Over the years my development workflow for WordPress has evolved. Along with the different operating systems we use.
As a developer, you will undoubtedly be working on any number of projects at any one time. Each project will typically have its own unique configuration settings. In a WordPress project for instance, your different customer sites may each be installed on different servers, some with different PHP versions or even different web server configuration, for instance some may be configured to use Apache web server, while others use Nginx.
It can be quite difficult to manage your laptop, to enable easy switch over between each environment.
I over the years, I have written a number of blog posts providing instructions on how to get set up for local development with WordPress
All these solutions work great, but they were always finicky and invariably when you’re constantly moving between environments like I frequently do, it becomes a bit of a chore to continuously having to configure your environment.
Docker to the rescue
Docker removes a lot of this hassle and now makes it incredibly easy to get your environments configured usually taken only a few seconds. Saving a lot of time and frustration.
If haven’t already got docker installed then what are you waiting for? Check out my docker tutorials to help you to get up to speed quickly.
Docker runs on all popular operating systems so be sure to follow the instructions on the docker website on how to install it on your system. If you’re using ubuntu as your primary software development machine you may want to check out my guide on how to install docker on ubuntu
Install Docker compose
Docker Compose is a tool for defining and running multi-container Docker applications. With Compose, you use a YAML file to configure your application’s services. Then, with a single command, you create and start all the services from your configuration.
There are detailed instructions to on the docker compose website to ensure you have the latest version installed.
Install WordPress Via Docker Compose
Once you have Docker and Docker Compose all set up, moving on to the next phase is really simple. There is a quick start Docker Compose script available. Quickstart: Compose and WordPress
These instructions are great if you just want to get a version of WordPress up and running on your machine. However, if you want to build a complete development environment you will need to extend the
Get the code
Clone the GitHub repository
We’ll enhance the standard WordPress
docker-compose.yml by adding a phpmyadmin to help with basic database administration tasks.
We’ll grad the official phpMyAdmin image. link it to our wordpress_db container with the name mysql, expose its
port 80 on
port 8080 of the host system, and finally sets a couple of environment variables with our mySQL username and password.
Map to local file system
It is possible to store the document root for WordPress on the host filesystem using a Docker data volume to share files between the host and the container.
We will also map the WordPress file system to our local drive, in order to be able to carry both
The WordPress Docker container is configured to check if
/var/www/html is empty or not when it starts and copies files there appropriately.
- 80:80 # Expose http and https
Using the docker-compose
To use the Docker-compose file, using the terminal window simply change directory to the folder that contains the
docker-compose.yaml and use the command
docker-compose up -d.
Once the it’s complete, you shoulb be able to open a browser to
http://localhost to browse the WordPress and
http://localhost:8080/ to browse to phpmyadmin.
Other useful docker-compose commands:
# Starts all stopped containers in the work directory
# Stops all currently running containers in the work directory
# Validates and shows the configuration
# Lists all running containers in the work directory
# Stops and removes all containers in the work directory
Develop themes and plugins
It is possible to develop specific components for WordPress, like themes and plugins. All it needs is a proper configuration of Volumes in the
You should have a full WordPress deploy up and running.
You should be able to use the same method to create different version installations of WordPress that you can use for testing purposes, just changing the WordPress version.
running Docker commands to create containers already simplifies application management,
docker-compose takes it a step further and allows you to bundle multiple containers within a single working directory.
A unique background as business owner, marketing, software development and business development ensures that he can offer the optimum business consultancy services across a wide spectrum of business challenges.