ServerPress: A Quick and Easy Way to Create Local WordPress Installs

ServerPress LogoA few months ago, I had the privilege to attend WordCamp Grand Rapids. At the event, I obtained a branded USB stick. Little did I know that this was no ordinary USB drive.

Making It Easy To Setup A Local Dev Environment For WordPress

ServerPress is a company devoted to making it as easy as possible to set up a local development environment for WordPress. ServerPress has two different editions of their DesktopServer software. DesktopServer Premium costs $99 per year and includes access to priority support, content, additional features and multisite support. The DesktopServer limited edition is free to use but only has access to a limited amount of documentation and support. The limited version is what was packaged on the USB stick. Both editions support Macintosh OS X 10.4.11-10.9.0 and Windows XP/Vista/7/8.

Automate The Configuration of New Websites With Blueprints

Desktop Server Blueprints
Easily Install Different WordPress Versions

The WordPress version that came with my USB drive was WordPress 3.6. We are now at 3.7.1 with 3.8 around the corner. I contacted support via email and they promptly replied with an explanation on how to update the version of WordPress that’s used when creating a new test site. DesktopLimited has support for something called Blueprints. Blueprints help accelerate the development process by automating the configuration of new sites.

By placing WordPress versions (zip files) inside of the Blueprints folder, you can select which version of WordPress will be installed during the creation of a new testing site. You can also place commonly used themes and plugins inside of the Blueprints folder. This technique provides a quick and easy way to test themes and plugins on multiple versions of WordPress.

DesktopServer Limited Is A Great Substitute For WAMP

Desktop Server Features Comparison Chart
Feature Comparison Chart

WAMP installs Apache, MySQL, phpMyAdmin, php 5.3, and Xdebug. DesktopServer Limited Edition has all of that plus the ability to install specific WordPress versions, domain name mapping, automated virtual hosts creation and can copy WordPress sites. If you’re going to use WAMP to setup a local environment for WordPress development, it makes sense to use DesktopServer instead as it provides everything WAMP offers and so much more.

While I’ve only scratched the surface, I’ve used the software enough to justify ditching WAMP and using DesktopServer Limited from now on. I invite you to try out their free version and let me know what you think.


19 responses to “ServerPress: A Quick and Easy Way to Create Local WordPress Installs”

  1. I started using ServerPress a few months ago and it could well be the best $99 I’ve spent this year!

    Used with Duplicator (really good and free plugin) it’s so fast to setup a local dev site and the direct deploy is equally useful for deploying new sites inc. changing URLs throughout sites.

    As Bob says above the support is really excellent too.

  2. Hi Jeffro
    I use XAMPP for local installs and have looked at ServerPress a few times.
    The only problem is that ServerPress and XAMPP can’t be run together so I’d have to move all my XAMPP sites over to ServerPress.

    I understand that at the moment there is no automated method of making this changeover so for the time being… I’m staying with XAMPP.

    If anyone knows of a painless way of making the move I’d gladly buy the premium version of ServerPress.

  3. @Keith Davis – Hi Keith. I could be wrong but my understanding is you can’t use DesktopServer and XAMPP at the same time because of the services.

    I currently use XAMPP as well however I didn’t use the installer which means I have no services installed. I just extracted the zip and manually start/stop services using XAMPP’s control panel.

    Perhaps Marc can clarify?

  4. @Len
    Hi Len,

    Yes, as long as you do not have both Apache and MySQL installed as services that run natively, then you can use the Xampp control panel to do what you need. The important thing is that you do need to stop each service and restart them after every new local .dev environment installation. It is an added step but it’s not terribly difficult.

  5. Jeffro,

    It’s articles like this that help us get the word out so we appreciate it beyond measure!

    I should also give credit where credit is due here. Stephen Carnam is the genius behind DesktopServer, and he truly IS a genius. I’m just lucky enough to be a member of the ServerPress Team!

  6. @Len – and Marc
    Thanks for the info.

    At the moment I start Apache and MySql from the XAMPP control panel each time I want to play with a local site.

    “The important thing is that you do need to stop each service and restart them after every new local .dev environment installation. It is an added step but it’s not terribly difficult.”

    Sounds as though I can use both… but not at the same time.
    That’s no big deal.

    Thanks guys I’ll give the free version a try tonight and if all goes well I’ll check out the paid version.

    Marc you guys also need an affiliate plan.
    I like to pay for the things I buy via affiliate sales and who is better positioned to recommend ServerPress than the guys who are using it?

    Almost forgot…. I like the hat Len, very festive.

  7. […] 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. […]


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