If you’ve ever experienced the WordPress “white screen of death,” applying plugin, theme or WordPress updates can be nerve-racking. Especially for me since I manage sites for clients, the last thing I want to do is be responsible for taking a site offline that doesn’t belong to me.
For years I’ve run WordPress sites in my own testing environment on my computer. Yes, I’m a WordPress developer but I feel that anyone responsible for a live site should have a testing environment. And you don’t have to be a developer to run websites from your computer. In fact, you can have a WordPress site running on your computer in about five minutes.
There are several important benefits from running a test environment for your WordPress sites:
- You can try out new themes, plugins, and experiment with settings without affecting your live site.
- You can apply plugin updates or WordPress core updates to ensure they are safe for your live site.
- It’s fast: you can see changes immediately which is great for style tweaks.
- You can practice backing up your live site and restoring it in your test environment so you can be prepared in case your site is hacked.
I wanted to run my own test environment on a USB stick for convenient sharing between computers and I recorded the setup. Even though this video is over 15 minutes long, if I wasn’t talking though the steps you’ll see you can install the software to run WordPress in five minutes.
In the video, I install XAMPP software which installs and runs all the components needed to run WordPress on your computer. It’s 100% free and as you’ll see in the video, very easy to install.