There are a lot of local development tools that you can use to create new websites and test projects. Few of them, however, are built with WordPress in mind, and DevKinsta is the latest tool to join their ranks.
Unlike regular local development environments, DevKinsta is built specifically for WordPress. As you might imagine from its name, the team behind DevKinsta is the same one behind the Kinsta-managed WordPress hosting service.
In this article, we’re going to see what DevKinsta is all about, take it for a test run, and talk about who should consider using this tool. Let’s get to it!
An Introduction to DevKinsta
Kinsta is one of the most well-known names when it comes to managed WordPress hosting. They offer built-in staging functionality as part of every plan and now, with DevKinsta, you can also create local WordPress testing environments.
DevKinsta enables you to launch or ‘spin up’ new local WordPress websites using a stack that includes:
Thanks to Docker containers, DevKinsta provides you with isolated environments for each local WordPress website. That means you can use different server configurations, WordPress and PHP versions for each site, depending on what you need.
DevKinsta’s goal is to provide you with the easiest way to test new projects locally. It can enable you to launch websites in a matter of minutes, access their database at the touch of a button, and even interact with them via the command line.
The tool also includes email inboxes for each website you spin up and it enables you to keep debugging logs, which makes it ideal for troubleshooting purposes.
As you might imagine, DevKinsta also integrates with its parent hosting service. If you use Kinsta, you can download copies of your sites, work on them locally, then push them to staging environments with a click (as long as you have the permissions for it!).
DevKinsta is available for both Windows and macOS devices and the company behind it boasts that the service will be free forever.
A Hands-On Experience Using DevKinsta
Getting started using DevKinsta is simple. You don’t need to sign up for an account to download the tool – just go to the DevKinsta homepage, click on the download button, fill out some contact information and you’re good to go:
The installation process may take a few minutes since DevKinsta needs to set up Docker and download the necessary containers to run the program.
Once the program is running, you’ll get access to a dashboard that looks like this:
The tool’s inteface is very minimalistic. Alongside your site list, you’ll see options to open each website through your browser, access its local directory, and the WordPress admin. If you click on the three vertical dots to the far right, you’ll access that site’s detail page:
If you want to launch a new local WordPress project, you can click on the Add site button from the Sites list. DevKinsta will ask you what type of project you want to work on:
If you decide to import an existing website from Kinsta, the program will ask you to verify your user credentials. You can also create new and ‘custom’ sites.
The default option is New WordPress site. That choice uses DevKinsta’s default settings, which include the latest versions of WordPress, PHP, and all the other software that you need. By choosing this option, all you have to do is enter a site name, an admin username, and a password.
As soon as you fill out all the details that DevKinsta needs, the program will start setting up or importing your website:
Usually, that process takes anywhere from one to two minutes, but your mileage may vary. In any case, it’s much faster than launching a new website through a web host.
The only difference between using the New WordPress site and Custom site options is that the latter gives you more control over each installation. With a custom site, you can select the PHP version and set a name for your database.
Once a site is up, you can enable SSL and HTTPS from its settings page, as well as debugging mode for it. Aside from that, you can also access each site’s database using the built-in Adminer tool:
Overall, DevKinsta managed to make the top of our list of user-friendly WordPress local development tools right from the get-go. To be fair, though, that list is very brief.
One key advantage that DevKinsta has over other similar tools is that it pledges to remain free forever. Right now, it just launched but since we’ve used Kinsta in the past, we’re confident DevKinsta’s feature list will continue to grow.
Who Should Be Using DevKinsta?
There are a lot of use cases for local WordPress development. If you’re a developer, work for an agency, a designer, or even a freelancer, you probably juggle a lot of WordPress projects. Being able to work on them locally can save you a lot of time and money.
Local WordPress websites have the advantage of being blazing fast and you get full control over your environment setup. Although there are a lot of local development environment tools that you can use, DevKinsta is definitely one of the most user-friendly options.
If you work with WordPress websites exclusively, you should definitely give DevKinsta a try. Although it’s lacking in advanced functionality, it makes setting up new websites easy and it’s 100% free.
What’s more, it’s very easy to find support if you need it. There’s a thorough section of the Kinsta knowledge base devoted to DevKinsta, where you can learn the basics and get advanced tips. If you run into any problems, you can also reach out to the DevKinsta community, and get help from a dedicated and friendly team.
DevKinsta launched recently (as of the writing of this article), which means that its feature set is still somewhat limited. However, DevKinsta’s core functionality, which is enabling you to create local WordPress websites, works flawlessly.
In time, we hope to see DevKinsta add new and exciting features to the tool. For now, we recommend that you check it out if you’re regularly working with multiple WordPress projects and you’re a fan of free software.