Local WordPress Development Using Docker

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Do you know what the most significant advantage of WordPress is? It’s customizability for the websites. So there are multiple elements of customizability, some of which may go wrong on the live website. That’s why expert WordPress developers suggest you create a sort of workshop for your website. So a local WordPress development using Docker might be worth the shot. 

With Docker, you can create an independent environment with just a few lines of code in the WordPress Command Line Interface (WP-CLI). Its compatibility with WordPress lets you set up several local environments (or containers) with different tools and servers. Every container would be like a separate computer for your website. So you can use different tech stacks for each one. 

We know all this can be a bit confusing. So we have compiled a comprehensive guide on the local WordPress development with Docker. You’ll learn everything from what Docker is, how it works, its key features, and advantages, to its pricing details. Below, we have also specified how to install and set up Docker for local WordPress development on different OS. 

So let’s start. 

What is a Docker & How Does It Work?

Docker is an open-source application that allows developers to create self-contained, isolated environments. So they can run multiple applications and tech stacks regardless of the underlying operating system or infrastructure. Plus, the containers won’t need their own separate OSs as they will share the host. Also, the server’s workload will be much lighter. It will be able to run multiple containers simultaneously without any impact on the performance. 

For local WordPress development, Docker can help set up a containerized environment with all the necessary components for running WordPress. That includes a web server, database, and PHP. It allows developers to quickly and easily set up a local development environment without installing and configuring each component individually.

Docker uses containerization tech to create and manage lightweight, independent environments called containers. They package an application and all its dependencies, including libraries, frameworks, and configuration files. These containers can run on any system that supports Docker. They provide consistent behavior regardless of the underlying infrastructure.

So after setting up the Docker container, you can access your WordPress site through a web browser and begin developing locally. Any changes you make to the WordPress files or configuration within the container will be reflected immediately.

Overall, Docker provides a streamlined and efficient way to set up a consistent, isolated, and portable development environment for WordPress. So the developers can work on their WordPress projects locally before implementing the changes to the live website.

Key Features of Docker Application

Docker can be an excellent application for setting up local WordPress development. It lets the developers test the design and functionalities, as well as updates before they are deployed on the live site.

It provides several key features that make it an excellent choice for local WordPress development. Here are a few of them:

Easy Setup & Configuration

Docker ensures you can easily set up and configure the local WordPress development. Through a pre-built Docker image specially designed for WordPress, it will be quick and easy to create an isolated environment with all the necessary components. That comprises the web server, database, and PHP. So you won’t have to install and configure each of these components individually, which saves time and effort. Needless to say, this type of easy setup and configuration allows for efficient WordPress development. 

Consistent & Duplicable Environment

You can create a consistent yet reproducible dev environment for WordPress with Docker. Docker images are fixed with different versions, which means you can define the exact configuration of the environment using a Docker file. So all developers working on the project are using the same environment, ensuring little to no compatibility issues. Basically, you won’t hear stuff like, “It works on my PC. I don’t know what the problem is.”


Docker containers provide isolation between your WordPress development environment and the host system. That prevents any conflicts with other software or libraries installed on your machine. So you can rest assured your local WordPress development won’t interfere with other projects or system configurations, thanks to a clean and separate environment.


Docker containers are highly portable. So you can easily share your local WordPress development environment with others. By packaging your entire development setup into a Docker image, you can conveniently collaborate with teammates or deploy the same environment to different machines or cloud platforms. Docker images include the WordPress files, plugins, and configurations.

Efficient Resource Usage

Docker containers are lightweight and efficient in their resource usage. They share the host system’s kernel and resources, minimizing the overhead compared to running a full virtual machine for each WordPress instance. That allows you to run multiple WordPress containers on a single host, optimizing resource utilization without compromising performance.

Easy Maintenance

Docker simplifies the maintenance of your local WordPress development environment. If you need to update dependencies or make changes to the environment, you can modify the Dockerfile or update the Docker image accordingly. Docker’s versioning and rollback capabilities let you easily switch between different versions of the Docker image. That ensures a smooth maintenance process.

These key features of Docker make it a powerful tool for local WordPress development. It provides an efficient, reproducible, and isolated environment. Plus, it simplifies the setup, maintenance, and collaboration aspects of WordPress development. That enhances the development workflow, so the developers can focus on building and testing their WordPress projects with ease.

But how might Docker be advantageous for WordPress development? We’ll find out in the next section. 

