I recently got to test drive DesktopServer from ServerPress, both the free and the premium version.
This app has a very nice interface for installing first XAMPP so you can have a local server environment, but then also for immediately installing WordPress inside it. It also does a wonderful job of managing your own computer’s hosts file, so you can invent domain names like www.my-cool-web-site.dev.
I’ve had some experience with Varying Vagrant Vagrants for local development environments, so I’m no stranger to the theory, but DesktopServer made everything much MUCH simpler. There’s a simple installer for both Windows and OS X, and a very simple interface for setting up WordPress right after that.
In addition to installing WordPress, DesktopServer has wonderful tools for importing sites, exporting sites, deploying sites, and even sharing your site on your local network.
I liked it so much that I created a complete video series on DesktopServer. Here's some of what I learned about DesktopServer:
Here's a video to help you get started with DesktopServer
Desktop Server and Domain Aliases
DesktopServer can also handle domain aliases, so you can easily set up a WordPress Multisite Network with unique domain names for each site.
One of my favorite options is to create blueprints of WordPress configurations. You can create four different WordPress installs for four different versions of WordPress, and test your plugin or theme against all of them. You could set up your favorite development plugins, and use that blueprint every time you create a new site. Your options are endless with this tool.
Watch this video to see Topher set up domain aliases:
Share Your Local Server
Another feature that’s exceptionally cool is the ability to share your local server with the rest of your local network. This means if your computer and phone are on the same wifi network, you can view your work on your phone, and test for mobile compatibility that way. If you’re on OS X, you could view it in IE from your Windows computer, and vice versa.
This video shows you how to use DesktopServer to share your local server:
Another great feature is speed. Loading pages from a local server is FAST. Way faster than the fastest internet connection, because it’s not fetching it from anywhere remote, it’s just right there.
One more great feature is that you don’t need any internet connection at all. I fly several times per year, and I never pay for the wifi on the plane. A three hour flight can be tremendously productive with DesktopServer. The same holds true for long car rides, train rides, or simply getting out into the hills to code in nature.
The advantages are many; if you haven’t tried a local development environment I highly recommend it, and DesktopServer is a great place to start.
If you're an OSTraining member, click here to watch our complete video series on DesktopServer.