I am currently in the process of setting up my own little Web Development business. I have created a handful of WordPress sites and people who see them keep asking me to make them one.
My question is with the development process. I have always created the site on the domain where they are going to be hosted. I have read that some other developers do not do it this way – they create them on a development server and then move them over to the client’s URL. I was wondering how you develop client sites and if you have any resources that would be helpful?
I am looking for the easiest, most straight forward way.
You’d probably be best off developing on a local server – check out bitnami.org – they have a wordpress stack installer that is very straight forward, and will install everything you need, including wordpress, to host the site on your local machine.
I’d also strongly suggest setting up a repository for yourself for collaboration and version control. Most web developers will use either SVN or GIT repositories (although there are a bunch of other good repository technologies apart from these out there) to manage version control – implementing it into your workflow can take some getting used to, but having access to older versions of your code will save you many headaches. It’s also something you must be familiar with if you intend on taking your career as a web developer beyond the freelancer level.
Just registered with the forum to say pretty much the same thing +ryantay did. I use BitNami locally to make sites. I can even use Dreamweaver to edit the site once my site folders and testiing servers are set correctly.
I wouldn’t say “most” by any means, and with the trend towards doing more and more “in the cloud” I would expect it to become more and more common to develop on the live server. With WordPress it’s very simple, you can develop in a sub-folder, and when it’s ready to go live you only need to move one file to the root directory, and change a couple of settings. It’s far simpler than migrating a site from local to live.
Another thing worth mentioning is that if you have a separate development environment than live environment, making any revisions or additions to the site after it has gone live can be done without interference. The last thing you want for visitors is a site-wide PHP error due to a missing semicolon in new code.
For those that develop it locally, are you opening up some kind of IP address to allow the client to see how it looks? That’s the #1 reason I’ve not developed locally. I keep everything on my own server as a subdomain. They get to see progress, and many times I will actively engage the client during the construction.
Moving a site from any environment to another environment, at least for WordPress, takes about 5 minutes total, so that shouldn’t be a deterrent.
There’s actually loads of benefits aside from migration for developing on the actual live server environment. Same as why many of the larger dev houses have a staging site set up on the live server where the client previews any changes before they.go live. It saves me a heap of time & dramas, but each to their own as with many dev processes.