Advantages of Using Docker for WordPress Development

Almost every major WordPress development company advises on using Docker for workflow optimization. But why? Well, Dockerizing your WordPress website can be quite advantageous for the development process in the following ways:

  • Accuracy Across the Environment: When it comes to WordPress development, the dev team uses a variety of environments and machines through production, QA, deployment, and more. That means even a minor difference in the environment may lead to problems, meaning hours of team meetings to find the root of the issue. But with Docker images, you can achieve better consistency and accuracy in the environments from dev to production to testing. So your code will fly by with little to no complications. 
  • Isolation: With Docker, every container has its own runtime environment containing the process space along with a network stack. Running in this dedicated environment makes it easier for the dev team to catch any security bugs without infecting other containers. Plus, with this kind of isolation, you can test many sets of data with your website or application as you want without any overhead dependency. 
  • Speed of Development: When you are working on a WordPress website with your team, there is a chance everyone has a different kind of machine and OS. So in a normal sense, you’ll need some time to set the compatibility between them. But just installing Docker on the machines and downloading the images for the containers can save you quite some time. That will ensure better time management in WordPress development.
  • Scalability: When compared to virtual machines, Docker containers offer much easier scalability. As mentioned earlier, these containers are well-packaged, lightweight pieces of application that can be scaled with resources as required. Plus, in case of a hardware failure, you can ship the containers from one host environment to the other much easier compared to a virtual machine. 

Another advantage of using Docker that not many people think of is the pricing. Being an open-source application, you can get Docker for web development through WordPress for just starting at $5 per month. (you can also get a free version, but it doesn’t include the pro tools that professional developers need) 

Now, this cost may seem a little steep to some. But the advantages shown above with respect to the local WordPress development using Docker make it worth the price. 

Coming on to the primary query at hand, “How to set up a local WordPress development Using Dockers?”. We’ll discuss this question in the next section.

How to Set Up a Local WordPress Development Environment Using Dockers?

Local WordPress development will help create the websites in a much-streamlined manner. You and your team can also collaborate on the local environment quite easily. But don’t think this process is just about installing WordPress, integrating it with Docker, and you will be done. 

It can be a little complex for beginners. But we’ll try to simplify it as much as possible. 

#1. Install Docker

Three of the most common operating systems currently in the market are Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu. No matter which one you use, Docker can be installed on the machine quite easily. 

Let’s start with Windows.

For Windows

Before starting the process, ensure you comply with the system requirements for the Docker application. 

  • RAM: 4GB
  • Processor: 64-bit (2010 and beyond)
  • BIOS: Virtualization enabled

Additionally, for using the WSL 2 Docker back-end, ensure you have installed the Linux kernel update package. Most people nowadays use Windows 10 (64-bit). So we’ll assume this system and start the process.

Step 1: First, enable Hyper-V on your PC. 

Step 2: Then, download the Docker Desktop for Windows and open the Docker for Windows Installer file. 

Step 3: Check the boxes in the “Configuration” window based on your preferences. Afterward, click Ok

Step 4: After the installation process is complete, click on the button Close and restart, and let your PC restart. 

Step 5: After the PC has rebooted, you’ll see a pop-up window showing the Service Agreement. At the bottom of the screen, select the checkbox for “I accept the terms” and then click on Accept. (You can also see the full terms of service by clicking on View Full Terms.)

For macOS

Similar to Windows, macOS users also have to pay heed to the system requirements before starting the Docker installation. 

  • RAM: 4GB
  • Version: macOS Version 10.15 and beyond. 
  • VirtualBox: You can’t install the previous versions of VirtualBox 4.3.30.

Let’s start the Docker installation process:

Step 1: First, download Docker for Mac (for Mac with Apple Processor and Intel Processor). Then, double-click on the saved .dmg file and drag and drop the Docker icon into the Applications folder. 

Step 2: After that, open the docker.app in the Applications folder. For configuration, you’ll need to enter the password.

Step 3: After entering the password and clicking Ok, you’ll see a pop-up window showing the Service Agreement. At the bottom of the screen, select the checkbox for “I accept the terms” and then click on Accept. (You can also see the full terms of service by clicking on View Full Terms.)

Finally, after completing this installation process, the Docker menu will be visible on the status bar. 

