Kinsta is a premium managed hosting platform for launching your WordPress sites. You can create a site with temporary domain URL, setup everything and then assign a custom domain name before launching. Kinsta also offers staging solution to create a duplicate of your site which can be accessible online. However, if you want to setup WordPress sites locally on your computer, then you can use the DevKinsta app for that purpose. In this article, I will take you through the step-by-step process of installing WordPress localhost site with DevKinsta app.
Purposes for DevKinsta App
There are three major purposes for DevKinsta app a WordPress user:
- Learning WordPress locally on your computer without purchasing Kinsta hosting plan.
- Install WordPress locally on your computer and setup the site. After that, it is easy to move the localhost site to live Kinsta hosting staging environment.
- Import your live Kinsta site to local computer.
If you are a developer, you can use the app to design, develop and test your theme or plugins locally. This article covers installing DevKinsta and setting up localhost WordPress site without having a Kinsta account primarily for the first purpose (learning and playing around with WordPress admin panel).
What You Need for Using DevKinsta?
You do not need to have a premium Kinsta account for using the app. However, you should subscribe to their newsletter for downloading the app. In addition, make sure to have the followings:
- Installed Docker app in your system – you do not need to register an account. But you need Docker for DevKinsta to work on your computer.
- At least 4 GB storage space for Docker, DevKinsta and your site files.
Once you are ready, follow the below steps to setup WordPress localhost site using DevKinsta app.
Step #1 – Download DevKinsta App
- Go to DevKinsta page and click on the download button.
- Enter your name and email address to subscribe to Kinsta newsletter and click on “Download” button.
- DevKinsta is available for Mac Apple chip, Mac Intel chip, Windows and Ubuntu. Make sure to select the correct app version depending on your operating system and download the installation file. I am using Mac Apple chip version in this article.
- After downloading, go to your Downloads folder and open the installation file. On Mac, you can simply drag and drop the DMG file to Applications file. You can follow the installation instructions on Windows to start the setup process.
- You may be prompted to allow the app as it is downloaded from third-party website and press “Open” or “Allow” to confirm.
- Since DevKinsta needs Docker, you will be prompted to download and install Docker app before proceeding.
If you are already using Docker, then go to Step #3. Otherwise, follow the instructions in Step #2 to install Docker.
Step #2 – Install Docker
- Click “Download Docker” button which will take you to Docker website.
- Select the app version for you operating system and download the app.
- Find the downloaded file and open it. On Mac, you can drag and drop the DMG file to Applications folder and on Windows, you can extract and install Docker app.
- After installation, launch Docker app and allow the app as it was downloaded from third-party website.
- Accept the usage terms and allow the app to run in background.
- Finish the setup by selecting “Use recommended settings (requires password)” option and then click on “Finish” button.
- Provide your system’s administrator password to finish Docker setup.
Now, click “Retry” in DevKinsta pop-up or launch the app if you have closed the pop-up. DevKinsta will start downloading Docker image files which may take some time.
Once the download is finished, you will see DevKinsta app’s dashboard.
Step #3 – Create Localhost WordPress Site
As mentioned, I will only discuss creating a new WordPress site in this article.
- Click on “New WordPress site” option in the dashboard to create a site with NGINX, MySQL and latest WordPress software.
- On next screen, provide the site name and admin name for logging into your WordPress site. DevKinsta app will automatically generate admin password for you which you can change if required. At any case, note down the username and password which are required for logging into your site later. Remember that admin username can’t be changed from WordPress admin panel. So, provide the correct name especially if you want to move the localhost site to live Kinsta environment. Click on “Create site” button to proceed further.
- It will take less than a minute to install WordPress and you will see a progress bar showing the status on bottom left of the app.
- You will be prompted to enter system’s admin password to allow the localhost domain name in your hosts file. Type the password and click “OK” button.
- After successful installation, you can see the dashboard shows your localhost site details.
