When you’re developing WordPress sites, maintaining an efficient workflow can make all the difference between a successful day building beautiful things and a frustrating day spent debugging or restarting your work. From start to finish, you need a toolkit of apps and processes to help you work quickly and efficiently, consistently. And one of the most important pieces of that workflow for any front-end developer is a local development environment.
Why is a local development environment important?
Whether you’re building a brand new WordPress site or testing a tiny CSS tweak, you should never, ever make changes on your live site. While it might feel more convenient to experiment in the moment, one wrong line of code could bring the whole thing down – and that’s never fun to fix. Not only is that wasted development time, but wasted money, too, since you’re probably paying for that live server.
Instead, there’s a much better way for web designers and developers to safely experiment with site designs, simplify the development process, and save a little money while sites are in production. This magical tool is a local development environment.
A local development environment allows you to safely make site changes without risking the live site.
How does it work? The keyword here is local. With a local development environment, you can spin up a WordPress site right on your own machine, instead of external servers through a hosting company. While local sites aren’t technically live, they look and act live in your browser, allowing you to work just like you normally would on any other WordPress site.
This means you can test test changes, install new themes or plugins, and tinker to your heart’s content, all without worrying about breaking the live site. Think of it this way: Let’s say a client asks you to redesign their current site. Unless you’re only making one single, tiny change, at some point in the process it’s going to look a little…off. It’s just not realistic to make a bunch of changes all at once, and you run the risk of bringing their site down if you’re not careful. (Something they would not be happy about!) If you develop their new site locally, however, you can experiment without fear of seriously breaking things, and their old site will stay up the whole time (since you’re not touching that code at all). Developing sites locally is a serious win-win for everyone involved.
Plus, since everything is stored locally on your machine, you don’t need WiFi to do your development work or have to worry about SFTP. Connected or not, the browser will have everything it needs to update and render your local sites, so you can work anytime, anywhere, as long as you have your machine.
The easy way to develop sites locally
In the past, setting up a local WordPress development environment could be a little tricky, but today it’s easier than ever thanks to Local by Flywheel. It’s a local WordPress development app that’s incredibly fast, easy to use, and completely free to download!
Even though Local by Flywheel is a free application, it’s packed full of features that are truly game-changing for any front-end developer. Take Live Links, for example. This nifty little feature allows you to share a link to your local site with someone else, allowing them to see your site right in their browser. That’s right – no more messing with screenshots or mockups to get feedback. All of your friends, clients, and adoring fans can actually click around your local site from the comfort of their own computer!
You can even save a site template for the future with the Blueprints feature, allowing you to spin up new sites in no time at all. If you’ve found your niche or just tend to develop similar sites, Blueprints can seriously help speed up your local development workflow.
Local by Flywheel was created to simplify the development process for anyone building WordPress sites. With a super simple interface, blazing fast speeds, and features to streamline the development process, it’s easy to see why thousands of creatives have started using Local by Flywheel to simplify the development process.
Ready to improve your development workflow? Stop debugging local environments and spend more time designing, developing, and launching WordPress sites with Local by Flywheel. Download it for free today!