Using Docker Compose for Local WordPress development is an excellent way to get up and running with WordPress development as quickly as possible.
Benefits of Using Docker Compose for WordPress Development
Traditionally, developing WordPress locally means that you must have PHP, MySQL, and Apache (or some other web server) installed on your local workstation. The complexity of installing and configuring these tools varies by the operating system. Furthermore, you may quickly find yourself in configuration hell attempting to configure new releases of WordPress, PHP, MySQL, or Apache.
Luckily, Docker and Docker Compose remove all of the guesswork from installing, configuring, and upgrading these tools. For example, upgrading to a new version of MySQL with Docker Compose is as simple as changing a single value in a single configuration file.
FROM: image: mysql:5.7 TO: image: mysql:8.0
Getting Started with Docker Compose
You can start using Docker Compose for local WordPress development with four steps.
Install Docker Locally
First, make sure that you have Docker installed on your workstation. You can verify that everything is working properly by opening up a terminal and running a few commands.
Note for Windows Users
docker-compose are not in the Windows PATH variable. For these commands to work, be sure to add
C:\Program Files\Docker\Docker\resources\bin to the PATH.
Executing docker version should produce output that looks like this:
Windows Terminal PS C:\Users\Lev Lazinskiy> docker version Client: Docker Engine - Community Version: 19.03.8 API version: 1.40 Go version: go1.12.17 Git commit: afacb8b Built: Wed Mar 11 01:23:10 2020 OS/Arch: windows/amd64 Experimental: false Server: Docker Engine - Community Engine: Version: 19.03.8 API version: 1.40 (minimum version 1.12) Go version: go1.12.17 Git commit: afacb8b Built: Wed Mar 11 01:29:16 2020 OS/Arch: linux/amd64 Experimental: false containerd: Version: v1.2.13 GitCommit: 7ad184331fa3e55e52b890ea95e65ba581ae3429 runc: Version: 1.0.0-rc10 GitCommit: dc9208a3303feef5b3839f4323d9beb36df0a9dd docker-init: Version: 0.18.0 GitCommit: fec3683
Executing docker-compose version should produce output that looks like this:
Windows Terminal PS C:\Users\Lev Lazinskiy> docker-compose version docker-compose version 1.25.4, build 8d51620a docker-py version: 4.1.0 CPython version: 3.7.4 OpenSSL version: OpenSSL 1.1.1c 28 May 2019
Create a Project Directory Structure
Next, create an appropriate project directory structure. We’re going to mount our local project directory to a running instance of a WordPress docker container. To keep things simple, create a new directory called
wordpress with the following directory structure.
PS C:\Users\Lev Lazinskiy\git\wordpress> tree Folder PATH listing C:. └───wp-content ├───plugins │ └───my_new_plugin └───themes └───my_new_theme
As illustrated above, if you’re making a new plugin, the code for your plugin would go into the
wordpress\plugins\my_new_plugin directory. Likewise, if you’re making a new theme, then the code for your theme would go into the
Create a Docker Compose for Local WordPress Configuration File
The last step is to create a Docker Compose configuration file. In the
wordpress directory from the previous step, create a new file called
docker-compose.yml. This file should have the following contents:
version: "3" services: wordpress: image: wordpress:latest restart: always environment: WORDPRESS_DB_PASSWORD: wordpress ports: - "8080:80" volumes: - "./wp-content:/var/www/html/wp-content" depends_on: - mysql mysql: image: mysql:5.7 restart: always environment: MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD: wordpress MYSQL_DATABASE: wordpress ports: - "13306:3306" volumes: - "./mysql-data:/var/lib/mysql"
A couple of things worth highlighting in this configuration are the
volumes directives on the
mysql container. We’re exposing port
13306 so you can use a MySQL client to connect to the running docker instance. Since we’re mounting a local volume called
mysql-data any changes you make will persist across reboots.
Lastly, since we’re mounting
wp-content in the
wordpress container, any changes that you make to your new theme or plugin will be immediately available in your local WordPress instance.
Note for Windows Users
In order for volume mounting to work correctly on Windows, you must enable File Sharing in the Docker settings.
Open the Docker app, navigate to Resources and then File Sharing. Make sure that your primary drive is selected. Select Apply & Restart.
Run Docker Compose
You should now be able to run
docker-compose up and navigate to http://localhost:8080 to see your new WordPress site running locally.
If you see the page shown above, complete the installation as you would any other WordPress site. When you log in, you will see your new theme and plugin available to install.
The first time you run Docker Compose it will take some time to download the WordPress and MySQL base images. Subsequent restarts will be quicker since Docker Compose will use a locally cached image.
In summary, using Docker Compose for local WordPress development is a quick and easy way to hack on WordPress themes and plugins. This approach has the added bonus of not needing to deal with the complexity of installing PHP, MySQL, or Apache on your local machine.