Coding Your WordPress Plugin on the Go Using InstantWP

Since a website is online, then you need to go online to update it, correct?

But isn’t that too cumbersome? You need to connect to your server, download the file, edit it then upload the edited file. After that, you need to check if your changes worked, otherwise you do that whole dance again.

It’s better to just have a copy of your website on your computer and edit it without needing to go online. Not only does it save you a lot of the trouble, you can test all the new plugins and themes you want without breaking your website. And as a bonus, it’s also a backup copy of your live site, in case you need it.

I know what you’re thinking, “Setting up my WordPress site on my computer? Madness! Isn’t that asking for too much for someone who’s not a developer?”

Fortunately, I did find something super simple for installing a WordPress on your local computer. I present: InstantWP!

It’s the simplest way I’ve found to setup a local WordPress on your laptop. Just download the free installer and run it on your computer. Then, you get a website server without all the crazy setup and trial and error. Trust me, it can get complicated setting up locally (and I might write about that in the future).

Here’s how I installed my copy:

  1. Go here and download the installer for your computer. It works with Windows and macOS. The latest release should be at the top. Download the one with “Win” in the name if you’re using Windows, or the one with “macOS” if you’re using a Mac.
  2. The file is around 300MB so it might take up to an hour to download. Might be good to grab something to eat or do some chores while it works (and stay off the computer so it can download faster).
  3. Once you download it, unzip the file and open the ReadMe file included, the one that starts with “ReadMe” and ends in “.html”. It talks about a few things you might need to do to make InstantWP on your computer.
  4. After that, just open “Start-InstantWP” inside the folder, wait for it to load, and you get a nice friendly screen that lets you do everything you need to do with your site. This is what it looks like:
for Windows
for macOS

Now that you have InstantWP installed, we need to do a few housekeeping activities before starting.

  • InstantWP starts with very little RAM, which might affect the performance of your offline site.
    1. On the InstantWP screen, click Advanced, then click Edit Config File.
    2. Edit the line RAM=268 to be RAM=512 or RAM=1024.
    3. Save the file, then Quit and Restart InstantWP.
  • Click on WordPress Admin to go to your site’s admin area. By the way, the webpage might load a bit slowly at first but that’s normal. I suggest you wait a bit and let the site load up before clicking the button.
  • You can also add the plugin you made via my previous post. Just go to Plugins > Add New > Upload Plugin, then activate it. Try and see if it work.
  • Let’s go ahead and update WordPress as well, since InstantWP’s version is a bit old.
    1. Click on WordPress Admin in the InstantWP screen.
    2. Go to Dashboard, then click the Update Now.
    3. Wait for the update to finish. You should see a screen similar to the one below (the latest version as I wrote this was 4.9.1)

That’s it! Some minor changes and a bit of waiting is all you need to get your WordPress site running on your computer.

If you need more info on how to use InstantWP, you can read the user guide, browse the FAQ or check the troubleshooting guide.

Right now, I’m assuming you’re building something from scratch so you don’t have a website yet. If in case you want to copy your live site into your local one, here’s a guide I found that will help you export your site. Note that it’s a bit comprehensive but I’m sure you can tackle it no problem.

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Glenn Santos

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