WordPress Theme and Plugin Testing Tools and Commands


If you have not noticed yet, I work as a Business Development Manager for a WordPress plugin company named Themeum. It has been quite a while performing this role, testing products and ensuring better quality. Providing a great user experience is a very crucial part of my job.

I try to test all the products my company makes every week. I also pay attention to public discussions to understand the user’s frustrations. So, I always have to test things.

1. Local by Flywheel

They have a very nice feature to save an installation as a blueprint. I use that to test a site with dummy data and a demo setup. It saves much time, like setting up WooCommerce or Tutor LMS and importing demo data.

They also have quick switching of PHP versions. You can also switch between Apache and NginX.

Please note that this tool requires a significant amount of resources to run. I use an M1 chip-based Macbook Air. So, if you are using an older device with a lower configuration, this might not be a good solution for you.

2. Laravel Valet

I started using Valet when I had a Toshiba laptop. It only had 4GB RAM, and it was pretty slow. Valet uses NginX and serves pages really fast. One of the reasons could be that it uses NginX.

I have a short tutorial about installing valet on OSX for localhost.

I no longer use MAMP because it forces the Pro version and shows advertisements to buy it. Changing multiple PHP versions is also a pain. I mean switching to a wide range, from PHP 7 to PHP 8. I usually have at least 6-7 different versions of PHP in my local host. Valet does a great job of switching things smoothly.


It helps me install plugins and themes faster, and I don’t have to wait for the pages to load. The best thing is that I can install multiple themes and plugins with one command. It is also easy to clean up an installation with wp site empty.

Oh, and did I tell you that it caches things and doesn’t always download stuff from the remote server?

I always use CLI commands to activate and deactivate plugins and themes. Saving a few seconds can be really productive and make your workflow faster. If you are good with writing bash or shell scripts, you can make the process of setting up an environment even faster and more efficient.

I have a tutorial on How to install WP CLI as well.

4. Airplane Mode Plugin

WordPress tries to load fonts and other external scripts every time the pages are loaded. Loading Google Fonts during testing also makes things slower. So, it might get slow when you have a slow internet connection. As I usually test features, I enable the airplane mode. Fonts might look weird if no fallback font is set up for your theme or plugin, but it’s okay.

5. WP Rollback Plugin

It happens very often that things break or act weird after a new update. So, to verify the users’ claims, I need to switch plugin versions. This plugin helps with that.

6. Updraft Plus Plugin

This one helps with taking backups of live sites and testing locally.

Optional Tools

I use Sublime Text to read the source code and search for things within the files and folders.

Using Git can also help test things faster as developers push changes. If you do not have a GitHub account, I would suggest opening one. This would help you take pulls for new fixes, and you might also push some minor or silly bug fixes. 😉

Some tips-

  1. When you’re testing anything in WordPress, you must turn on the debug mode and enable the debug log.
  2. You should never work on a live site. Always take a backup and then test on your computer.
  3. Always take a backup before updating anything on your site.
  4. Do not enable auto-update plugins and themes on a critical site because new updates to plugins and themes have a high chance of breaking things or creating a conflict. So, always test new versions of plugins and themes before updating them on your live site.

This is not all of it. I was feeling bored sitting at the office. So, this is more like a Facebook post without any plan or formatting. I have definitely missed some of the important tools and processes. Please let me know those in the comments 😃


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