My experience using Local on Windows 10

Let me start off by saying I love what they’re trying to do with this, but after two weeks usage I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m giving up way too much for no practical benefit I can think of. Also I’m willing to concede there may be solutions to some of the problems I mention below, though I couldn’t find any.

Some good things

  1. Installation is easy (when it actually works - see issue 1 below)
  2. Quick and easy SSL with a single click
  3. Different server configurations (and blueprints - very nice)
  4. Set up isn’t overly difficult
  5. Runs fast (assuming you don’t experience issues 4 & 5 mentioned below)
  6. Running virtualised has obvious security benefits

My Issues

1) It didn’t work when I first installed it and kept getting hung during the installation process taking well over a couple of hours before I decided to stop and try again. This happened 3 more times until the 4th attempt actually worked - for no reason I can think of. I had the exact same experience on a different PC at the office as well.

2) It’s an inconvenience (for me) to not have oversight of all my databases in the one view/tab (as I have been used to with XAMPP for many years). I understand the limitations of why this is the case (every Local instance is its own virtual machine) but it still l a step backwards and I can’t see any reason to give that up. Which leads me to…

3) …the built-in app for managing databases is basically less-usable “discount PHPMyAdmin”. It works, but I miss being able to do things like edit the data of a row inline without having to go to a separate ‘edit’ page and hit a SAVE button. Yes I realise I could just install PHPMyAdmin and be done with it, but I don’t really want to do that for every site.

4) It’s painfully slow to start up. I use a core i7 with 16GB RAM that doesn’t break a sweat with any intense task I throw at it, but Local is doing whatever it does for a good 2 minutes or more before I can start using it. This would not be such a big deal except… (see next point)

5) …Every time I put my laptop into sleep mode (just close the lid) and come back to it later, any site I had running on Local struggles to load a page - taking longer than a minute. Also any WordPress plugins designed to make remote connections - such as the awesome and ever reliable WP Migrate DB Pro - can no longer make a connection. Closing down Local and restarting it does not solve this issue. Neither does restarting the browser. I suspect there’s some Virtualbox shenanigans at play here, but do I really want to troubleshoot this issue every single time? The only way I have found to ‘fix’ this issue is to reboot my computer, which is isn’t really solution.

6) It doesn’t allow you to specify which directory to work from unless it’s located somewhere in C:/users/. While moving all my sites into a new directory wasn’t a big deal, what was a big deal and an absolutely massive inconvenience was having to re-map all my local git repos (40+) one-by-one within Gitkraken (or Souretree) because it could not longer find any of them. I then had to repeat this process for every site one-by-one for Prepros, again because every site I had mapped in it was now located somewhere else.

As for Local, it’s by no means a bad product and there are probably Windows users out there who have had nothing but smooth sailing. If you’re starting from scratch and you don’t mind some of the inconveniences I mentioned above then you’ll probably be happy.

When all is said and done, I can add new site within XAMPP in a couple of minutes and get on with my day and not have any of the issues mentioned above - ever. Sure it’s not pretty, but it works and I’ve never been left wanting. So I’m in the process of undoing all this mess to go back to the way things were.

I’m tempted to say “If it aint broke, don’t fix it”, but sometimes you just gotta try new things and commit to them for a while before you can make an informed decision. Despite all the hassle, I’m still glad I tried Local.

Good luck with your product going forward - I’m certain it’ll get better with time.

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Mike, Have you looked into using Docker? If not, and you’re running Windows 10 Pro with Hyper-V, you can use the Docker for Windows Community Edition. then check out this page on setting up a local WordPress development environment.
If you want to learn more about Docker, has a great course called “Docker Mastery”.