What is your WordPress dev setup?

I’m interested in trying out some new tools and am looking for your recommendations. Here are some questions I have:

  • What do you use to run WordPress locally? (Docker, VVV, something else?)
  • Where do you keep your project/git folders? (in the plugins directory, sync a build to plugins, Docker instance inside the project folder?)
  • What do you use to switch between WP versions?

Yes, this has been asked before several years ago. I’m curious what y’all are doing now as technology/processes have changed a bit.


  1. For WordPress core work, I am using a lot more of the e2e environment based on Docker. I have a couple of different environments, some git, some svn that are easy to swap WordPress versions.

    For plugin/theme work, I have a dedicated VVV instance for each thing I am working on. I skip provisioning when I don’t need them.

  2. I run Ubuntu, so I have a very simple old school LAMP stack set up, all sites are stored in a /development/sites/ directory with relevant vhost config.

    I typically have a single WordPress install for theme/plugin work, but all my plugin directories are in a separate /development/WordPress/plugins directory, and I create symlinks from the WordPress wp-content directory.

    If I need a different version I usually just create it a new site (eg wordpress-4.7) and download the specific version using wp-cli.

  3. I started off initially with a MAMP stack. Later switched to a Local By Flywheel. Then, I ran Arch for a while where I had a typical LAMP stack setup. In between, I also dabbled with Docker, but then quickly dropped it when I started running out of space on my MacBook. Again went back to a traditional LAMP stack on Arch, and since the lockdown began, I’ve switched back to my MacBook with a LAMP stack under Homebrew.

    I mostly design boutique websites. A lot of my work is building themes and small plugins specific to the client’s requirements. Most of my themes are synced to an organisation on BitBucket, except for the test themes I set up to test or develop various things.

    As for switching between WordPress versions, I usually work with the latest version of WordPress always at the time of development. However, I recently found out about WP-CLI, and I am soon hoping to set up a few Bash aliases to automate / make my life more easier when it comes to dealing with WordPress.

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