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It appears that Wordpress is designed to have websites constructed and maintained online - in the live website. I see some posts here that indicate some people are doing such development offline - in Localhost. But the effort to move a website online - especially for updates - appears to be complex, somewhat manual, and not at all automated. In fact, it's not clear of just the changes can be moved, or if the entire website would have to be reloaded. This seems complicated by visitor changes to the live website while updates are being created. And backups or version control of content - well I haven't gone far on that yet.

So what works? Is it just best to make changes to the live website? What would be the best approach for doing development offline?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 11 '12 at 15:00

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4 Answers 4

It totally depends on the types of changes being made. If you're modifying a theme or a plugin, depending on what the changes are, you can likely build them locally or on a remote dev server, then push them to production with ease.

That works for a user or two, with more users you need version control - something like Git or SVN - to track and merge changes.

See this: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/9705849/how-to-set-up-a-stageing-enviorment-for-wordpress-wordpress-mu/10837071

I usually prefer to have a remote dev server because it's easier to replicate the production environment, and it's easier to access from multiple machines. The way I set it up is no slower than local development... possibly even faster.

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I found this video very helpful. http://wordpress.tv/2011/11/18/dave-konopka-get-control-of-wordpress-with-version-control/. I think there is another video around somewhere which deals specifically with managing a website ( as opposed to developing a theme or plugin ) but I cant find it. Here it is ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZEiFi4thDI

Edit - I found this too, which may help. http://wp.tutsplus.com/tutorials/hosting/wordpress-development-and-deployment-with-mamp-git-and-dropbox/

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We run all of our development locally on our machines. We use MAMP Pro to host our local environments and databases. Git is used for version control and we deploy those changes to our production servers with Beanstalk.

Once development is done locally (which is mainly done for speed reasons - it's much faster to work on your machine than on a server), we will do an export/dump of the database. Once the database is imported and the files are deployed, it's just a matter of changing a few values in the database and wp-config.php.

I would advise strongly against making any changes to any live website. You want to make changes in a protected (read: not public) environment to make sure you don't royally mess something up. Admittedly, however, it does take quite a bit of work to get an infrastructure in place that makes it easy to modify live sites safely.

For now, I'd stick with getting MAMP (WAMP if your on Windows) running on your machine and getting a local site up and running.

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"Once the database is imported..." What do you upload, the entire database? Doesn't that delete visitor data from production? And what "files are deployed"? –  Patrick Moloney Jun 11 '12 at 17:44
Yes, we export the entire database from development and then import it into production. You are correct - it does delete user data. But that's not an issue if it's a brand new site and there is no user data! Sorry, I was a bit vague regarding files. The whole shebang: WP files, our theme, images, .htaccess, etc. –  perpetualstudent Jun 11 '12 at 20:04

Just use http://www.seedprod.com as I think this is the best plugin on the market...and no I have no commercial interest in it.

Cheers Mac

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Lone link is considered a poor answer (see FAQ) since it is meaningless by itself and target resource is not guaranteed to be alive in the future. Please try to include at least summary of information you are linking to. –  Rarst Jul 16 '13 at 9:30

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