For Ubuntu

Installing Docker on a PC running on Ubuntu can be a little trickier than Windows and macOS. Here are the system requirements for Ubuntu users.:

  • Require VPS (Virtual Private Server)
  • One of these Ubuntu OSs: Ubuntu Jammy 22.04 (LTS), Ubuntu Impish 21.10, Ubuntu Focal 20.04 (LTS), or Ubuntu Bionic 18.04 (LTS)

Let’s start the Docker installation process:

Step 1: Update the package list with the following code.

sudo apt-get update

Step 2: Install the prerequisite packages.

sudo apt-get install ca-certificates curl gnupg lsb-release

Step 3: Make a separate directory for the Docker GPG key. 

sudo mkdir -p /etc/apt/keyrings

Step 4: Then, add the Docker GPG key in the new directory.

curl -fsSL https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu/gpg | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /etc/apt/keyrings/docker.gpg

Step 5: Construct the Docker repository.

echo \ "deb [arch=$(dpkg --print-architecture) signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/docker.gpg] https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu \ $(lsb_release -cs) stable" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/docker.list > /dev/null

Step 6: Update this repository.

sudo apt-get update

Step 7: Last but not least, install the latest versions of Docker Engine, Docker Compose, and Containerd.

sudo apt-get install docker-ce docker-ce-cli containerd.io docker-compose-plugin

Step 8: Now, you will need to confirm the success of the installation process with the following command.

sudo docker run hello-world

That will show you the following message.

That concludes the process of installing Docker on the PC. Now, we’ll move on to setting up the WordPress container on the Docker application.

#2. Setting Up WordPress Container on Docker Application

There are two ways to set up WordPress Containers on Docker: WordPress Command Line Interface (WP-CLI) and Docker Compose. Here, we’ll focus on the latter since it’s more simple and systematic.

Following are the necessary images that you will need to take from the Docker Hub.

  • WordPress: WordPress’s official Docker image includes all WordPress files, along with the Apache server and PHP.
  • MySQL – This image is necessary for the MySQL root user, password, and database connection variables.
  • phpMyAdmin – This image is a web application for managing databases.

After procuring these images, we can start the setup process. 

Step 1: Open the CLI on your PC and check for the Installation version of Docker Compose. 

docker compose version

That will show if the Compose module is working as intended. 

Step 2: then, use the following command to create a new project directory for your WordPress application. 

mkdir wordpress

Step 3: Locate and open the new directory.

cd wordpress

Step 4: Now, create a new docker-compose.yml file using a text editor, and follow this code mentioned below. 

version: "3" 
# Defines which compose version to use
  # Services line define which Docker images to run. In this case, it will be MySQL server and WordPress image.
    image: mysql:5.7
    # image: mysql:5.7 indicates the MySQL database container image from Docker Hub used in this installation.
    restart: always
      MYSQL_DATABASE: MyWordPressDatabaseName
      MYSQL_USER: MyWordPressUser
      MYSQL_PASSWORD: Pa$$5w0rD
      # Previous four lines define the main variables needed for the MySQL container to work: database, database username, database user password, and the MySQL root password.
      - db
    image: wordpress:latest
    restart: always
    # Restart line controls the restart mode, meaning if the container stops running for any reason, it will restart the process immediately.
      - "8000:80"
      # The previous line defines the port that the WordPress container will use. After successful installation, the full path will look like this: http://localhost:8000
      WORDPRESS_DB_HOST: db:3306
      WORDPRESS_DB_USER: MyWordPressUser
      WORDPRESS_DB_NAME: MyWordPressDatabaseName
# Similar to MySQL image variables, the last four lines define the main variables needed for the WordPress container to work properly with the MySQL container.
  mysql: {}

Step 5: Now that the Docker Compose file is ready, run this next command in the same WordPress directory. It will help create and start the containers. 

docker compose up -d

That concludes the process of setting up the WordPress container in the Docker application. 

#3. WordPress Installation On a Web Browser

This part of the process is much different compared to the normal WordPress installation. 

Let’s start.

Step 1: First, open your browser and enter the link http://localhost:8000/. That will display the WordPress setup screen. Click on your preferred language from the list and press Continue. 

Step 2: On the next screen, there will be a Welcome message. Below will be some fields where you will need to fill in info like Site Title, Username, Password, and Email. You can also click on the checkbox at the end to “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.”

Step 3: After entering the correct details, click on the button Install WordPress

Step 4: Then you’ll see the screen with the message “Success!” with your username and password. Click on Log In

Finally, you will see the main dashboard screen.

Step 5: Now, you need to set up phpMyAdmin. For that, you will need to add the following code snippet to an existing .yml file. Add it right after the Services line. 

version: "3"



    image: mysql:5.7

    restart: always



      MYSQL_DATABASE: MyWordPressDatabaseName

      MYSQL_USER: MyWordPressUser

      MYSQL_PASSWORD: Pa$$5w0rD


    image: phpmyadmin/phpmyadmin:latest

    restart: always


      PMA_HOST: db

      PMA_USER: MyWordPressUser

      PMA_PASSWORD: Pa$$5w0rD


      - "8080:80"

Step 6: Now, save the file and run the following docker-compose command. 

docker compose up -d

Step 7: Once again, open http://localhost:8080/, and now, you will see the phpMyAdmin interface with the WordPress database. 

