Why do I need to install a local version of WordPress on my computer?

WordPress is typically installed on your host computer (one people access from the internet to view your site).  The benefit of this is that can modify your site and make changes to it from any personal computer via a web browser. There are some disadvantages to this.  If you are creating a new site,  you may not  want people to see your site until you are done getting it set up.  If you are redoing your site, you may want the old site up until the new one is finished. One of the best ways to overcome these dilemmas is to install WordPress locally on your own computer.  When you do this, you install the background programs you need to run WordPress, the are Apache, MySQL, and PHP.  These are not normally installed on your computer.  You have to install them using a program that bundles them.  MAMP (Mac Apache, MySQL, and  PHP) and  WAMP (Windows Apache, MySQL, and  PHP) are our favorites . Once you install them, you can work on your new site via a web browser.  The difference is, rather than saving files on a public hosted computer where everyone can see them, you save them on your own hard drive.  This means that you are the only one that can have access until you are ready to display your new site to the world. I find that working on it on your own local computer also speeds up the design process.  It allows you to play around with themes and plugins and create new pages with out worrying about everyone seeing it.  I also like using a local install because it provides a complete back up in case you would ever have problems with your hosted (public) site in the future. Once you get your site complete, you can use a migration plugin to help you install the completed local site onto your new public hosted computer for everyone to see.  These plugins make it very easy to do.

How do I set up a local install on my computer?

No need for me to create the wheel here!  Here are the best tutorials I have found on how to do this:

Windows Users: WAMP

Apple Users: MAMP

 

How to move a local install to the web?

This is a little tricky to try to do on your own. Thankfully, there are a few great free and premium migration plugins that can help you do this.

  • Duplicator:  This is a free plugin that I use to install a new site.  It works great for most WordPress websites.
  • WP Migration DB Pro:  There is a free version of this plugin as well.  The Pro has some great features.  It automatically syncs your local and public versions of WordPress.  You can make a change the local private copy of your site and tell it to update the public version and it will sync it.  This is a big time saver and guarantees and up to date back up of our site!