Quickly Setup A WordPress Testing Environment With InstantWP

InstantWP is a free tool used to quickly and easily create a WordPress testing environment. It ships with everything you need to get a local install of WordPress up and running. Apache, PHP, MySQL, and WordPress 3.6 are prepackaged.

You may be wondering why WordPress 3.6 is installed and not the latest version. Seamus Brady, developer of InstantWP, told me he keeps it a few versions behind since people use it to test upgrades. Upgrading to the latest version is accomplished from the backend of WordPress.

Control Panel After Installation
Control Panel After Installation

While InstantWP is compatible with Windows based machines, it doesn’t work on Macs and doesn’t support WordPress multisite. However, the software is portable as you can install and run it from a USB thumbdrive. I use WampServer to handle my local WordPress install but InstantWP was faster to use. I didn’t have to create a database, administrator account or password. You can only run one instance of the software at a time. Creating a second test site is as simple as installing InstantWP into a different folder.

It also comes with a set of demo content that comes in handy for testing plugins and themes.

Dummy Content Already In Place
Dummy Content Already In Place

Don’t mind the WordPress fauxgo in the dummy content. I’ve already notified Seamus and referred him to the proper logo to use.

InstantWP Is Almost Instant

ServerPress which we covered a few months ago has more features and is cross-platform compatible but in terms of speed, InstantWP is close to living up to its name. It’s easier than installing WampServer or a different LAMP package. If you primarily use Windows and just need a quick testing environment for WordPress, I recommend adding InstantWP to your tool belt.

9 Comments


  1. Hi Jeff – been using InstantWP for a while now – makes providing client initial drafts a breeze. Additionally love the fact that you can just copy to flash or send via dropbox. Agreed – Only downside is not Mac compatible. Tried ServerPress as per your previous post, but prefer InstantWP. Makes going live so easy with WP Migrate db.

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    1. I’m curious, how do you show clients on the web what you’ve been working on via InstantWP? Do you show them in person or set things up in a way to where they can access your local server?

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  2. Looks good Jeff but I’m an XAMPP man.
    Once XAMPP is up and running it only takes a few minutes to add new sites.

    Just Google “How to Run 2 or more WordPress sites on XAMPP – localhost” to see a fabulous video or with your permission I’ll post a link.

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    1. You can post a link if you’d like. There are tons of tools out their to accomplish the same thing XAMPP, WampServer, InstantWP, DesktopServer, you get the picture. I just like highlighting those that most may not have hear of. Also, the speed in which InstantWP works on a Windows machine without me having to setup a database or anything is just awesome.

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  3. Thanks Jeff,

    I looked at InstantWP a year ago but never tried it. I use XAMPP for Windows and MAMP on my Mac. This is an app called BitNami for Mac but again, never tried it.

    Keep up the good work!

    See you in Dayton!

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    1. You should give InstantWP at least a look. It’s darn quick for just setting up a testing environment. I also use XAMPP but the fact that InstantWP can be run from a USB stick is a great feature. See you in Dayton!

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  4. I’m a relative newbie (started building sites in the last year or so). InstantWP would have been great for learning and love the price. The only downside I can see is you can’t use on a Mac.

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    1. Yep, can’t use it on Mac. For that, I suggest DesktopServer even if it’s more than what you need. Of course, there’s also Mamp. Both of these I think are not as quick as InstantWP on a Windows machine in terms of getting a testing environment together.

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  5. Just a note, Jeff. There are recent problems with developing and importing sites that need the Jetpack WordPress Plugin features such as the gallery, contact forms, etc., with InstantWP. This is one solution, to add the JETPACK_DEV_DEBUG definition to the wp-config.php file, and that worked for a bit, but now it isn’t working again. I finally found the answer from birgire with a tiny Plugin to permit Jetpack to run locally on InstantWP, MAMP, WAMP, etc., portable versions of WordPress. Whew!

    This has been a painful experience of researching and nagging to resolve this issue, and I’m so thrilled to have Jetpack finally working for myself, clients, and students using portable versions of WordPress.

    Thanks!

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