Over the years I’ve used a lot of different tools for local development. Like many other developers, I’m often looking for a better option. I finally found that with DevKinsta.
For Laravel development, I mostly use Valet, but for WordPress development I lean towards using more robust tools such as Local. The benefit is they have a lot of built-in tools (e.g. Mailhog and Adminer) and they make it easy to sync the production database and media files to your local machine (side note: syncing production database isn’t a good idea if your database is large or you have sensitive customer data in it).
I used Local for the last couple years. I was happy with it, but my main site is hosted on Kinsta, so I wasn’t able to take full advantage of its features. Fortunately, Kinsta recently released their own local development tool, DevKinsta.
After an initial test run, DevKinsta looked promising, but there was one catch–I needed to make sure I could use version control (Github in my case) with it. DevKinsta allows you to push changes to your Kinsta Staging environment, but there isn’t any sort of built-in way to handle version control.
Below are the steps I took to add git to my DevKinsta setup. These steps assume that you are using a Mac and keep the entire WordPress install under version control.
- Install DevKinsta. If it’s not already installed, you’ll also need to install Docker.
- If your site is hosted with Kinsta, open DevKinsta and select “Import from Kinsta.” Depending on the size of your database and media library, this process might take a while.
- Once the local site is up and running, you can find the site’s WordPress files in: /Users/USERNAME/DevKinsta/public/SITE
- The next step is to clone your WordPress repository from GitHub. Select the DevKinsta/public/ folder as the destination. You’ll now have two sites in the public folder.
- Within the ../DevKinsta/public folder, rename the original folder to something like SITE-old
- Rename the git folder to the original folder’s name: SITE
- Copy the wp-config.php file from SITE-old and paste it into SITE
- Copy the wp-content/uploads folder from SITE-old and paste it into the property folder in SITE
- Since you changed the path of the local git repo, make sure git can locate it (this is easy with Github Desktop)
That’s it! From there you can follow your normal local development and deployment process.
If you only have version control setup for a specific plugin or theme, you can follow the steps above, but instead of renaming the entire site, navigate to ../DevKinsta/public/wp-content/ and delete or rename the specific plugin/theme you’re working on. There’s also the option of symlinking the plugin/theme if you want to store them elsewhere.
Overall, I’m happy with DevKinsta. I usually avoid Docker based solutions, but I’m glad I gave DevKinsta a try.
If you’re interested to learn more about Kinsta, my full review is here.
This post contains affiliate links, but as a regular web developer, it is my honest review of Kinsta and DevKinsta.