Did you ever wish that you could try out updates for WordPress, plugins and themes on a local version of your website before you update them on your live site?

Did you ever wish that you could develop a site locally, play around with it until it’s just right and then deploy it to the live domain?

Did you ever wish that you could create local copies of your live sites to develop and experiment with at your leisure?

Well now you can do all that and more with DesktopServer by ServerPress.

This is the first in a series of posts on DesktopServer and in this post we’ll look at what DesktopServer is, how to install it, how to create you first WordPress local install and how to upgrade from the limited to the premium version.

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Let Dave explain why you need DesktopServer

So why do you need DesktopServer?
I use it so that I can try out my updates and edits on a local install before I go live, but there are lots of other reasons.

This short video by the DesktopServer developers over at ServerPress gives you a brief introduction to the advantages of working locally.

Like I said a short video, but it does cover all the major reasons for using DestopServer.
Apart from allowing you to update and edit local sites before you go live and being able to work without an internet connection, you can also:

  • Create local websites in seconds
  • Deploy local websites to live server
  • Create blueprints: preconfigured WordPress sites complete with themes and plugins
  • Import live sites to local server

DesktopServer gives you a complete webserver on your own machine!

With components such as Apache, MySQL and PHP webserving software can be daunting!

The guys over at Apache Friends made things a whole lot easier when they bundled all the pieces of webserving into a PHP development environment called XAMPP and put it in a simple installer.

I used XAMPP for years and loved it, but DesktopServer takes it one step further.
DesktopServer sits on top of XAMPP and creates a complete WordPress development environment.

This video gives a brief overview of running a webserver on your own machine, introduces XAMPP, explains that DesktopServer uses XAMPP to create a WordPress development environment and looks at the differences between the limited and premium / paid versions of DesktopServer.

DesktopServer: premium or limited version?

Both the premium and limited version of DesktopServer provide you with a complete WordPress development environment on your own machine and both work on Mac and Windows.

The main differences are that the premium version allows you to create unlimited local websites and the limited version limits you to three (3).

The premium version also has some super cool features including:

  • Supports WordPress Multisite
  • Import live websites to local install
  • Support for Adobe Dreamweaver
  • Direct deploy of local WordPress sites to live server option

In order to make a quick comparison and pick out the features that interest you the most, take a look at the premium / limited version comparison graphic below:

desktopserver comparison of premium and limited versions

DesktopServer: downloading and installation

Time to get started folks and the first thing you need to do is download and install.

The whole process only takes a few minutes and this video walks you through the full procedure:

Just to act as a memory jogger here is the process demonstrated in the video:

  • Download the premium or limited version (Windows or Mac) from ServerPress.com
  • Unpack the downloaded zip file to reveal the exe / installer file
  • Double click the exe / installer file and follow the screen instructions to install
  • Double click the DesktopServer icon and follow the screen instructions to start Apache and MySQL – make sure that you allow “system privileges”

Congratulationsyou now have a webserver running on your local machine!


DesktopServer: creating a new local development website

Now that you have DesktopServer downloaded and installed it’s time to create your first development website, which will be running on your local computer not on the internet.

This video walks you through the whole process and holds your hand along the way:

  • Double click the DesktopServer icon and allow “system privileges” then hit next to start DesktopServer
  • Check the “Create a new development site” checkbox and hit next
  • Fill in the domain name section, with or without www, and hit create. Note the domain name will end in .dev, which is automatically added
  • Hit next then click the url link, which will open up the familiar WordPress installation interface. Fill in the WordPress installation information and install WordPress
  • Log in to your new local WordPress installation and add themes, plugins and create your site as you would any WordPress install.

Welcometo the wonderful world of local WordPress development – please feel free to enjoy yourself.


DesktopServer: Upgrade to the Premium Edition

I’ve never used the limited edition of DesktopServer, I went straight for the premium version, but just in case you’ve installed the limited edition and now want to go with the premium / pro version, this video will walk you through the upgrade process:

  • Ensure that the limited edition is turned off
  • Download the premium / pro version from ServerPress.com, unpack the zip file and double click the exe / installer file and when prompted click continue.
  • Accept the agreement details, check the “Upgrade DesktopServer Premium” checkbox and hit continue.

Time to do the happy danceyou are now running DesktopServer premium / pro with absolutely no restrictions!


Add the power of local development to your WordPress arsenal!

For many years I used XAMPP for creating my local installs but then I discovered DesktopServer.

Not only does DesktopServer provides a complete WordPress development environment, it also does all the heavy lifting of creating a WordPress website for you. You don’t have to worry about creating databases, adding privileges and playing around with your wp-config.php file… DesktopServer does all that for you.

And once you’ve created your local install you can play around with themes, check out problems with updates, check for plugin conflicts and when you’re good and ready, deploy your local WordPress site to the live server.

If you’d like to start taking advantage of having your very own local webserver and developing locally then head over to ServerPress.com. download your copy of DesktopServer and start creating your local installs today.

Desktop Server should be installed on every web developer’s system! It has saved me countless hours in creating sites, testing and deploying client and personal work. Even better is the team behind the curtain. They take care of their customers and treat everyone from beginner to advanced equally. Best. Investment. Ever.
Adam Silver – KitchensinkWP.com

I hope that you enjoyed the post and that it’s whetted your appetite for creating and working locally with your WordPress websites.

If you have any thoughts about local WordPress development in general or DesktopServer in particular, then please leave a comment and if you’d like to spread the word about DesktopServer’s fabulous development environment, please use my social sharing icons below.

My thanks and gratitude to ServerPress.com for the Dave DesktopServer video and to OSTraining for their DesktopServer training videos.

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