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In order to set up a local development environment, you’ll essentially need to turn your computer into a working server. For WordPress, that means you’ll need to install a LAMP or LEMP stack, which stands for:

It sounds complicated, but it’s really not that hard.

To easily set up these technologies in the proper configuration, you can use a dedicated local development tool. Essentially, these tools do the heavy lifting of properly configuring everything for you and, in some cases, also come with some useful WordPress-specific features.

Here are some of the most popular options for WordPress users:

All of the tools are free or at least offer fully-functional free versions, even if they restrict some features for their premium versions.

If you’re only working with WordPress, it’s best to use a WordPress-specific tool because they’re a lot more convenient and include features like email tracking and easy database access. Some tools even let you share a link to your site so that clients can preview it even within your local environment (this is true of the premium version of Local and DesktopServer).

For this tutorial, we’ll use Local because it’s the most popular option and very user-friendly, even for beginners.

This content was originally published here.