Local WordPress development with LocalWP


What it is

If your client is hosting with WP Engine, there is a local development tool called LocalWP that integrates seamlessly with the hosted site.

The website’s files and database can be synced between the two environments. , making development more efficient.

Install and configure

This tool requires that API credentials are both created and shared by the WP Engine account owner.

  1. Create a LocalWP account
  2. Create a LocalWP community account
  3. Download and install LocalWP. The application creates a local Docker container and is a turnkey development environment.
  4. Once the application is installed, click the cloud icon to connect to WP Engine. This is where you’ll be asked for the API credentials.
  5. You’ll be asked which WP Engine environment to download. Always choose the dev environment.

Once connected to the remote environment the website can be pushed and pulled between LocalWP and WP Engine.

If you are adding plugins and themes, you should first create a GitHub repo, then clone that repo into the Local Sites directory that LocalWP creates.

Other uses

You can also create a standalone WordPress installation that is not connected to WP Engine. This is a great solution for testing existing plugins and themes or developing new ones.


Because the LocalWP application is not a traditional Apache/MySQL/PHP installation, some important components of WordPress development are missing.

There is no PHP executable. This means that code hinting tools in your IDE of choice have no compiled referenced.

Also, because there is no traditional PHP installation, the use of the Composer package manager for PHP is not available. Thus, linting applications like PHPCodeSniffer and the WordPress Coding Standards are not available.

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