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Best WordPress Local Development Plugins

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  • Build & Migrate WordPress Sites
  • Create Staging of Live Sites
  • Setup Demos of Plugins / Themes
  • Automate QA with Git Integration
  • Manage Hosting & Live Sites
  • Sell Templates & Hosting (New)
  • Well documented
  • Read more
  • Spin up new environments quickly
  • Integrate with your existing tools
  • Docker Desktop
  • Community forums
  • Well documented
  • Read more
  • Customers access demo sites
  • Pre-installed with themes,
  • Pre-installed with plugins
  • Customized with your settings.
  • QA Testing
  • Fast and secure
  • Well documented
  • Read more
  • Easy Access to WordPress Shortcuts
  • Web Based File Manager
  • Built in SSH Terminal
  • SFTP Included
  • Well documented
  • Read more
  • Delightful local development
  • Powerful developer tools
  • Seamless integration with WP Engine
  • Good support
  • Automatic WordPress installation
  • Advanced development features
  • Live Links
  • One-click admin
  • Cloud Backups
  • Pre-launch tools
  • Well documented
  • Read more
  • One click site creation
  • Local development
  • Database management
  • HTTPS locally
  • Email testing
  • WordPress error logging
  • Well documented
  • Read more

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How we rate the Best WordPress Local Development Plugins

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Best WordPress Local Development Plugins Index

The Definitive Guide to the Best WordPress Local Development Plugins

Local development has transformed the way developers approach website creation, and with WordPress powering a significant portion of the web, having the right tools is paramount. This guide will shed light on the benefits of using the best WordPress local development plugins without diving into specific products.

Understanding Local Development in WordPress

Local development refers to the practice of building, testing, and refining a website on a personal computer without immediately making changes to the live website. This approach offers developers a safe playground, ensuring mistakes remain private and easily rectifiable.

Why Local Development Plugins are Essential for WordPress

Integrating local development plugins into your WordPress workflow can be a game-changer. Here’s why:

  • They allow you to work offline, offering flexibility.
  • Immediate testing without risking live site disruptions.
  • Faster development since there are no server-side delays.
  • Easy debugging in an isolated environment.

Features to Look for in the Best WordPress Local Development Plugins

Identifying a top-notch local development plugin depends on the following attributes:

  • Intuitive Interface: Even for seasoned developers, a user-friendly interface saves time and reduces complexity.
  • Compatibility: The plugin should be compatible with a range of themes and other plugins.
  • Easy Deployment: Once your site is ready, the transition from local to live should be seamless.
  • Real-time Syncing: Any changes made should be effortlessly sync-able with the live site when required.
  • Efficient Debugging: An integrated debugging tool can make error identification and correction far simpler.

The Perks of Using a WordPress Local Development Plugin

Implementing local development plugins in WordPress has distinct advantages:

  1. Error-Free Development: Work in a risk-free environment and ensure your live site remains untouched by errors.
  2. Cost-Efficiency: Avoid costly mistakes that might arise from direct live site editing.
  3. Efficiency: Faster loading times and instant previews enhance the overall development speed.
  4. Collaboration: Team members can share their local developments easily for collective input.

Challenges Developers Face Without Local Development Plugins

Opting out of local development plugins can present multiple challenges:

  • Increased risk of live site crashes or disruptions.
  • Difficulty in tracking and rectifying errors in a live environment.
  • Slower development processes due to server-side lags.

Selecting the Best WordPress Local Development Plugin for Your Needs

With numerous options available, making the right choice requires attention to detail:

  • Understand the specific needs of your project. What works for a small blog might not suffice for a complex e-commerce site.
  • Consider the expertise level of the user – some plugins cater to beginners while others are more suited for experts.
  • Seek out reviews and feedback to gauge the performance of a plugin in real-world scenarios.


Local development has undeniably revolutionized the WordPress development process. By harnessing the power of the best WordPress local development plugins, developers can craft websites more efficiently, securely, and collaboratively. Regardless of your project’s scale, there’s a local development tool out there tailored for your needs. Take the time to evaluate your options and empower your development process with the right plugin.

For more insights on WordPress tools and optimization strategies, explore our extensive range of articles and guides tailored for both beginners and professionals.

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Advanced description of the Best WordPress Local Development Plugins


InstaWP facilitates a swift initiation of your WordPress projects, allowing you to promptly start testing, optimizing, and enhancing your work.


Setting up a WordPress site (sandbox) is a breeze with InstaWP, requiring just a few clicks to select the desired WP and PHP versions before you get started. While there are preset configurations available for ease of use, it also offers the flexibility to define custom parameters tailored to your unique project.


A feature we appreciated is the option to save your template once you have finished working on it, enabling you to reuse it in the future and save time. Additionally, the platform allows the creation of shared templates, which can be accessed by team members and customers for testing and experimenting with your themes and plugins.

Adding to the appeal is the availability of a generous free plan to get you started, with the option to upgrade to a premium plan as your needs expand, showcasing InstaWP’s adaptability to grow alongside your projects.

Price starting at 6$ / month 1



Docker stands as a reputable tool in the development landscape, empowering users to develop, test, and deploy WordPress applications proficiently right from the outset. It offers a range of packages to choose from, including a complimentary Personal package.


Whether on a desktop or in a cloud setting, Docker facilitates the creation of a development environment, thereby enhancing your workflow flexibility. It fosters a more efficient project building and sharing process, a feature that is considerably beneficial. Moreover, it integrates seamlessly with other local WP development environments such as DevKinsta, and is compatible with platforms like VS Code, CircleCI, and GitHub, among others.