Note: For creating a multisite localhost setup, you need to select “Custom site” option when creating a site. There you can provide admin credentials, enable multisite option and create a site.
Step #4 – Launching Site and Admin Panel
After creating a site, DevKinsta app will automatically start the site so that you will see all the buttons are enabled. If you see the buttons on the dashboard are frozen, click the “Start site” button showing next to “Site status”. You need to start the site when launching the app and stop the site before closing the app.
- Open localhost site – After starting the site, click on “Open site” button to launch your site. You will see the site with default WordPress theme as shown below:
- Sync – this button allows you to push your localhost site to live Kinsta hosting or pull a live site from Kinsta to DevKinsta app.
- Database manager – click on this button to open “Adminer” where you can see and manage the MySQL database.
- WP Admin – click on this button to open WordPress login page. Enter your admin username and password (provided in Step #3) to login to your WordPress admin panel.
Now that you can login to your WordPress admin panel, start paying around for learning or setup your localhost content for pushing to live Kinsta site. The localhost installation will be standard with default WordPress theme, plugins and dummy content. Check out this beginner guide to clean up the dummy content and prepare your site for launching.
Step # 5 – Managing Localhost Sites with DevKinsta
When you relaunch DevKinsta app after creating your first localhost site, the dashboard will show a list of sites. Click on the “Add site” button and start adding another localhost WordPress site. Though you can keep multiple localhost sites to test your themes, plugins and for learning, remember each site will occupy storage space. So, create a new site only when you have a need for that.
Click the three vertical dots showing at the end of site name and select Start / Stop site to start / stop localhost server. You can open the admin panel, launch site, open site’s folder, rename and delete the site from here.
Click on the site name to go to “Site Info” section where you can find all site details and change some important things. If you are using WooCommerce, then enable “SSL and HTTPS” to enable your localhost setup to use secure HTTPS connection. By default, DevKinsta app will use .local as domain extension for your localhost sites. You can change it under “Site Info” section and confirm the new extension.
Click the mail icon on the right sidebar to view all emails triggered from your local site like new installation email. DevKinsta app comes with a local SMTP (outgoing) server which you can use for testing email notifications from your site. Finally, click on the tool icon to view PHP version, edit php.ini file to change PHP parameters like memory and edit NGINX configuration. These are advanced options which you do not need to use in general.
Step #6 – Customizing DevKinsta App
The bottom left corner of the DevKinsta app shows help and settings icons. Help section will show quick links to support forum and installation guide. Click on the settings icon to customize the app as per your need. You can change the app’s language, time zone, theme (dark or light), ports for your local server, site storage location, top level domain, automatic app update and close settings.
Two other important settings in the section are to manage PHP extensions and add default WordPress admin credentials. By default, the app enables all PHP extensions which you can disable if required. You can add login admin name and password to default them in the installation screen so that you can use the same details for all your localhost setup.
I have used many local server apps like MAMP and Local. Frankly, DevKinsta is the fastest app which installs WordPress in just few seconds without any hassle. You can add as many as localhost sites for different purposes like learning, testing, etc. If you have Kinsta hosting account, you can push site to live environment or pull site from live server to DevKinsta app. Using Docker app is the only concern as the app needs ~2 GB space (1.88 GB on my Mac) and MAMP / Local apps do not need Docker setup. However, that will not be a problem if you have sufficient storage space on your Mac.
Frequently Asked Question on DevKinsta App
Yes, it is a free app from Kinsta for localhost WordPress site setup.
No, you do not need Kinsta account. However, you need an account with paid hosting plan for syncing local site with live server.
Yes, select “Custom site” instead of “New WordPress site” option when creating a site.
From the app installation (including Docker), it will take less than 20 minutes if you follow the above steps. For installing WordPress, it hardly takes few seconds.
Click on the help icon in DevKinsta app to find links to forum and documentation.
First make sure to update DevKinsta and Docker apps to latest versions. Docker may slow down when using the outdated version. In addition, you can change the PHP setup and increase storage space so that the app can run smoothly.