Now, you are ready to go forward with local WordPress development using the Docker application. 

As we mentioned earlier, this process can be a little tricky for beginners in the web development space. So we recommend you get in touch with a WordPress development company. They have the skilled personnel and a wealth of knowledge to help you create the best local WordPress environment. We understand you may still have some queries regarding this particular subject matter. So in the next section, you’ll see some of the most frequently asked questions related to Local WordPress Development Using Docker.

FAQs Related to Local WordPress Development Using Docker

What is the difference between Docker and virtual machines?
Both Docker and virtual machines (VMs) are used for the isolation and deployment of applications. But there are some fundamental differences. Docker uses containers to package applications and their dependencies. These containers help share the host machine's kernel. Dockers are more efficient, portable, and faster to start compared to VMs. VMs, on the other hand, emulate an entire operating system and run multiple instances on a host machine, each with its own kernel and resource requirements.
Can I use Docker for WordPress development on Windows?
Yes, you can use Docker for WordPress development on Windows. Docker provides a Windows version called Docker Desktop, which allows you to run Docker containers on Windows. You can use pre-built WordPress Docker images available on Docker Hub or create your own Dockerfile to customize the environment. We have shown the process of installing Docker on Windows.
How can Docker improve my development workflow?
Docker can improve your development workflow in several ways. It provides consistency across different environments, allowing you to develop and test applications in a reproducible manner. Docker containers encapsulate dependencies, making it easier to manage and deploy applications across different systems. Containers can be easily shared, allowing for collaboration and easier onboarding of new team members. Docker also simplifies the process of setting up complex environments, reducing the time spent on environment configuration and increasing productivity.
What are the security risks of using Docker for WordPress?
While Docker enhances isolation, there are a few potential security risks. If a Docker container is misconfigured or contains vulnerabilities, an attacker could potentially exploit them to gain access to the host system or other containers. So you must regularly update and patch your containers. Also, follow best practices for securing your Docker environment. Moreover, sharing host machine resources with containers might introduce risks if not properly managed. It's essential to isolate sensitive data and apply appropriate access controls to minimize potential security threats.
Can I migrate an existing WordPress site to a Docker environment?
Yes, you can migrate an existing WordPress site to a Docker environment. To do this, you would need to create a Docker image that includes the necessary dependencies and configurations for your WordPress site. You can then export your existing WordPress data and import it into the Dockerized WordPress environment. It may require some adjustments and configuration to ensure a smooth migration, but the containerization concept of Docker allows for portability and easy migration of applications.
How do I share a Dockerized WordPress site with others?
To share a Dockerized WordPress site with others, you can provide them with the Docker image or Docker Compose file that defines the container configuration. They can then use Docker to pull the image and run it on their own machine. Alternatively, you can deploy the Dockerized WordPress site to a Docker hosting platform or a cloud service provider and share the URL with others for access. Docker Hub and other container registries can also be used to distribute Docker images to a wider audience.
What are the resource requirements for running WordPress Docker?
The resource requirements for running a Dockerized WordPress site depend on various factors, such as the size and traffic of the site, the number of containers, and the allocated resources for each container. In general, WordPress itself has modest resource requirements, but you should allocate sufficient CPU, memory, and disk space to accommodate your specific needs. It's recommended to monitor the resource usage of your Docker containers and adjust the allocation as required. Additionally, ensure that your host machine has enough resources to handle the combined workload of running the WordPress containers along with other services and applications.


WordPress is a highly-customizable website development and content management platform. So as you may imagine, there are several elements at play. That’s why you need everything just right; otherwise, it may result in performance and security issues. That’s where the local WordPress development using Docker comes in. It allows developers to create self-contained environments and streamline the workflow for website development.

But this subject matter can be a little confusing for beginners. So we have listed the key features and advantages of Docker. You can also learn the installation process of Docker and use it for local WordPress development. Seeking a well-organized, optimized WordPress site? Hire the Best web development company for top-notch solutions that deliver results.

For any more information on local WordPress development using Docker, get in touch with the experts Now!

Jigar Shah is the Founder of WPWeb Infotech - a leading Web Development Company in India, USA. Being the founder of the company, he takes care of business development activities and handles the execution of the projects. He is Enthusiastic about producing quality content on challenging technical subjects.

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