Local Community

A Plea for Local by Flywheel 3

Please don’t kill off Local by Flywheel, else please open source it. I recently/finally/awkwardly imported my sites from LBF 3.3.0 to Local 5.0.7 and it is huge steps backward.

Local 5 has no support for multiple PHP versions (extremely convenient for testing plugins and themes on different versions), no option to choose MySQL 5.7, no Apache (I hate Apache like everyone else, but one of the sites that I support uses it, unfortunately), no redis-server

At minimum, please continue maintaining LBF 3, but all 7.x versions of PHP to latest release, add PHP 7.4, update Redis and pecl redis driver, and add MySQL 5.7 (MySQL 8 would be nice, too) to the Custom Environment.

I can live without Redis and MySQL 5.7 since I can run them externally in a Docker container (which is not as convenient, but it works), but Apache support and the ability to change the PHP version are must haves! Even if you discontinue including redis-server, please at least update LBF 3 to update the pecl redis driver (the current one is quite old), and also add PHP 7.4. Also, please do not get rid of XDebug.

I was excited (and even a proponent of) you releasing a Pro version, but it offers no value and is thus expensive. I was hoping that it would result in updated features and package support, but instead WP Engine is gutting it (as predicted, just like when they purchased Array Themes in order to shut them down). With all due respect, I am the developer of the sites that I work on, so the collaboration and Teams features are useless. “MagicSync” and other Flywheel integration is equally useless because we have custom environments for massive traffic hosted on big iron - shared hosting won’t work for us. Am I alone?

We’re willing to pay for Local by Flywheel - we just want the already quality LBF 3 branch to be updated (and perhaps optionally add easier, self-hosted local tunneling, but that would just be gravy).

You broke something that didn’t need to be fixed.

LBF 3 is a great product. Please don’t kill it!

Thank you, especially Clay, for LBF.

Unfortunately I have to echo this.

That Pressmatic would be turned into a Flyhweel specific tool instead of a generalized too was a big fear of a lot of us back when Flywheel acquired Pressmattic/@clay and it seem more and more that way every day. I thought the WPE acquisition would actually reverse this, but it hasn’t yet.

Lightening is amazingly fast and that is great, but a HUGE part of why I (and many) moved to Pressmatic in the first place was multiple PHP/MySQL version support. That singular feature is way more important than the speed of starting sites that Lightening provides. I switched to lightening in beta anyway expecting multiple version would follow before it was out of beta. Calling Local 5.0 “out of beta” is just crazy, it’s still feature deprived and full of bugs. It feels like releasing it as “final” was tied to someones year end bonus rather than being feature complete.

So now I’m moving a lot back to Local 3.x because it actually works, even if it take a little longer to load. I also am running 5.1, but the lack of configurability is still a deal breaker for regular use.


Hey Guys,

Where does it say Local is out of Beta?

If you check the original release note you’ll see that PHP/MySQL version swapping and Apache etc are on the way:

Many people recognise that these are important features.

I must say that an offical update/progress report from the team would be nice.

I haven’t tried Local Lightning yet - how does it differ from Local 5? I’m assuming all of my appeals above still apply. Regardless, WP Engine could get some good karma, publicity and referrals by open sourcing LBF 3.x. Local 5 is fine if you’re into the shared hosting thing/run a low-traffic site, but LBF was a different tool and was useful for a lot of folks that work in custom environments.

My current clients’ web sites won’t run on shared hosting. They are too heavily customized (not necessarily by me, but it’s what I walked into) with massive traffic demands.

As mentioned, I will gladly pay for a Pro version (I pay for many useful tools), but user management and “MagicSync” are completely useless to me (though I’m sure that they are great if you host on Flywheel - I don’t have a problem with Flywheel hosting, it just won’t work for the sites that I maintain).


Hey Daniel,

Local Lightning is the previous name for Local 5. The plan, I believe, is for Local 5 to eventually have full feature parity with LBF 3.x.


The latest Beta has the ability to choose PHP and MySQL versions when creating/importing a site.

It’s not yet what used to be the very useful «custom environment» LbF feature, as those versions can’t be changed on-the-fly later on, and also there’s no Apache (nor, what would be a killer feature for me, LiteSpeed), but its heading in the right direction.