Docker Hub serves as a resourceful platform where you can build, publish, or retrieve extensions, thereby broadening your developmental horizons exponentially.


A significant asset to Docker is its vibrant and supportive community. This space not only offers learning opportunities about the tool but also encourages contributions and networking.

What impresses us about Docker: Its ability to handle a myriad of ongoing projects securely, both within and outside the WordPress ecosystem, whether locally or on the cloud.

Price starting at 5$ / month 1



We would like to note an exception to the aforementioned list, which is WPSandbox. Although not exactly a local WordPress environment, it provides a comprehensive platform to experiment with themes and plugins through a private and temporary WordPress installation.

Creating a demo site with WPSandbox is a matter of seconds, facilitating immediate testing for you or your clients and customers.


A notable benefit of WPSandbox is the opportunity it affords potential buyers to immerse themselves in the virtual space of your WordPress project, enhancing their pre-purchase experience. This firsthand experience, which is available without any upfront payment, can significantly boost your conversion rates, offering a more substantial impression than just reading reviews or checking ratings.

WPSandbox serves not only customers but also proves to be a valuable tool for support teams, developers, and others involved in the project. It aids in troubleshooting and in the development of new features, ensuring they are well-tested before being launched officially.


What appeals to us about WPSandbox is the easy creation of demo sites, allowing prospective customers to explore WordPress sites, themes, and demos before making a purchase decision.

Despite its many advantages, a downside to WPSandbox is its relatively high cost, as it does not offer a free plan.




In addition to being compatible with macOS and Windows, InstantWP can be installed and operated from a USB drive, offering the convenience of mobility, allowing you to take your projects anywhere and share them with others.


You have the freedom to install InstantWP multiple times on a single device; however, it is essential to rename the files to ensure proper functioning. While the default setting permits only one active installation at a time, it is possible to modify the settings to run several installations concurrently.

Through InstantWP’s intuitive GUI and the user-friendly Web File Manager, users can effortlessly access all WordPress themes and plugins.


The straightforward and well-structured interface of InstantWP facilitates quick acclimatization, eliminating the necessity for preliminary documentation review.

What stands out about InstantWP is its ability to be installed on a USB drive, enhancing the portability of your local WordPress development environment. This feature ensures a self-sufficient system, devoid of the requirement for web server hosting.

Price 1



Using WP Engine Local for your WordPress development needs doesn’t require prior knowledge or experience with local development environments. It has been crafted keeping beginners in mind, yet it harbors features robust enough to satisfy the demands of seasoned developers.


What caught our attention was the swift and uncomplicated setup process. Initiating the installation is effortless, and finding the functionalities you need is straightforward due to the well-structured and organized layout. This ensures a rapid and hassle-free development experience.


An added advantage is the provision of demo URLs, facilitating the sharing of your projects with anyone you wish, without the prerequisite of them being integrated into the environment.

For existing WP Engine patrons, opting for this local WordPress development setup comes highly recommended, as it consolidates all necessary tools and features under a single umbrella.

What appeals to us about WP Engine Local: The approachable and rapid assistance it extends, accommodating even the most basic queries from newcomers.

Price 1

WP Engine Local


Effortless Workflow with Local

A Feature-Rich WordPress Development Environment

Local revolutionizes the process of creating and launching WordPress sites, offering a seamless workflow thanks to its rich array of features. The icing on the cake is that Local is available for free, making it an accessible WordPress development environment for everyone.


One of the standout features of Local is its automatic WordPress setup, relieving users from the manual hassle. This automation extends to SSL certificate integration, further simplifying the setup process. Users can enjoy peace of mind with the option to connect with Dropbox and Google Drive, facilitating cloud backups at their discretion, thereby ensuring a secure and clean working environment.


Best Features

Broken link checker: A tool to identify and rectify broken links efficiently.
Live links: Allows users to test their website across various devices, ensuring compatibility and responsiveness.
Image optimization: Enhances website performance through optimal image utilization.
Automated refresh: Automatically refreshes the page post a CSS file save, streamlining the development process.


Comprehensive feature set, which includes quick one-click WordPress installation and admin access, cloning capabilities, and practical pre-launch tools, among others. This rich feature suite makes it an outstanding choice for both beginners and seasoned developers, catering to a wide range of development needs with efficiency and ease.

Price 1



Accessible and User-Friendly Solution for WordPress Development

DevKinsta stands as a versatile tool available to macOS, Windows, and Ubuntu users, catering to both freelancers and agencies alike. It facilitates the effortless creation of a new WordPress site with just a single click using the default settings. Moreover, it offers the flexibility to customize settings or even import a site directly from Kinsta, providing a seamless integration experience for Kinsta users.


One of the standout features of DevKinsta is its user-friendly interface, designed to be intuitive and accessible to individuals at all levels of expertise. This approach ensures that every user can maximize the benefits derived from the tool without facing a steep learning curve.

DevKinsta stays updated with the latest WordPress and PHP versions, enhancing its compatibility and functionality. It further extends its utility by offering features such as email testing and a handy database manager, granting users greater control over their development environment.

While it is not a prerequisite to be a Kinsta user to operate DevKinsta, being one can significantly streamline the process, making it even more straightforward and efficient.


What particularly impresses us about DevKinsta is its accessibility, emerging as one of the easiest solutions to test WordPress themes, plugins, and more. Its multilingual support, with translations in ten languages, broadens its reach, making it a globally accessible tool.

In essence, DevKinsta presents a user-friendly and accessible platform for WordPress development, characterized by ease of use, multilingual support, and enhanced functionalities, making it a go-to solution for a wide array of users.

Price 1


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Update History 2024

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