Should You Use LOCAL by Flywheel? (A Quick Review)

LOCAL is a free localhost server like WAMP, but specifically made for Wordpress. Here's a quick rundown of its Pros and Cons.

LOCAL is a free localhost server like WAMP, but specifically made for WordPress. I have been wanting to replace WAMP, but I was too lazy to migrate my sites.

Note: The program name is “Local”, but I prefer using all caps “LOCAL” to make it easier to differ with the word “local” in general.

A few months ago, I bought a new laptop because the old one is fatally broken. So I took up this opportunity to start fresh with LOCAL.

Here are some of my experience with it:

Pro #1: Nice Interface

Creating a new WordPress site in LOCAL

Setting up a new WordPress site in WAMP wasn’t a problem for me because I’m used to it. But with few clicks in LOCAL, you can have a site running.

I don’t think I can go back from that.

Pro #2: Built-in SSL Support

SSL Setting in LOCAL

Just wow! Setting this up in WAMP is such a chore. In LOCAL you just click “Trust” and your site can now use HTTPS without safety warning from the browser.

You might ask why do you need SSL support for a local site?

Well, most local sites don’t need it. But some APIs like Stripe payment requires the caller to be HTTPS to work.

Pro #3: Idle Time is Short

When you start a site in LOCAL, it only took a few seconds for it to be accessible in the browser.

In WAMP, it kills your site when you haven’t accessed it for some time and took like 15-20 seconds for it to run again.

But this also makes LOCAL heavier, which brings us to our first Con:

Con #1: Heavier than WAMP

LOCAL Memory usage with 2 concurrent sites.

LOCAL consumes around 150-200MB of memory per running site. WAMP is much better at handling resources, it’s always below 100MB no matter how many sites are running concurrently.

Having said that, it is still a manageable number if you only run 1-3 sites at a time like me.

Con #2: It Uses Nginx Instead of Apache

Most WordPress developers are using Apache in their live server. So having Nginx for localhost is quite a hindrance.

Using Nginx doesn’t change how you develop your theme or plugin since PHP is still PHP. But you can no longer use htaccess to set up some stuff like Redirection.

Update (6 Jun 2020): The latest version of LOCAL now supports Apache.


Conclusion

Always pick LOCAL over WAMP. It’s far easier to setup in exchange for being heavier.

The only reason you choose WAMP is if your computer’s memory is very limited.

What localhost are you using? Let me know in the comment below 🙂

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Henner Setyono
A web developer who mainly build custom theme for WordPress since 2013. Young enough to never had to deal with using Table as layout.
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