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Hi @daniel,

Thanks for this post. You bring up a lot of great points that we routinely think about when making up the product backlog for Local.

Aside from the Lightning Public Beta release post, I haven’t personally touched on the reasoning behind Lightning a whole lot so I’ll take this as an opportunity to provide a deeper look into our thought-process:

Local’s core selling point since the beginning was its ability to select different PHP versions, MySQL versions, and web servers with a few clicks of the mouse. This was largely afforded by deciding to leverage Docker (specifically boot2docker) in the beginning. In fact, when I first built Pressmatic, I made sure to include this functionality so I could test various PHP versions out with a theme I worked on.

However, getting VirtualBox to work on hundreds of thousands of users’ devices proved itself to be extremely challenging. To even run VirtualBox, you have to have a device that supports virtualization. Not only that, if you’re on Windows, you can’t have Hyper-V enabled. Apple also threw a few curveballs our way, such as the Kernel Extension approval flow in High Sierra and then really locking things down with Notarization in Catalina. Long story short, our analytics proved that successful installation rates with VirtualBox were not where we had hoped.

Installation issues aside, there are issues with performance. A quick search for “slow” or “performance” here on the forums will yield a plethora of topics. We tried to mitigate these performance issues with the addition of Faster Docker Volumes, but even FDV didn’t provide the native-level performance we were seeking.

We did consider the possibility of using Docker Desktop (Docker for Mac/Windows). However, we dismissed it for a few key reasons: the inability to maintain Local as a single installer, performance, and virtualization requirements.

So, considering all of this and seeing the rising popularity of things like Laravel’s Valet, it became clear that people ultimately valued a performant, lightweight solution. This meant one thing: native processes.

We started Lightning testing in early 2019 to see if this ambitious idea could even work as a replacement for Docker in the Local we all know and love. The testing and proof of concepts turned out great, so we knew that building out Lightning was the next step for us.

It’s important to note that Lightning was a result of the challenges and limitations listed above and not a result of the WP Engine acquisition. Lightning was already in the works months before the acquisition. WP Engine very much believes in the Local Team and what Local is and always has been: a powerful, easy-to-use local development tool for building WordPress sites.

Fast-forwarding to the launch of Lightning as a “Public Beta,” this decision was primarily driven by a dramatic uptick in installation issues with VirtualBox and stability issues with the VirtualBox VM. It became clear that Lightning—even in its early state was already a superior user experience to Local Classic.

I will be the first to admit that this did create a considerable amount of confusion. Still, we ultimately wanted new users (and old) to get the best Local experience possible rather than us holding it back.

In the announcement post of the Lightning Public Beta, we acknowledged and promised the return of the missing features such as a one-click Adminer button, selecting PHP/MySQL versions, and choosing between Nginx/Apache. The one-click Adminer button made its return fairly quickly, and we remained committed to bringing back the Custom environment, which is now available in Local Beta 5.2.0.

We’re on track to releasing 5.2 to all Lightning users either later this month or in early February. With that, Lightning will officially be going stable and have its “Public Beta” label dropped.

Now, it is important to note that Lightning is not a silver bullet to everything. We know there are limitations in terms of using ancient versions of PHP, such as PHP 5.2 and adding services like Redis, Elasticsearch, etc. We have integrations with Docker Compose planned out in 2020 to solve for trickier setups, which we firmly believe will make Local more flexible than it has ever been.

To quickly touch on Local Pro and Teams (@flyjack can maybe share some more info here), we are ramping up efforts here and have started the process of building out a dedicated team to focus on Local Pro and Teams.

So, if I can try to sum this all up into a few key points:

  • Local Lightning is the future of Local for three primary reasons: more accessible installation, performance, and stability.
  • We will always remain committed to making the best local WordPress development tool. Things like Xdebug will always be top-of-mind for us.
  • Local Pro and Teams have a dedicated team as of early 2020. Expect to see some amazing things there!
  • WP Engine believes in the Local Team and Local! They (we!) are as committed as ever to making the local WordPress development experience the best it can be with Local. WP Engine helped us grow the Local team in Q4, and we’re excited about what this new capacity means for our roadmap!
  • We will have a Docker Compose integration in 2020. Expect to have native disk performance with PHP while being able to add additional services like Redis!
  • We are working diligently to bring back functionality from Local Classic to Local Lightning.