Usually, when it comes to setting up a local dev environment you have a few options. I’m here today to share with you, the joy that is Laragon. The fastest way to set up WordPress (or any other PHP CMS really) on a local machine.
Vagrant is a popular option which is essentially a Virtualbox VM in the background. Another popular option is WampServer or XAMPP, but these are quite specific to Windows (although XAMPP is cross-platform).
Recently I came across Laragon (Windows only), which is essentially XAMPP on steroids. Never before in my 15+ year career have I been able to set up a brand new WordPress (or Drupal) installation as quickly as Laragon can do it.
I was using Xampp for local development until about a year ago when I found Laragon & I haven’t looked back since. This is seriously the most powerful local development tool I have in my entire “developer toolkit”.Laragon Forum user (Link)
You can go from having a freshly installed Windows operating system to having an entire WordPress installation in less than 30 seconds. In fact, I created a .gif to show you the magic in action. Behold;
Laragon comes with hosts file management so that means it will automatically create a neat local URL for you projectname.test – gone are the days of having to use http://localhost/projectname or http://127.0.0.1/projectname – Laragon handles this for you out the box.
There are quite a few additional benefits and features that come with Laragon;
- 1-click PHP extensions enable/disable
- Comes with phpMyAdmin and HeidiSQL (my preferred MySQL GUI manager)
- HTTPS/SSL support
- Ability to run NGINX alongside Apache
- Extremely light-weight and blazingly fast (I can confirm)
- Git / Redis / Memcached integration
- Extendable – Laragon setup can be customized in nearly every way
- Cmder integration out the box for shell access
- Ability to install and switch between additional PHP versions
- Symfony, Laravel and Drupal 8 1-click setups out the box
- Additional support for Node.js/MongoDB, Python/Django/Flask/Postgres, Ruby, Java, Go once installed
Laragon comes in 3 flavours; Full (~130MB), Lite (~85 MB) and Portable (~18 MB) – I’d suggest the Full version to get you up and running fast, but that depends on your preference.