Local is a free app from managed hosting provider Flywheel. Earlier it was known as Local by Flywheel and later with the acquisition of WPEngine, it is simply known as Local. We were using MAMP for years to test and play around WordPress features. We also tried other services like WAMP and XAMPP. However, Local is an extraordinary way to focus on your local WordPress site without spending time on backend stuff. If you are new to WordPress world, we strongly recommend you trying Local for learning WordPress.
11 Reasons to Use Local App for WordPress Local Site
In our earlier articles, we have explained how to setup local WordPress site using Local app and how to clone your live site to computer. After using the Local app for some time, here is a list of reasons for you to try the app.
- Dedicated WordPress setup
- Superfast local environment
- Change configuration quick
- Multiple WordPress sites
- WordPress multisite
- Trusted SSL connection
- Live link
- Import and export site
- Additional Add-ons
- Community help
- Pro features
In addition, Local app team frequently updates the features to make things much easier.
1. Dedicated WordPress Setup
Unlike other local services, Local is a dedicated app for building WordPress sites. You do not need to confuse yourself with copy pasting WordPress installation file, creating SQL database and modify config.php file for establishing connection. All you need to provide is admin username, password and email address – the app will do the rest for you. It will install WordPress on the preferred PHP / Web Server / MySQL environment. You have an option to customize the backend by changing the environment.
2. Superfast Local Server
You will see the admin dashboard and websites open with blazing speed. It will save lot of time when working with Gutenberg editor, uploading images or installing plugin/theme.
3. Change Configuration Quickly
WordPress works with complex setup in backend by combining PHP, MySQL and Web Server. After installing WordPress with Local app, you can change the PHP or Apache version by simply selecting the required version. You can do this on the frontend app screen without navigating to settings / preferences section. Remember, changing PHP version is very useful for testing the functionality of plugins and theme. This will make your workflow easier in live environment as you can check the plugin / theme updates with Local app.
4. Multiple WordPress Sites
With MAMP and other services, installing multiple virtual hosts is a premium option. However, Local app allows you to create multiple WordPress installation for free. You can even create a blueprint site and duplicate the site quickly with different site name.
5. WordPress Multisite, Subdirectory and Subdomain
Many themes and plugins behave differently on single and multisite installation. In fact, some products will not work on multisite environment. Local app offers option to create a WordPress multisite setup. This is super useful if you want to learn multisite setup.
In addition, you can also install WordPress on subdirectory or subdomain to your main site. You can do this locally on your computer without the need of purchasing real hosting plan.
6. Trusted SSL Connection
Many local apps use http://localhost or http://localhost::8888 as the site URL. This will create many problems:
- Chrome and other browsers will show “Not Secure” in the address bar.
- Online store plugins like WooCommerce will warn you for the missing HTTPS connection.
- Some plugins will simply stop working with localhost URL.
Local app solves these entire problems by enabling SSL connection for the site. In addition, it uses .local extension for the site URL like yoursite.local. Therefore, you will not face any installation and activating problems with plugins and themes.
7. Live Link
Another wonderful feature of the Local app is you can share your local website with anyone on the internet. You can share with your friends or build a demo site for your client and showcase to them remotely. This is also useful for working collaboratively with multiple people on a single site. All you need is to enable live link and get your URL. You can share this URL with anyone for accessing your local site from there computer’s browser. You need to make sure your site is running in Local app and you are connected to internet.
8. Import and Export Site
In addition to creating a blueprint site, you can import the entire site and export back to the app. Right click on the site from the list and choose “Export” option. You can ignore file extensions to exclude them from the import. Later, go to “File > Import” menu and upload the exported site back to any Local app.
9. App Add-ons
Within the app, you can find add-ons to enhance the features. Though you can see only three add-ons at this moment, we are sure this will grow as Local app is one of the masterpiece for Flywheel and WPEngine team to showcase.
10. Community Help
Local team provide dedicated forum for answering your queries. You can check the documentation and forum posts to clarify your questions from the experts.
11. Pro Features
Local is a free app, you have to provide your email address to download the app. However, there are pro features you can purchase which is useful especially if you are an existing Flywheel or WPEngine customer.
- Connect to Host – You can connect your Flywheel / WPEngine hosting account and setup a demo on the live environment. In addition, you can move the local site to live server and vice versa.
- Image Optimization – compress images and upload on local site.
- Priority Support – raise ticket to resolve your queries.
- Broken Link Checker – check broken links on your local site and move the content to live server without 404 errors.
- Instant Reload – click in the reload link to refresh site content if you have changed something in the backend like CSS.
The Local app is useful for two category of users – general users and WPEngine/Flywheel customers. As a general WordPress user, you can practice and play around with this app. With blazing speed, you can quickly learn WordPress features. If you are using or planning to use WPEngine/Flywheel hosting then go for Local Pro and get additional features. This will not only help you to learn but also make your workflow easier by testing and deploying the changes to live site.