One of my personality traits that drives people crazy is that I am never satisfied with anything. If I create something like a website, I might like the end result, but after a couple of days I will look at it, hate its look and destroy everything.
Let’s just say there were many incarnations on my website, and many Lego models were unceremoniously smashed to smithereens.
But since I use my WordPress website as a business tool, this amount of disruption can actually hurt my bottom line. Customers will be disconnected with permanent work-in-progress marks, and it looks unprofessional if text and images move across the screen in real time.
This is why you need to make all changes to your local WordPress installation before anything starts.
What is a local WordPress installation?
Local installation is when you install software – in this case WordPress – on your computer, rather than on an active server. Then you can install themes, plugins, and work with the code, while keeping your actual site the same for everyone.
Then, when you have what you think you need, you can upload the entire new site to your server. Or, if the changes are minor – like a new theme – you can simply copy on the live server what you just did in the local installation.
Usually installing WordPress on your computer can be a daunting task with MySQL, Apache databases, and then installing and connecting WordPress. But a website called ServerPress has a cross-platform software called DesktopServer that turns the whole process into a surprisingly simple click-click-click.
The free edition is limited, while the $ 100 paid edition has a few more bells and whistles. Before we proceed, I must point out that uploading local installations to the production server will require payment of the paid version.
You can see the feature differences between the two versions here. But for tinkering with and testing new plugins and themes, the free version is more than enough.
The first step is to go here, scroll down to the very bottom and hit the blue download button for the version you want.
Now install the software as usual. This will take a while, so don’t be discouraged.
When it finishes, start it. Then it will ask you to restart the software with administrator rights. Let’s do it.
It will then inform you that Apache and MySQL are not running and need to be started. It will do it for you if you select an option and click Next.
Everything should be all right now. To create a new locally installed WordPress site, select Create New Development Site.
Enter the name of the test site you want, as well as the version of WordPress you want to install (the latter is obviously the best). Site Root is the location on your computer where the site will be installed.
Now click “Create” to create your test site.
I feel like I need to take a moment to explain the whole concept of the â€œdev.ccâ€ domain name because it sounds like your site will be online. This is not true. As shown in the screenshot above, having it on a web domain simply allows you to view your test site in a web browser.
But no one else can access it on another computer because the domain name is limited. Just visit markoneill.dev.cc in your browser and you will see for yourself.
So, after clicking the “Create” button, the necessary databases and files will be installed on your computer.
You will then be provided with a link to complete the installation. Click on this.
You will now be prompted for a site name, username, password, and email address. When you’re done, click “Install WordPress”.
And bingo lo and behold, this is your shiny new WordPress site on your computer.
As a fully functional WordPress website, you can import customizations from your live site like theme, plugins, code, and everything else. Then start customizing what you want without risking annoying anyone who might visit your site.