Sometimes it’s so much easier to build a website on your local computer and then when you’re done, transfer that off to your web hosting account.
I do this all the time and I also use it to test different plugins or themes on my local computer that I have no intention of really using. It’s more just testing.
And I also use this for debugging my website. So if there’s an issue with my website, I can bring it down to my local computer and I can hack away at it and destroy it. Trying to find what might be causing a problem or test adding new features.
The easiest way to do this is to have a local development environment. And I’m going to show you how to do that in this tutorial.
Now, it’s not going to cost you anything, today. Well, there is a paid option. We’re not gonna use it in this tutorial.
So I’m going to show you how to get this set up on your computer, and then I’m going to show you how to then take your website and push that off to your web hosting account.
Software To Install WordPress On Your PC
So you have three options to easily install and manage WordPress on your local computer.
One of them right here is DesktopServer. Now this has a free version and a paid version. This is fabulous, dare I say it’s better in the sense that if you ever run into trouble if you have the paid version, there’s a way to get support
There’s another PC only program called Laragon. I don’t currently use Laragon, but I did use this for six months. I don’t currently use it.
I used it more out of a curiosity to see if it would be any better than local by Flywheel.
And while I’ve found it interesting, there’s still more work to it, less user interface, less useful features that I found using this.
So when I replaced my old PC with a new one, I said to myself, you know what? That’s nice and all. I’m going back to local. It’s just a whole heck of a lot easier for me.
However, this might be something that you would prefer using. I personally don’t prefer it, but I think it’s really good and there is a certain group of people that would probably prefer that.
Local by Flywheel
The app that I personally use today, and I’ve probably used it for the last three years, is called local by Flywheel.
Now, Flywheel is a web hosting company. What they did is they bought this tool called local, and they kind of use it as a lead magnet. There’s no catches or gotchas to using it.
The thing though, I have never had a problem using this plugin. I mean there might’ve been a little bug here, a bug there over the last three years, but it’s been pretty rock solid for me lately.
And it will work on a PC or a Mac and I actually have it installed on my PC and on my Mac.
Now, here’s the thing, some older computers have been known to have an issue. Since running this and I never encountered it, but I have heard of other people that have older computers having an issue using this.
So for this tutorial, we’re going to go over local by Flywheel.
How To Install WordPress On Your Computer
Some of the settings lemme show you how to set it up right and some of the nifty features with it. And so all you need to do is download this. Now, if you’re on a PC or Mac, you’re going to be able to follow along.
Just click on free download. You could put in real information, fake information. I think it just takes you to a download. Actually. Also, I think you could Google. Local by flywheel download and you can just get the straight up download link, but just choose your version. And uh, I hate it when contact forms.
Ask for my phone number, like, I want this, I don’t want to give you my phone number. Why are you asking for my phone number? Uh, anyways, uh, you can go ahead and download and it will install like any other program you would install on your computer. I will spare you from having to sit through that. Now, once you have local by flywheel installed, this is what the interface is going to look like.
You can see my. Active installations, WordPress, separate WordPress installations right here. You get to name it, you get to have all these different settings for it, and I can hit this big green circle here when I want to add a new site. So first, let’s take a look at the settings that you have available.
Now, on a PC, you would just hit the hamburger icon and then go right here to where it says preferences, and that’s where we’re going to access the settings. So I like to have all my stuff in dark mode. Local gives us a dark mode, but you can have light mode if that’s your preference. I even use the dark mode on my Mac.
Okay. New site default. So whenever you go to create a new site, you can set what some default items are going to be, so you don’t have to manually fill it out every time. So you could set your admin email, you’ll want to do this. Uh, you can set some, uh, you can also create a custom environment and put some defaults in there.
So this will allow you to choose your PHP version, your, my SQL version, and even your preferred web server. So I, on this, I think I just wrote preferred, uh, but I could just as well go with the custom environment. If you do go custom, I like to go with a high PHP version. Right now, the highest they offer is 7.2 which is my preference to test.
Do you know, have the test environment be at a, but you have all these options right here. You could set it to what you want. It’s neat for your sites are kind of portable in the sense that you could move it from a local by flywheel installed to another local by fly. We’ll install a right here. Here’s some advanced options.
