DevKinsta: The Best Free Local WordPress Development Tool?
Today we’ll be talking about DevKinsta, a tool for local WordPress development that’s here to help developers working with WordPress and make their lives easier. DevKinsta was launched by Kinsta earlier this year and has already received a lot of attention so we thought we should make an article with all you need to know about this new tool.
So in this post, we’ll cover:
- What is local WordPress development?
- What is DevKinsta?
- Key features of DevKinsta.
- And more!
Let’s get to it.
What is local WordPress development and why it’s useful?
When you are just starting out on WordPress, you might make new changes and updates directly to your site. It seems obvious: where else would you do that? However, if anything goes wrong for whatever reason, your visitors will notice it.
Imagine letting people enter a building that it’s going through major repairs. All the dust in the air and the possibility of something falling on people’s heads. That wouldn’t be nice. And it wouldn’t look professional at all.
So ideally, you’ll need an alternative, somewhere you could work risk-free and once you’re done, put it in the open. You would need to restore that part of the building and then let people in.
That’s where a local development tool like Kinsta comes in. Local means the website is on your computer but not on the Internet. So you can have a staging environment and test things locally before you put them to the actual site.
With tools like this, you copy your website to your hard drive, thus your changes don’t affect your live site. You have what’s called a staging environment. A mirror that mimics production as precisely as possible for quality assurance.
And if this tremendous benefit isn’t reason enough for you to consider local development, here are more.
Benefits of local WordPress development
- It’s independent of an online connection. Do you have wi-fi problems? No worries! Because the site is on your computer, local development tools work without Internet connectivity. Another advantage of being independent of the Internet is your site is super fast, which makes for a better workflow.
- Test and update safely. Try themes, plugins and update your site to see if there are any problems before applying the changes to your actual site. Localhost sites let developers check their products to ensure the quality and smoothness of your site.
- It’s free. You can set local development tools for free, you don’t need to pay for a staging area.
Now, there are plenty of local development tools available for you but today we’ll focus on DevKinsta.
What is DevKinsta?
Kinsta is one of the most popular and award-winning WordPress hosting platforms out there. It’s even powered by Google Cloud. Earlier this year, Kinsta launched its set of tools for local WordPress development named DevKinsta.
Some of the reasons why DevKinsta stands out from other tools are:
- Powerful built-in database and local email management tool.
- Anyone can use DevKinsta, even non Kinsta customers. And it’s free!
- DevKinsta makes WordPress site creation and development simple and straightforward.
- Every DevKinsta site is powered by a modern hosting stack plus the latest version of WordPress Core.
DevKinsta is also available for Macs, Windows, and Linux in ten languages. In addition to English, DevKinsta supports French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Swedish, and Danish.
Finally, DevKinsta has tons of resources to make the best out of its set of tools: free ebooks, a blog, articles, a frequently asked question section, and more. You’re never alone in the process and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can leave them some feedback so they know what you’re needing.
How to use DevKinsta?
Step 1: Download DevKinsta
Head over to the DevKinsta download page.
Just enter your name and email and it’ll automatically detect your platform. DevKinsta uses Docker Desktop, which is very powerful, so it might take a while to download. If you don’t have Docker, you’ll have to install it. Once Docker is installed, you can proceed to install DevKinsta. Keep in mind, DevKinsta is around 1.62 GB, so it’s quite heavy.
Kinsta recommends at least 5 GB of disk space and 1 GB of RAM. And, of course, a stable Internet connection. If you don’t have enough storage, you can keep this application on an external hard drive.
Docker also launches and configures containers that, in order to work, require you to enable virtualization in BIOS.
Step 2: Install DevKinsta
On macOS, open the DMG file and drag DevKinsta into your Application folder. Then, double-click DevKinsta to start the setup process.
On Windows, click on the EXE file, and step through the installation wizard.
Step 3: Create a new site
Once you installed DevKinsta, you’ll see it works super quickly.
You have three options when creating a new site in DevKinsta: you can create a brand new WordPress site, import it from Kinsta if you are a Kinsta user to use it as a staging environment, or create a custom site.
If you choose to create a new WordPress site, you’ll need to give your site a name, an admin user name, and of course, a password. DevKinsta will create for you a vanilla WordPress install with Nginx, PHP, MySQL, and the latest stable version of WordPress Core.
If you choose to import it from Kinsta, you’ll be able to push the changes to staging and live environments.
Finally, the third option lets you create a local site with a specific PHP version and has multisite support.
Each option requires you to take a different set of steps you can check out in this video from DevKinsta.
As soon as you create your new site, DevKinsta will start working on setting up your local website. Once your website is ready, click the Open site button at the top of the settings page.
Step 4: Start working
Finally, time to start working. You’ll see DevKinsta gives you tons of possibilities.
For example, with DevKinsta you can generate an SSL and HTTPS certificate to guarantee the safety of your site. Once you do that, alongside your URL, you’ll see the icon of a security lock. This step isn’t really required when you’re building the website locally but you need to do this when you migrate it to the Internet. This is super important because Google has been paying a lot of attention to security when ranking websites, as you can read in this post.
After you’ve done all the work, you’ll have to put your website on a live server. The best option here is Kinsta, so we’ll see its pricing later.
- MailHog. DevKinsta’s built-in local email application. Analyze and debug outgoing emails from your local WordPress sites. The emails won’t be sent externally and will only appear within DevKinsta so you can test them.
- WordPress error logging. Debug your site’s PHP errors with DevKinsta’s built-in WP_DEBUG toggle.
- Every site you create is automatically configured with Nginx, PHP, and MySQL.
- Adminer. A built-in database manager that is lightweight and open-source. Edit WordPress database tables, execute SQL queries, and more.
- Nice UX. Its interface is eye-catching and easy to use.
- Supports third-party database tools.
- It has PHP 7.x and 8.x support. And if your project is tied to a specific PHP version, DevKinsta lets you choose a version for your site.
- Seamless integration with MyKinsta.
- A community forum to exchange with others and contribute to shaping the future of DevKinsta.
- Powered by Docker. With Docker, your local site’s hosting stack is automatically containerized and optimized for security and near-native performance no matter what host OS you’re running.
As we mentioned before, DevKinsta is totally free, something that’s completely amazing. However, if you are interested in using Kinsta to pull your site live, below there’s a list of all its plans.
What’s great about Kinsta is it offers a lot of options regarding prices.
- Starter: $30 per month.
- Pro: $60 per month.
- Business: $100 per month. This tear and the Enterprise 3 are the only ones that offer a 30-day money-back.
- Business 2: $200 per month.
- Business 3: $300 per month.
- Business 4: $400 per month.
- Enterprise 1: $600 per month.
- Enterprise 2: $900 per month.
- Enterprise 3: $1,200 per month.
- Enterprise 4: $1,500 per month.
A work in progress
Like any great new service, DevKinsta is open to suggestions. As they put it, DevKinsta is in active development so if you don’t find some feature you want, you can leave a request in their community forum and they will take it into account.
Currently, DevKinsta only supports WordPress sites, but just like with features, you can submit a platform request.
Also, at the time, there’re some fields you can’t change:
- Project location.
- Web Server Type.
DevKinsta is a super complete set of tools for local WordPress development that any developer will love.
It doesn’t only have tons of features and resources, it’s also free and available to anyone, even non-Kinsta customers.
So if you are looking to upgrade your WordPress game, what are you waiting for?
Go and try DevKinsta!
Let us know about your experience using DevKinsta in the comments.