Setting up a localhost environment for WordPress can save you loads of time if you regularly test themes and plugins. And thanks to DesktopServer, it can take as little as 5 minutes to get WordPress up and running on your local machine.
DesktopServer is so easy, you may even consider ditching WAMP.
In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through how to set up the limited version of DesktopServer on OS X.
What is DesktopServer?
DesktopServer, by ServerPress.com, allows you to create dozens of “virtual servers” for developing and testing themes and plugins. Each of these servers is created on your computer and can be accessed from your browser using a made-up name, i.e. www.testsite.dev.
Earlier this week I looked at MAMP, a similar server software tool that also provides the necessary server setup needed to run WordPress on a computer rather than online.
The cool thing about DesktopServer is that it’s even easier to setup than WAMP and you don’t have to manually edit any files, like wp-config.php or .htaccess.
For this tutorial, we’re going to set up the limited version of DesktopServer, which provides a maximum of three virtual servers.
The Desktop Server file is 177MB. Once downloaded, install DesktopServer like you would any other software on OS X.
Once installed, launch DesktopServer and you will be prompted to complete set up.
In the next window, accept the terms and conditions. You’ll then be asked to choose a product. Select “New DesktopServer Limited Installation.”
DesktopServer will then carry on installing and ask you to close the installer.
The software will then prompt you to restart so it can run as an admin and create, modify, start and stop web service. Ensure “Yes” is selected and click “Next.”
You’ll then be prompted to start running Apache and MySQL services in order to run WordPress. Keep “Yes” selected and click “Next.”
Now that DesktopServer is up and running, it will ask you whether you want to create a new developer website. Choose option three and click “Next.”
Under Site Name, enter a fictitious name for your site. It can be anything you want. I called mine “testsite” since I’ll be using this installation as a test site.
In the Blueprint, select the latest version of WordPress. If it isn’t available, you can manually add it to the list. To do this, download the latest version of WordPress and drop it into the folder at Applications/XAMPP/blueprints on your Mac. The latest version of WordPress should now appear in your list.
Click “Create” to continue creating a new site.
DesktopServer will create a new installation of WordPress. Once complete, you will be prompted to visit the setup page on your newly created site.
The final step is to complete the WordPress famous five minute install. Fill in your details and click “Install WordPress.”
Your new WordPress install will be available at your fake web address. In my case, I can access my site at www.testsite.dev
What about WordPress Multisite?
Unfortunately, the limited version of DesktopServer doesn’t support Multisite. However, the premium version does. It costs $99 a year and includes access to support, updates and extra features.
DesktopServer is a fantastic solution if you want to set up a local server environment. It’s quick and easy to install and the free limited version is more than enough if you manage fewer than three sites at any time.
If you need to use Multisite or you need more than three virtual development sites, you may consider upgrading to DesktopServer Premium.
I’m not forgetting the Windows users! Later this week I’ll walk through how to set up WAMP on Windows.
Do you use DesktopServer? Isn’t it awesome? Tell us what you think about it in the comments below.