Here’s a very risky setting this fast Docker volumes. I do not recommend it. They had put a version out a year and a half ago when they released this, and it was on by default and it caused nothing but problems, but it’s free software. And that was a long time ago. All right, everything else here is fine.
Uh, and then here’s a list of these things called blueprints. So you could set up a WordPress install with the diff default stack of tools that you use, and you can save that as a blueprint. So when you go to S. Create a new website, you could just do create it based upon this blueprint and then all the plugins and everything’s already installed.
Well, this is where you’re going to manage and delete those blueprints. Okay, so those are the preferences for the app. Now. When you create a local site, there’s also preferences there that we’re going to go over in a moment. So why don’t we just go ahead and start or creative our first site together. So here’s an option.
I’ll just click on the plus. The first step is to give this site a name. Now I’ve named it local to life, and there’s some advanced options here, so you’re probably not to want to mess. With the local site domain, unless you wanted to change the URL that’s going to be linked up to this. It’s up to you.
Don’t mess with the local site path, but here’s where you could choose to create this based upon a blueprint. So I had this blueprint that I created, and if I wanted to use that blueprint as a starting point, I could do that. But I’m not going to. And then I’ll go ahead and click on continue. So this is letting me know which air.
Let me choose which environment I want to use for this website. So I can go with the preferred one or what I listed out as a custom one, and it’s letting me know exactly what is the different specs of the preferred one. So I would just recommend going with the preferred. I’m going to go ahead and click on continue and this is where you set the username and password for this installation and it’s already prefilled in the email address used based upon what we put in the preferences.
Now there’s also one advanced option. If you want to make this website into a WordPress multi-site, you have that option there. What I like to do is use the same username and password. For every single site that I end up creating, so I’m going to go ahead and put in a username and password. Okay. Now that I’ve done that, I’m going to go ahead and click on add site and it’s just going to take a moment or two.
Jeez. I don’t know if this is actually recording on my screen. It’s one of these warning signs where you just have to click yes to approve. Now. I don’t know if that recorded, but if you’re on a Mac, you’re going to get a pop up to enter in your max password and then it just takes a moment or two to go ahead and create this.
All right, now that the site has been created, I’m going to go ahead and give you an overview of the options that you have right here for the site. First of all, you’ll see it. Added on the left here to the list of your sites and here’s some options. There’s an overview database, SSL and utilities. Now for overview, it’s going to give you a list of your environment details.
This is the PHP version, my SQL version, and all that kind of stuff, and you’re also going to have an option to adjust these if you wanted. The database option is a really cool tool. When I click on this, it’s going to actually, here, let me just do it. Here is the database and I can dig into the database data.
If I wanted to, and I do find myself going in there for things. It’s a little on the techie side. SSL, you do want to right now create an SSL certificate, and the tool right here will say, trust. You, click on that button. It’s going to prompt you to put your password in if you’re on a Mac. If you’re on a PC, it’s going to give you that PC warning message at that time.
Just click yes, and then this will change to say trusted, like this tool called male hog. So when you click on this, this is where all the emails that your site sends out will be captured. And as a matter of fact, here is the email that it captured, which is your site just got set up. So normally this should have gone out to me, but instead it was caught using mail hog.
This is really good for testing. Okay. Now down here there’s this really cool feature called live link. So what this means is with your website and local, if you, you can’t say you have a client and you’re building a client’s website and they’re in some other office. Obviously, well, you can’t give them a link to look at the website because you’re at your home or office behind a firewall and a router.
This isn’t public. It’s all private, but you can click right here where it says live link. Actually, let me just turn that on real quick. Uh, let’s see. I’ve got a firewall on my computer. There it is. It just dynamically in that split second created. A link that I could give to my client, and when they click on it, it will display this website.
This is really good for client feedback. So if you’re building, this is how you could give them a link, they could see it, and then you go here. When they’re done giving you the feedback, click on disable and they no longer have access to see the site. This is beyond good because once they give you the feedback, you might not want them keeping tabs on what you’re doing.
So you can go ahead and disable that. Now the last thing that I wanted to show you was you could right click on your site when it’s in this list and there’s additional options. So we have view site admin dashboard for WordPress. We’re going to log in for the first time in a moment, you could show the folder.
