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WPacked tries to give you an easy development starter kit easy to maintain and deploy, within a clean pure local environment. Just like you usually do with npm.

No more XAMP/MAMP or virtual machines, or other (often conflicting) softwares on your local machines. You just need PHP.

Clean, versionable, quick.

New! Heroku/Dokku ready

This project will be automatically built and ready to go just pushing the repository itself to Heroku or Heroku-like environments like Dokku. It will be ran under nginx (slightly optimized with gzip and assets caching).


I really like developing using the Node.js-ecosystem. I love to make my projects modular with npm and bower, I adore the easy dependency management. The thing I like the most is that I can start working immediately on my local machine without a full fledged webserver.

Of course there are tools that give you quickly(sh) a development server within your machine, (I'm personally a big fan of roots/bedrock, that inspired this project) but all of them need a Vagrant virtual machine. Quite an overkill for most project.

I also like the idea of just dropping a project on a webserver when I'm done (almost impossible with MySQL).

I tried to create a lovely and easy development flow with my favorite CMS, so here we are: my attempt to make WordPress as a self contained, packaged application as possible. Hope you enjoy it ;)

Sample Video

Slideshare presentation

Checkout the presentation published during August Wordpress Meetup in Rome

Key features


  • A Unix-like OS
  • PHP >= 5.4
  • Composer
  • SQLite

Requirements installation


Quickest, built-in solution

You're OS is shipped with php and SQLite already installed. Follow these instructions to get Composer.

My favorite

As a developer you might want to use the version of php of your choice (remember WordPress supports legacy php 5.2.4+ but recommends latest 7+ versions). The best way to manage packages and installations on your Mac is Homebrew. If you haven't it yet, well you should. Follow the instructions on the Homebrew's official website.

Suggested to update homebrew to the latest version

$ brew update && brew upgrade

Then install the php version of your choice with

$ brew install php

You'll need also Composer, so let install it:

brew install composer


Optional but suggested wp-cli. It'll speed up several operations giving you the possibility to issue commands to WordPress via terminal. This repo has a wp-cli.yml that automatically will point wp-cli to the actual wordpress directory, you just need to use the wp command inside the project directory.

brew install wp-cli


  • todo, feel free to make a pull request -


Now the reason of the all thing: instant development. Just two commands.

Clone this repo and type

composer install

in order to install all the dependencies of the project.

You are already done, just launch the built-in web server with

composer run serve --timeout=0

and visit the default location 🚀

Adding WordPress plugins

In a proper composer/git-driven workflow you want to add 3rd parties plugins via composer. You can find all the free plugins available in the WP ecosystem on WordPress Packagist.

Example of plugin installation (digit in your shell):

composer require "wpackagist-plugin/jetpack":"8.5"

WP Configuration

Thanks to phpdotenv you can store your configurations outside the public directory in a .env file. You'll find the file .env.example that you need to copy to .env within the root directory of the project with the following variables:

variable name role
ENVIRNOMENT the environment where the app lives in (development, staging, production)
WP_HOME the url of the website
WP_SITEURL the url of the wordpress directory, here is
DB_NAME name of the MySQL DB
DB_USER user of the MySQL DB
DB_PASSWORD password of the MySQL DB
DB_HOST host of the MySQL DB
USE_MYSQL 1 for MySQL, 0 for SQLite
FORCE_SSL 1 in order to force SSL (redirects all requests to https://)
DISABLE_WP_CRON whether or not the app should use the WP cron system (false requires setting up cron manually on your server)

For security purposes, don't forget to set AUTH_KEY, SECURE_AUTH_KEY, LOGGED_IN_KEY, NONCE_KEY, AUTH_SALT, SECURE_AUTH_SALT, LOGGED_IN_SALT, NONCE_SALT to different (long) random strings on production.

NOTE Don't commit the .env file, it's very likely that you want sapearate settings for each copy of the project. e.g. different urls for each environment like, and Just set those domains on each respective .env and you're ready to go :)

Development custom php.ini

You can customize all php configurations without touching your default/system's php.ini while using the built-in web server.

Just edit the ./php-server.ini file under the [ini] section.


Thanks to SQLite DB the project itself is a self-contained package. You can just upload it to your server and point the webserver of your choice to /path/to/project/app.

How to add WordPress Plugins

All the php dependencies are managed by Composer, the same happens for WordPress plugins (of course if they are commodities and not custom ones). You can find all the packagist entries for WordPress plugins on the WPackagist official website.

For example, searching for buddypress would return something like "wpackagist-plugin/buddypress":"4.2.0", you just need to drop this line inside the composer.json's require section and type

composer update

The whole plugins directory is under .gitignore, so if you add custom plugins you need to exclude them (you'll find an example within the .gitignore file) and add them to git.

Notes about SQLite

Even if the WordPress plugin included on this repo tries to create a drop-in replacement for MySQL converting all the MySQL queries to SQLite, there are certain operations that are not possible on SQLite. Hence, some plugin may not work as expected. You can see a list of known non-working plugins here. I personally haven't found issues with other plugins until now (even heavy ones like WPML) but keep in mind that it could happen.

Another characteristic to keep in mind is that SQLite is far from being a production database for big sites or with an heavy traffic. In those cases you want to stay on a more efficient and scalable db engine like MySQL (or my favorite, MariaDB). You can switch from SQLite to MySQL without uninstalling the plugin with a simple false in the config file (keeping SQLite on local machine and MySQL on staging and production is a way).


Enrico Deleo

Are you looking for a modern super-developer oriented starter theme?

Look no further, try my Vueird starter theme powered by WebPack, Vue, SCSS


📦 WPacked is a WordPress development starter kit with portability and immediate local development in mind.








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