Building WordPress Websites Locally using Chassis Desktop

Local development has become a pivotal part of the WordPress workflow. It allows developers to build and test websites on their machines before going live. This approach saves valuable time and keeps live sites disruption-free.

Chassis Desktop is an exceptional tool for local WordPress development. It offers a desktop application that simplifies the development process. Its standout features include one-click WordPress installation, instant caching, and a built-in PHP server, making it ideal for both beginners and seasoned developers.

This guide will explore how to use Chassis Desktop for building WordPress sites locally. We’ll cover:

  • Installing and setting up Chassis Desktop
  • Creating new WordPress sites
  • Developing with themes and plugins, including how to change the date format in Elementor Pro, a common customization detailed at WordaThemes
  • Debugging and troubleshooting
  • Deploying your site, potentially to a multilingual audience, using the best WordPress translation plugins found here

Let’s dive in!

Installing and Setting Up Chassis Desktop

Chassis Desktop, supporting Windows, MacOS, and Linux, is user-friendly in its setup. Follow these steps:

  1. Download the latest version of Chassis Desktop from its official website.
  2. Extract the downloaded .zip file.
  3. Launch Chassis Desktop. Initially, it will ask you to designate a folder for your projects.

This simplicity in setup positions Chassis Desktop as a preferred tool for WordPress developers at any skill level.

Now, with Chassis installed, let’s look at creating your first WordPress site.

Creating a New WordPress Site

The Chassis Desktop homepage displays all of your local WordPress sites. Creating a new one takes just a couple of clicks:

  1. Click the + New Site button.
  2. Enter a name for your site.
  3. Select the site type – either a new empty site or prepopulated with content from
  4. Click Create and Chassis will automatically install WordPress!

Once installed, Chassis will open your site dashboard, where you can log in to the admin panel and start developing. The convenience of one-click WordPress installation makes getting projects off the ground a breeze.

Developing Your Site

Chassis provides a local development environment that mirrors a live WordPress site. This makes building and testing sites simple and fast. Let’s look at some best practices for development.

File Structure

By default, Chassis follows the normal WordPress file structure with wp-content for plugins, themes, and uploads. Keep this standard structure as you build out your site.


The Chassis Plugins tab gives you one-click access to the WordPress plugin directory. Install and activate plugins just like on a live site. Test compatibility and site performance before going live.


To find themes, you can browse the WordPress Theme Directory. Install a parent theme then create a child theme for customizations. Develop locally without affecting a live site.

Custom Code

Add your own CSS, PHP, and JavaScript by creating a child theme. Test code thoroughly before deploying to production. Use version control like Git to manage changes.

Debugging and Troubleshooting

Bugs and issues are inevitable during development. Here are some tips for debugging sites with Chassis:

  • Check the Chassis error logs for warnings, notices or fatal errors.
  • Enable WP_DEBUG in wp-config.php to uncover issues.
  • Test browser compatibility across devices to catch CSS or JavaScript bugs.
  • For broken functionality, disable plugins and switch themes to isolate the cause.
  • Search the support forums if stuck – the WordPress community is helpful!

Thorough debugging will help you build robust websites and prevent post-launch problems.

Managing WordPress Websites

Chassis Desktop makes managing your local WordPress sites easy:

Plugins and Themes

You can manage plugins and themes for a site from within the Chassis Desktop interface itself:

  • Click on a site to expand its options.
  • Go to the Plugins or Themes tab.
  • Search for and install plugins or themes as required.

Updates are handled automatically for any installed plugins or themes.

Users and Permissions

To add or modify users for a site:

  • Go to the Users tab for the site.
  • Click “+ Add New User” and create the user.
  • Edit user roles and permissions as required.

Changes made here will be reflected in the site’s dashboard.

Backups and Database

Chassis Desktop allows backing up and restoring the database for a site:

  • Expand the site options and go to the Backups tab.
  • Click “Create New Backup” to backup the current database.
  • To restore, click the restore icon for a backup.

The database can also be accessed and managed directly using phpMyAdmin.

File Access

Site files are stored locally on your machine within the sites folder. You can directly access and edit these as needed, using your preferred code editor.

Changes will reflect instantly when you reload the site URL.

Deploying to Live Hosting

When ready to go live, a local Chassis site can be easily deployed to live hosting:

  1. On your live server, create a new empty WordPress site with a database.
  2. Access the site files via FTP or SSH.
  3. Copy all files from your local /sites/your-site folder to the live site folder.
  4. Export the local database and import it into the live database:
    • In phpMyAdmin, click Export to export the local DB.
    • In cPanel on live server, import this SQL file.
  5. Update wp-config.php on the live site with the new DB credentials.
  6. Access and test the live site.

Some things to check before going fully live:

  • Site media files – upload these to the live server.
  • Update any hardcoded local URLs in content or code.
  • SSL settings if migrating from HTTP to HTTPS on live.
  • SEO and performance plugins to use on live server.

And that’s it! Chassis Desktop enables you to easily develop, experiment, and collaborate on WordPress sites locally, before effortlessly deploying them live.

Deploying Your Site

Once your site is completed and tested, it’s time to go live! Chassis makes deployment easy.

Some popular strategies include:

  • SFTP/FTP – Upload files directly to web server
  • Git push – Push committed code from a Git repository
  • Duplicator – Generate a complete copy of your site to transfer

Be sure to deploy to a staging server first to confirm everything works before overwriting your live site files.

Migrating your local Chassis site to live hosting marks the end of the development phase, allowing the world to see your high quality WordPress website!


Chassis Desktop provides a streamlined local development environment for building WordPress websites. With its simple yet powerful features, you can rapidly create, customize, and test sites before launch.

This guide covered the entire process from installing the Chassis to the development of best practices and, finally, deployment. With these tips, you can confidently use Chassis Desktop to build high quality WordPress sites.

The convenience of local WordPress development accelerates your workflow. Chassis makes it easy to get started today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does Chassis work on Windows, Mac and Linux?

A: Yes! The desktop app runs on all major operating systems.

Q: Can I create multisite networks with Chassis?

A: Absolutely. Enable multisite during WordPress installation.

Q: Where are my local sites and files stored?

A: In the sites folder you chose during initial setup.

Q: Does Chassis require hosting or internet access?

A: Nope! Everything runs locally for offline development.

Q: What server environment does Chassis use?

A: Chassis configures virtual Nginx servers with PHP-FPM.

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