I've been hired to modify/update/change an existing WordPress theme. The site is already live, and I'm wondering how to work on the theme locally first.

closed as too broad by mrwweb, Johannes Pille, birgire, Pieter Goosen, gmazzap Aug 30 '14 at 10:38

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There are several plugins that will allow you to clone the database only, as well as the WordPress installation and media files. You will need to install a WAMP, LAMP or MAMP stack or XAMPP. Upon completion of your updates, you can migrate the site back to the host server.

  • Would using a plugin be a better alternative to exporting the database from phpmyadmin? – user58823 Aug 27 '14 at 21:06
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    phpmyadmin will usually crash if the database is bigger than about fifty megs on both export and import. If the database isn't that big, why not use the UI? If it is bigger, I personally prefer to use the command line, but not everyone does. Once you ftp the files down, you'll need to run a find and replace on the database because WordPress uses absolute paths for media, among other things. This is a good tool: interconnectit.com/products/… Good on you for asking about getting set up locally! – Andrew Bartel Aug 27 '14 at 22:12

While Ray's answer is perfectly correct you might want to use some geeky stuffs such as Vagrant which allows you to do quite the same as WAMP , XAMP, MAMP but in a more flexible way. The idea is to exactly match the production server.

May I suggest you to use child themes also. It's the best way to edit/modify a theme.

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