In this article, we’ll cover how to build your WordPress website offline so you can make changes without influencing your real site.
WordPress is an extremely popular and easy to use open-source platform designed for building websites.
The software is responsible for creating and maintaining about a third of the websites on the surface internet, meaning that it’s an extremely widely used and brilliant option for a huge range of websites.
Are you considering to create a website? Maybe you want to create a personal blog, or perhaps an eCommerce site where you can dropship and sell products.
Or perhaps you want to run web applications or online experiments. WordPress is an outstanding tool to use for all of these purposes and can help you get your website off the ground and up and running in the space of literally just an afternoon!
Once the website is build, you might want to make some changes. However, when you will go to change the site, you might get indecisive about how you want it to look and what functionality you want it to operate. In this case, you’ll probably be quite scared to experiment on the live site to not mess it up.
If the site messes up, you could upset your visitors and potentially even lose many of your customers if you are running a business site or eCommerce site.
Therefore, there must be a way that you can play around with your WordPress site without it ever being live, so you can get it looking and functioning correctly before publishing it to the mainstream internet, right?
How to Build a WordPress site Offline
Method 1: Just use WordPress’ default customizer!
You probably know this already, but WordPress has a default customizer that is built to allow you to mess around with the appearance of your website and each individual page - especially the home page - before even publishing it.
You can change features, move elements around the screen, change details, add images and text, and practically anything you can think of within reason. The best part is that these changes will never be visible on your website to anyone until you hit the “Publish” button.
Why is this so great? Firstly, WordPress’s default site and page customizer is specially built for their software and will almost never flaw your site.
You can move around elements and customize virtually every part of your site to your liking, and it’ll never go out to the mainstream internet until you commit to it.
With WordPress’ default website and page customizer, you can also scroll through various past versions of your website, and go back to a previous modification.
This means if you accidentally hit the “Publish” button or you make a bad change and want to go back on it, you can quickly and easily find the last perfect modification to your site and work from there!
Method 2: Install WordPress locally on your computer
Okay, so let’s say that the WordPress default customizer cannot bring you the right tools and functionality to customize your site to your liking without publishing it for all your website visitors to see.
That’s fine because there is another method! Did you know that the WordPress software can be installed straight onto your computer locally, and you can work on any of your sites from there?
It’s true, and the process of downloading, installing, and setting up the WordPress software on your own PC is straightforward and easily assisted by official WordPress guides.
The first step is, of course, to install the WordPress software. You’ll want to do this locally on your own PC, and you can find all the installation files and guides on the official WordPress website.
In fact, since their software is specifically built to be open-source, transparent, and usable across multiple devices, this part of the process should be as streamlined as possible!
If you run a quick Google search, you can find plenty of more detailed and step by step guides for installing and setting up the desktop WordPress software. However, make sure you have a designated folder or directory for running the software in and keeping all your website files.
This is because once you are done customizing the site on your own computer, you’ll want to compile all the files and then import them into your real website so it can go live!
Once you have everything set up on your own computer, you can run the WordPress software, enter your site details and authorization details (like your password) so you can get in and start customizing your site.
Of course, the WordPress software downloaded onto your own computer will basically be exactly the same as that you use online, so you can get ahead with customizing, modifying, and adding to your site right away!
Once you are done with using the locally saved WordPress software to customize a version of your site, all you have to do is save it and ensure that all the website files are properly saved and backed up.
To get your updated site online, you have to replace your mainstream internet live version of your webpage with the one you created on your computer. You can do this by using WordPress’s built-in import feature.
The import feature allows you to upload files from your computer and use them for your site. This functionality has been covered in extensive detail all over the internet and we highly recommend checking the official WordPress guides for the perfect pointers about how to go about importing the customized pages you created locally.
You’ll need to make sure all your files are correctly compiled and usually, you’ll probably have to compress the folder you made into a zip file before uploading and importing it into your live WordPress dashboard.
The import can take anywhere from a few seconds to an hour, depending on how large your site is.
For example, if you’re running an enormous blog with a lot of audio and visual content, or an eCommerce site with hundreds of products, it could take an hour or more for all the data to be uploaded and configured.
Once the import feature has done its job and accessed the website version you created locally on your computer, you will be able to select that version and “activate” it.
Then you can publish your website and the changes will be visible live on your website that is available on the mainstream internet!
In this blog article, we covered customizing and working on a WordPress site without actually going live.
We explained why you might want to do this, and the two most popular methods for working on your site without making your modifications available live to the mainstream internet. We hope this article helped you, and make sure to share amongst your peers!