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Complete Guide to Setting Up a WordPress Development Environment on MacOS

Getting Started on MacOS WordPress Web Development

Creating a solid WordPress development environment is pivotal for efficient custom theme development. If you’re a macOS user, this comprehensive guide is tailored for you. There are just 3 easy steps in setting up your dev environment:

  • Setting up your local server on macos
  • Picking out a top notch code editor
  • Installing the latest version of WordPress

Let’s dive in to ensure a seamless development workflow for your WordPress projects. We will provide all official links to things you need to set up this WordPress dev environment.

If you stumbled on here accidentally and want to setup your web dev environment on Windows platform, we do have a guide on that as well.

Local Servers in MacOS for WordPress Web Development

There are so many options for you to use

  1. MAMP (macOS Version)
    • Features: MAMP is a free, local server environment that includes Apache, MySQL, and PHP, making it easy to develop and test websites locally on macOS.
    • Website: MAMP
  2. Local by Flywheel
    • Features: Local by Flywheel is a popular local WordPress development tool designed specifically for macOS. It offers one-click WordPress installations, site cloning, SSL support, and more, making it easy to create and manage WordPress sites locally.
    • Website: Local by Flywheel
  3. AMPPS
    • Features: AMPPS is a software stack for macOS that provides everything you need to run web applications locally. It includes Apache, MySQL, MongoDB, PHP, Perl, Python, and Softaculous auto-installer for easy application deployment.
    • Website: AMPPS
  4. Laragon
    • Features: Laragon is a powerful, isolated, fast & easy local development environment for macOS. It offers one-click installation for popular CMS like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and more. Laragon also supports Node.js, Ruby, Python, and other programming languages.
    • Website: Laragon
  5. DevKinsta
    • Features: DevKinsta is a free local development suite for macOS by Kinsta, a popular WordPress hosting provider. It offers quick and easy setup, one-click WordPress installations, SSL support, and tools for developing, testing, and deploying WordPress sites locally.
    • Website: DevKinsta
  6. Valet
    • Features: Valet is a macOS local development environment by Laravel. It provides a lightweight and minimal setup for developing PHP applications, including WordPress. Valet uses Nginx as the web server and supports automatic site routing and SSL.
    • Website: Valet

Setting up macOS Web Development Environment

I have been using the MAMP server for my web development needs since 2014. It is easy to setup, and highly recommended. For the purpose of this guide, we will be moving forward with MAMP as well.

Download and Install MAMP

  • Visit the official MAMP website to download the latest version compatible with macOS.
  • Open the downloaded MAMP package and follow the installation instructions to install MAMP on your macOS machine.

Start Apache and MySQL Servers

  • Launch MAMP from your Applications folder or Spotlight search.
  • Start the Apache and MySQL servers by clicking on the ‘Start Servers’ button.

Create a MySQL Database

  • Open your preferred web browser and navigate to http://localhost:8888/MAMP/.
  • Click on the ‘phpMyAdmin’ link to access the phpMyAdmin dashboard.
  • Click on the ‘Databases’ tab and enter a name for your new database.
  • Click ‘Create’ to create a new MySQL database for your WordPress installation.

Download and Install WordPress

  • Download the latest version of WordPress from the official website. WordPress version 6.5.2 is the latest one at the time of writing this tutorial.
  • Extract the downloaded WordPress zip file.
  • Copy the extracted WordPress folder and paste it into the ‘htdocs’ directory of your MAMP installation (e.g., /Applications/MAMP/htdocs/).

Run the WordPress Installation

  • Open your web browser and navigate to http://localhost:8888/wordpress/.
  • Follow the WordPress installation wizard to set up your website, including entering your site title, creating a username and password, and connecting to the MySQL database you created earlier.

Choosing the Best Code Editor for WordPress Development on macOS

Selecting a robust and feature-rich code editor is essential for productive WordPress theme development. Here are some popular and macOS-friendly code editors suitable for WordPress development:

  • Visual Studio Code (VS Code)

    • Features: VS Code is a lightweight, free, and powerful code editor with built-in support for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and WordPress development. It offers a rich set of features, extensions, and customization options to enhance your coding experience.
    • Website: Visual Studio Code
  • Sublime Text

    • Features: Sublime Text is a versatile and fast code editor known for its speed, efficiency, and extensive package ecosystem. It offers powerful search and navigation features, customizable user interface, and support for various programming languages and technologies.
    • Website: Sublime Text
  • Atom

    • Features: Atom is a modern and customizable code editor developed by GitHub. It offers a user-friendly interface, extensive package library, and customizable themes and settings to suit your coding style and preferences. Atom is free, open-source, and supports various programming languages and technologies.
    • Website: Atom
  • Brackets

    • Features: Brackets is an open-source code editor specifically designed for web development. Developed by Adobe, Brackets offers a modern and streamlined interface, live preview functionality, and built-in support for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It also provides extensions for additional features and customizations to enhance your web development workflow.
    • Website: Brackets

Choose the code editor that aligns with your macOS requirements, install it on your macOS machine, and customize it to enhance your WordPress theme development efficiency, productivity, and code quality.

Moving Forward

Setting up a WordPress development environment on macOS is a crucial step towards becoming a proficient WordPress theme developer. By following this detailed guide, you’ll have a fully functional local WordPress installation, a reliable and macOS-friendly code editor, and a local server ready to kickstart your WordPress theme development journey.

Related courses for this will be up soon!

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