This is where the actual files are on your computer. SSH features, restart, stop, clone, export, and save as a blueprint. So this is how you would create a new site, put in your themes you’d like to use, your plugins you like to use, and then save it here, a blueprint. So the next time you go to make a site, you can start with that blueprint.
You could also change the domain rename and delete it if you want to keep things nice and tidy. Here. So I’m going to log in for the first time. I just need to click on this admin button right here, and it’s going to take me right here to the login and I’ll go ahead and log in now. Okay, so before I click on the login button, I want to draw your attention to something you could see in the top left.
Here. It says not secure, and that’s because whenever local creates. A site. For some reason, it doesn’t automatically create that SSL certificate and it doesn’t configure the site to work with an SSL certificate. So just make sure the first thing you want to do when you’ve created this, you want to click on that SSL tab, click this button here.
It’s going to say trust, and then that will create the SSL certificate in the next thing you do. You log in and the first thing we’re going to do is go to settings general, and this is where we see the URL to this website. We’re going to pop in an S there and an S there. We’re going to click on save changes.
It’s going to kick us out of the site, but check this out. Now the site is secure and it’s using that SSL certificate we generated. This is the first thing you want to do whenever you start a project using any of these local environments, but especially local by flywheel. So I’m gonna go ahead and log in again.
Okay. So now I’m logged in and here I am. It’s a local WordPress installation running off of my computer. It’s fantastic. So I can go in here and set up some things. And what we’ll do is then we’re going to go, and we’re going to transfer this over to our web hosting account. So I’m just going to throw a theme in really quick right here.
And, uh, I’m not going to sit through installing an actual site, although Astro makes it super easy. Okay? Now I’ll just go ahead and . Activate the site and I will close that out. So you can see when I go to visit site, you can see I have the astrocyte says local to live and all that. So what you would do is you’d go here and you’d set up your website, make it look all nice and pretty.
Interact with your client and all of that, get it just how you want it, and then you would go ahead and send this off to your live environment. Now what I’m going to show you how to do is take your website that you built on your local development environment. You’re going to take that site and we’re going to migrate it to your web hosting account.
Now I like to use two web hosts site ground. You can visit WP crafter.com/siteground I’ll have a link down below. I also like to use a cloud ways. And you could visit WP crafter.com/cloud ways, and I’ll put a link down below to that and a tutorial I have on that web host web hosting company. It’s a little bit different of a service.
So we’re going to migrate this website to one of those services. Now what we need to do is create our web hosting account. So I’m not going to walk through that in this video, uh, but we need to use a plugin in order to create a backup. Then we’ll take this plug and put it on the new hosting and we’re going to upload.
We’re going to add that plug in again there, upload the backup and restore it. It’s actually a very simple process. So there’s two plugins that you could use for this. One of them is this right here, all in one migration. A lot of people use this. It works very reliably. They have a free version. It’s pretty limited on how big the website can be, and we’re not going to use this plugin in this video.
And if you wanted to know why, you can come here and read some of these bad reviews on it, and that’s why I won’t use this in this video. And it’s okay. But it’s very limited in the size of the site. They don’t make that limitation clear. They kind of want you to go there and install it and then you just happen to find out when it’s all too late and then they kind of squeeze you for money at that point.
I’m going to avoid all of that and instead we’re going to use this plugin right here. It’s called transfer and backup. With this plugin, your going to be able to. Migrate your website, you’re going to be able to also use it as a backup solution if you wanted. Although I prefer using Uptracs for that. Uh, but this is free and there isn’t a limitations on the size of the backup.
And there’s even some innovative features where, uh, if your both websites are public, you can push them back and forth. I’m not going to cover all that in this video. So let’s go ahead and install this plugin on our website. So I’m going to go to plugins, add new, and I’m going to do a search for WP. Vivid back up, and here it is.
Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and I’ll do an install of this. And then we’re going to use this to make a backup that we’re just going to restore on our web hosting account. All right, I’ll go ahead and activate this and it’s going to add a new menu option that says WP vivid. Now, you don’t need to keep this, this plugin installed on your website.
After we do the migration, it’s completely up to you. You can also use this for backup. I tend to use updrafts personally, but, um, you could also use this for backups as well. Well, there’s two ways to do a migration with this plugin. One of them is called an auto migration. I’m not going to do that in this video.
