If you are planning for running a WordPress blog, then it is important to have a localhost setup. This will help to play around with new features, learn WordPress and test theme/plugins before deploying updates in live environment. Whether you are using Mac or Windows, there are many localhost apps available free for settings up the PHP/MySQL server locally. However, Local and MAMP are the two popular apps and we will compare Local Vs MAMP app features in this article for you to choose the best one.
Local Vs MAMP
Flywheel is one of the managed WordPress hosting companies offering high-end hosting plans. Earlier they were offering a local development app called Local By Flywheel for synching local and live website changes. However, WPEngine occurred Flywheel and the app name is also changed as simply Local. Though the app has some features for Flywheel and WPEngine users, it has dedicated features for setting up local WordPress websites. The Pro version was discarded and now you can get the app completely free.
On other hand, MAMP is owned by a company called MAMP GmbH and is very popular to install local server setup on macOS. Later, they have increased the scope to Windows and you can download the correct app version from their official website. The free version has certain limitations though it is sufficient to have a local server setup for beginners. They also offer many other apps like timeEditon outside the focus of local server setup.
The biggest difference between Local and MAMP is that MAMP is a generic one to install PHP/MySQL with Apache/Nginx setup. However, Local is a dedicated app that does one job – installing WordPress on your computer. when downloading Local app, you can choose the platform like Windows, Mac or Linux. The app is very big in size around 700+ MB and you need to install additional add-ons and packages if needed. After downloading, you can install the app like any other apps in your computer.
Similarly, you can download MAMP for Windows or Mac from their official website. The Mac app comes with two versions for Intel and Apple M1 processors. Therefore, make sure to check your Mac’s processor before downloading the MAMP app for Mac. You can check the processor type in Mac by clicking on the Apple Logo on top left corner and then go to “About This Mac” menu.
Though the installation process is similar to any other app, MAMP comes with trial version of MAMP Pro as well. Earlier, you had an option to choose the package when installing which is now removed. You have to install both the apps as a package and then uninstall MAMP Pro or leave it on your computer.
App Update Process
You will get a notification when app updates are available for both the apps. Local app will get the updates from server and you can update like any other app on your computer. However, updating MAMP is a pain that you have to manually download the latest version again from their website and install it on your computer. it will create a clone of the existing setup and keep a duplicate with a timestamp. You have to manually delete the old setup and start using the latest version. Checkout this article on how to update MAMP without making mistake.
Features Comparison of Local Vs MAMP
We will compare important features that a beginner level user need for practicing WordPress.
As mentioned, Local app comes with the latest WordPress version which will save plenty of time when creating a new site. You can also create a blueprint site and use it as a template to copy the settings or clone an existing site that you have already created. It is also possible to create a multisite site by simply selecting subdirectory or subdomain option during setup.
With MAMP, you have to go to WordPress.org website, download the latest version and then upload the extracted files in your “Application > MAMP > htdocs” folder. Then you have to start installing WordPress manually and customize the ports. The advantage with this process is that you can easily learn the steps, encounter real-time problems and resolve them. however, it can drive you crazy if your ultimate objective is to play with settings, themes and plugins inside WordPress admin panel. Also, the free version does not allow to create multiple sites. So, you have to spend time in fixing the installation errors and continue to use a single site.
Login and Admin Access
In both apps, you have to first start the site and then login to the admin panel. However, Local app allows you to automatically login to your admin panel without entering the username/password. This can save you time when you login to the site multiple times.
HTTPS is important feature for creating online stores with plugins like WooCommerce. Otherwise, some secured features will not work and you will see a warning message in the admin dashboard that your store is not using secured connection.
Local app allows you to access the created site using the local domain name as well with localhost name. You can use HTTPS only with local domain name and test your site with secured connection. You can enable HTTPS in Local app under “Advanced” section of the app settings.
MAMP does not offer an option to enable HTTPS for your localhost site. Therefore, you will see a warning message in the dashboard when using HTTPS connection.
Sharing Live Links of Localhost Site
How about sharing your localhost link with someone to access your site? You can do this with Local app by creating an account. This is super useful when you want to showcase the progress to your clients or collaborate within your team members. Simply click on “Live Link” option showing on the bottom of Local app to get the link and share to anyone.
Connecting to Host
As mentioned, Local app allows you to connect to Flywheel and WPEngine hosting accounts. You can push the entire changes or only the changed versions using the MagicSync option.
With MAMP, you have to manually export and import the database similar to migrating WordPress websites.
There are around 9 add-ons available with Local app which you can use for Cloud backup, broken link checking, compressing images, etc.
MAMP has no add-ons available within the app.
Related: 10 tips to use MAMP like a pro.
Complete Comparison of Local Vs MAMP Free Version
Below is the complete list of features comparing Local and MAMP free version.
|App||Free app||Comes with MAMP Pro that you have to uninstall|
|Platforms||Windows, Mac and Linux||Windows, Mac M1 and Mac Intel|
|WordPress Included||Yes||No, manual download and upload|
|Sync with Hosting||Flywheel and WPEngine with MagicSync option||Manual sync required with any hosting company|
|HTTPS||HTTPS with local site domains possible||No|
|One-click Login||Yes, login to admin panel without password||No|
|Live Link||Yes, account registration required||No|
|DB Management Tool||Adminer||phpMyAdmin|
|Apace / Nginx||Yes||Yes|
|Site Files Access||Full||Full|
|Email Testing||MailHog included||MailHog is a Pro feature|
Support for Apps
Since these apps are offered free, you should not expect critical support over tickets. However, both apps have decent documentation that you can use for troubleshooting purposes. In addition, Local app has a forum where you can post your queries. You can raise a ticket for synchronization issues when you have a hosting account with WPEngine. MAMP Pro also offers ticket support through Zendesk.
Conclusion – Local Vs MAMP
As you see, Local is a dedicated WordPress app for creating WordPress sites for practicing, testing and developing purposes. It comes with preinstalled WordPress and takes few minutes to install it on your computer. On other hand, MAMP is a generic app for setting up local server environment and using it for WordPress is one of the options. Therefore, for WordPress users Local is the best app which includes many premium features of MAMP Pro. If you have WPEngine or Flywheel hosting, it will be a must app that you can use for local development and sync the incremental changes to live environment.