordPress themes and plugins I tend to create a clean local WordPress installation for each of them. I am also a tester, which means I create local installations all day and all night.

Setting a local development environment is a must for themes and plugins developers. It is important to test the themes and plugins before publishing them. No doubt that every developer is seeking a solid WordPress development tool.

Many of us use MAMP (for Mac) and WAMP (for Windows) to create our local WordPress installations.

Local makes creating and managing local installations for WordPress as easy as drinking water. It is free, it is true that it have got a premium version. Yet, the free version is stuffed with some astonishing features. It is available for mac and recently the windows beta version was released.

Downloading and installing Local by Flywheel

Let’s download Local by Flywheel and see what it has got to offer. I am using the windows beta version. Once the file is downloaded simply double click it to begin the installation process. You will be asked to install some components. Click on Let’s Go! and wait for it to install and configure the components.

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This is how the local interface looks like after the installation process is completed.

Creating a local installation

Let’s click on the Add site button. First you will need to fill in the fields of the Site Setup section:

  • Site Name
  • Site Domain: You are free to choose whatever domain you like
  • Site Path: Where the WordPress files will be extracted along with other configuration files

Now, it is time to choose your development combination if I can say so! from the Environment section:

  • PHP Version: You are free to choose between different PHP versions(5.2, 5.3, 5.6, 7)
  • Web Server:You have two of the most popular web server choices (Apache, nginx)
  • MySQL Version: You can choose between MySQL version (5.5 or 5.6)

You can fill up your admin site credentials from WordPress section.

  • WordPress Multisite: You can choose from the drop down menu whether you want to set up Multisite with Sub-Directories, Multisite with Sub-Domains or not to setup a multisite
  • Admin Username
  • Admin Password
  • Admin E-Mail

All you need to do now is hit the Add Site button and wait for Local to do the magic. Once the installation is ready, you will see all the details of the local installation that you have just created.

As you can see you have got the option to switch between the different available PHP versions and web servers at any time. You can also change the domain name. To navigate to the WordPress dashboard simply click on the Admin button. Similarly, you can visit your site front-end by clicking the View Site. You can access your WordPress installation files by right clicking the site name then clicking on the Show Folder option.

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Access the local installation database

To access you site database, click on the Database tab then click on the Adminer button.

Add SSL certificate to your local installation

With Local it is easy to add an SSL certificate to your local WordPress installation. Navigate to the SSLtab and click on the Trust button. This comes really handy when you are debugging a website that has SSL enabled in production version of the website.

One great feature that Local provides is the ability to share a live link of your installation. This is useful when you want to collaborate with your colleague in debugging an issue or maybe when you want to show your work to a client. You can enable this feature by navigation to the Utilities tab and click on the enable button next to Live Link.

Create a blueprint of your local installation

You can save an installation as a Blueprint. This Blueprint can be used later to create a new installation using the exact same theme, plugins and WordPress configurations that you applied to that installation. To create a blueprint of an installation, right click an existing installation and choose the Save as Blueprint option.

Local settings

Clicking on the Setting tab will present the different settings that you can tune for local.

  • New Site Defaults
  • Exporting: You can export your local installations as a compressed file
  • Blueprints
  • Add-ons

Final thoughts

I must say that Local is a time saver! In case you are setting up many local installations, I strongly recommend that you give Local by Flywheel a try. I am sure you will like it as it as an easy to use and solid WordPress development tool.

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Mohamed Khafaja

WordPress enthusiast, who loves to share the knowledge!

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