15 Essential WordPress Plugins for Local Development

Photo of various tools
License: Adobe Stock

As a developer, working locally on your WordPress projects is an essential part of your workflow. In this list are several plugins that can assist you when developing locally.

In alphabetical order, here are some plugins I’ve found useful over the years.

Better Search Replace

Better Search Replace admin interface
Better Search Replace Admin Settings

Better Search Replace is a free and very useful plugin for doing search/replace when you’re trying to duplicate an environment. While you can use WP-CLI to do a search and replace, this plugin provides an easy-to-use interface when you need to replace URLs.

Classic Editor

Classic Editor Options on the Posts Screen
Classic Editor Options on the Posts Screen

The Classic Editor plugin is a free plugin that has you covered should you need to switch between the classic editor and block editor.

If you need to test your plugin on the classic editor or mess with TinyMCE, then Classic Editor is an essential tool. The fact that you can switch back and forth makes the plugin extremely useful.

Code Snippets

Code Snippets Admin Interface
Code Snippets Admin Interface

Code Snippets is a free and versatile plugin that lets you add code to your WordPress install. Since you can disable and enable snippets, Code Snippets is an excellent debugging tool and utility plugin.

Easy Updates Manager

Easy Updates Manager
Easy Updates Manager

Easy Updates Manager is a free plugin that allows you to automate updates. You can set assets to update automatically, or you can even block an asset from updating.

You can keep your WordPress install up-to-date and also opt-in for development (nightly) releases.

If you want to keep your local install up-to-date without having to do much of anything, then this plugin is for you.

Gutenberg

Gutenberg Demo Page Screenshot
Gutenberg Demo Page Screenshot

Gutenberg is a free WordPress plugin that enhances the block editor further than what is in WordPress core.

If you develop block plugins and/or mess with full-site-editing, then testing with the latest version of Gutenberg is a must.

There are also various “experiments” you can enable to get a handle on what may be coming to WordPress core soon.

Insert Headers and Footers

Insert Headers and Footers is a free plugin that allows you to insert scripts and styles into the header/footer of a theme.

Just like Code Snippets, this plugin is useful if you’d like to make changes without affecting a theme’s code.

Migrate DB Pro

Migrate DB Pro Admin Screen
Migrate DB Pro Admin Screen – Image From DeliciousBrains.com

Migrate DB Pro (formerly WP Migrate DB) is a paid plugin that allows you to push and pull a database from a production site to local, or vice-versa.

It also allows you to sync media and themes/plugins.

While pricey, it saves a ton of time compared to other migration tools and is specifically geared toward developers and power users.

Visit the Migrate DB Pro site to learn more.

Pods

Pods Admin Screenshot
Pods Admin Screenshot

Pods is a free utility plugin for creating post types, taxonomies, settings pages, and so much more. You may like its cousin Advanced Custom Fields, but I’ve found Pods to be easy to use, highly rated, and well-supported.

The ability to quickly spin up custom post types comes in handy if you do any local development and need test data.

Just as a disclaimer, I am one of the sponsors of Pods and they can always use more help financially as it is a free community plugin.

Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log

Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log is a free plugin to help configure email settings.

I use it for one main reason, however: logs.

It’s the best plugin I’ve found so far that has useful logs and is free. For those who do any troubleshooting with emails, you’ll know how helpful email logs are.

Query Monitor

Query Monitor is a free and must-have plugin for local debugging.

Query Monitor can help spot PHP errors, slow database queries, show you which filters are being used, and a ton more.

Just a warning that the plugin can slow down your admin panel, so I don’t recommend this plugin on a production site.

Regenerate Thumbnails

Regenerate Thumbnails Tools Screen
Regenerate Thumbnails Tools Screen

Regenerate Thumbnails is a free plugin which will regenerate any images based on your image crop sizes.

If you’re developing a theme or plugin that relies on image sizes, you’ll find it easy to resize your images. It sits currently unmaintained, but it’s still the best one out there, a gift to the community from the late Alex Mills.

Slash Edit

Slash Edit is one of my free plugins. It saves me a few extra steps on the frontend when I’m not logged in. Adding a “/edit” at the end of a URL will prompt for a login and redirect you to the post editor. It’s a small time saver, but it adds up over time.

User Switching

User Switching on the Dashboard Screen
User Switching on the Dashboard Screen

User Switching is a free plugin that allows you to switch back and forth between certain users.

If you ever need to troubleshoot and see what a user sees, this plugin is invaluable. Messing with roles and capabilities is never fun, and this plugin takes the guesswork out of troubleshooting role-specific errors.

WP Crontrol

WP Crontrol Admin Screenshot
WP Crontrol Admin Screenshot

WP Crontrol is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to view current and future cron processes.

For anyone who has worked with cron before, you’ll know it’s a very hard thing to test and troubleshoot.

Fortunately, WP Crontrol allows you to visually view all of the cron events, run custom ones, and trigger existing ones.

WP Rollback

WP Rollback Screenshot
WP Rollback Screenshot

WP Rollback is a free plugin that allows you to change a plugin or theme to a previous version.

If you find yourself constantly upgrading/downgrading plugins or themes, WP Rollback will save you a ton of time.

User Recommended Plugins

The following have been added based on a user’s recommendation, either via comments or social.

Admin Bar User Switching

Screenshot of the Admin Bar User Switching plugin
Screenshot of the Admin Bar User Switching plugin

Admin Bar User Switching is a free plugin that is an add-on to the already mentioned (and awesome) User Switching plugin.

The Admin Bar User Switching plugin extends User Switching by adding an admin bar shortcut for switching to and from users. If you want to navigate between users using the admin bar, then this plugin is for you.

Conclusion

Within this article, I listed 15 plugin solutions to assist in local development. If you have any suggestions for others, please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading.

Ronald Huereca
By: Ronald Huereca
Published On: on January 13, 2023

Ronald Huereca founded DLX Plugins in 2022 with the goal of providing deluxe plugins available for download. Find out more about DLX Plugins, check out some tutorials, and check out our plugins.

2 thoughts on “15 Essential WordPress Plugins for Local Development”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Default Avatar
Choose an Avatar

Shopping Cart
  • Your cart is empty.
Scroll to Top