Instead, I’m going to do backup. Download the backup and then do a restore. So I’ll go ahead and click on a backup. Now, right here. Now it’s going to make my backup, but there’s lots of options. You can, if you’re using this as a backup tool, you could back up to Dropbox to Google drive. I think one cloud, there’s a couple icons in here.
Amazon S three digital ocean spaces. There’s all these places that you can back, you send your backups to after you make them. Okay, so now that the backup is made and it’s on my local computer, my local WordPress install, I’ll scroll down. Here is the backup right here. A click right here where it says download, and it’s downloaded into one part right here, and there’s the actual download link.
I click on that. And you can see it’s downloaded it to my local computer right here. So that will be wherever files get downloaded to your computer. I’m on a PC, so it’s going to be in the downloads folder, but it’s probably going to be the same if you’re using a Mac. So now what you could do is delete this if you wanted.
So I’m going to delete it. I’ll click on, okay. And that backup’s gone. I can go here to plugins and I can deactivate this plugin and I no longer need it. I’ve extracted what I wanted, however you can activate it and do this process again when you want to make a new backup. So here is a WordPress installation.
So what happens is your next step is you’re going to go to your web hosting company where you have your domain name. You’re going to install WordPress using their WordPress installer. In this case, I have this set up on site ground. The domain name is, let’s create a website.com so whenever you get hosting with SiteGround, one of the steps is to automatically create a WordPress installation for you.
The only thing is is it doesn’t have your website from your local machine. That’s what we’re going to fix right now. So what you do is you log into that site, you go to the same process, go to plugins, add new, and we’re going to do a search for WP, vivid backup, and we’ll do the same thing. Install now, and then we’ll activate it.
And we’re just going to upload that back up that we just created and click on restore. So when I scroll down, there’s this tab here that says, upload. If I click on it. I can find the backup or I’m going to just drag and drop it across. Here’s my backup, drag drop. It’s going to upload and it’s probably, I have like a really awesome, let’s see, I click on upload here.
Maybe that will start it. Okay. There we go. And here’s the progress meter. I have really good internet. For the upload speeds. So, uh, it might take a minute or two for you depending on the size of the site, but for me, you can see it’s all done. And then there we have it. So now I’m on the site, I’m trying to push everything to, and you can see my backup is right here.
Now what I’m gonna do, I’m actually gonna make a quick backup of this site. So I can restore it really after I make this video. So I’m just going to make it real quick backup, but all we need to do is then restore what we just uploaded. So in a moment, you’re going to see, I’ll probably have two backups down here, the one I just created, and then the one that I just uploaded.
So here’s the one that I just uploaded. I’ll click on restore, and then we’re going to get this option right here that we need to choose. The first option is restore and replace the domain, and this is the one we’re going to want because it was a different URL, a different domain on our local website. We want to choose that.
Now, if I was just restoring a backup that was done on the same exact website with that same URL, I would make the other choice. So I’ll click on restore, I’ll click on, okay, and what this is going to do is it’s just going to go ahead and restore everything in every reference. To that URL. Every reference to the old URL is going to get dynamically replaced with the new URL, which in this case is let’s create a website.
Now, the username and password is not the one that I had when I created this public website. It’s the username and password from the local machine version, so I’ll go ahead and enter that now. All right. I’ll click on log in. And it worked. And it says right here, migration is complete. Um, some other information.
Let’s close that and here’s a prompt to back up or to give a review. And if I go to the live site, you’re going to see it’s exactly what it looked like on the local machine. So right here is how it looked like. Um, this is how it looks like now after I’ve migrated it. And then over here, this is the local site.
And this is how it looks like here. It’s the same exact thing. Perfect migration, super easy to do, no cost. You don’t have to keep the migration plugin installed if you don’t need to, so you can just go and disable it if you want, but it couldn’t be any easier than that. It’s a super easy process to move your website from a local salt to a live install.
My preference is to use this free plugin right here. There’s no limitation on the size of the websites. Now there’s another really cool feature that it in show you where instead of this process of downloading the backup to my computer and then uploading it, there’s a feature where you can set it up on the two sites.
So just pushes it from site to site. I didn’t cover it in this video. I like to do it this way, so I have more hands on granular control. Uh, but anyways, uh, I covered it all in this video. If you have a question. Feel free to ask me down below.