InstaWP vs LocalWP: Which is Right for You in 2024

Setting up and managing local WordPress environments requires tools that meet the needs of both the developer and the user, InstaWP and LocalWP are such tools. 

InstaWP allows you to create and instantly launch WordPress websites online without much hassle, whereas the local WordPress environment allows for the development and testing of WordPress websites offline before they are rolled out to a live server. 

InstaWP and LocalWP each have their uniqueness, advantages, and disadvantages. The choice between the two might largely depend on your specific needs as well as your budget plans. 

So, if you are wondering which of these is better than the other, no worries, 

In this article, I will be comparing them using parameters that should inform your choice between the tools; taking into account the tool’s ease of use, the features offered, the pricing plans, level of support and platforms used, among other parameters. 

To start with, an overview of each of these is quite necessary to understand them better, and a look into what makes each of them stand out before we compare. 

Let’s get to it. 

Overview of InstaWP and LocalWP

InstaWP

InstaWP

InstaWP stands for “Instant WordPress”, a toolset that is used to instantly launch a WordPress site without much setup requirement time. 

It is a freemium and lightweight tool used for creating instant WordPress Instances before launching them. With this tool, you quickly and easily create your site, test it out, make changes or adjustments, then push to a live server. 

That said, InstaWP is not a live hosting platform though they have recently launched InstaWP Live a product dedicated to hosting WordPress websites.

LocalWP

LocalWP

LocalWP is a free tool that was developed by Flywheel – a managed WordPress hosting platform and was later acquired by WPEngine. 

This is also a local development tool for WordPress and is friendly and more feature-rich. LocalWP is used to create, manage and customize WordPress environments locally, even without an internet connection

Both InstaWP and LocalWP allow website developers to test their ideas before and also edit their site away from the real live website. So, what makes them stand out? 

What makes InstaWP stand out? 

InstaWP features

InstaWP is simple and easy to use, so if you need a quick and straightforward local development environment, or if you are a beginner, this is an excellent choice. 

It gives you all WordPress tools under one dashboard. 

InstaWP dashboard

It can be accessed on ready internet devices. You do not need to be on one computer to create a staging environment on InstaWP since it is online. 

No matter the computer or device you are using, you can develop and test the WordPress site as long as there is internet. 

In the online testing environment, the result is close to having a live website! The site appears more realistic than when it’s being worked on offline. 

With InstaWP, sharing test websites with teams and clients is made easy, you can do all this on the dashboard by clicking the three dots. Then click on view creds to see all the details including username and password will appear and can be shared easily.

InstaWP has an easy backup process; does not need to connect to any third-party application or worry about offline storage; everything done is backed up in the server instantly. 

Much as test sites expire after a certain period, it does not necessarily mean that your work is lost. It can be restored from the dashboard.

InstaWP allows you to migrate a website to another of your choice such as WP Bolt, Pressable, Cloudways, Run Cloud and Server Altar. 

It can work for professional developers through its paid version –  which comes with additional features and support. 

InstaWP is a fully online service. You don’t have to install anything on your computer. you can easily share changes made with your team or clients through a link, this is made quite easy.

What makes LocalWP stand out?

LocalWP features

LocalWP offers a user-friendly GUI which makes it easy to create, manage and customize WordPress environments locally. 

It supports more advanced features like SSL support, and site cloning, and allows for easy deployment of local websites to a live server

Flexible server environment, with only a single click you can choose between Apache and NGINX to check whether a given website works well in different server environments. The user can switch between PHP and Versions.

Shareable URLs, once online, you can share with clients and team members easily. You can also check the website on different devices to ascertain the level of optimization with other devices and browsers.

On click Administration; you will not need to memorize the usernames and passwords when

developing a website. LocalWP offers a one-click login feature.

It is available for Linux, Windows or Mac OS

LocalWP is an offline toolset so you will be able to use it even without an internet connection. It allows you to download the LOCAL software on your computer and work with it offline. 

So, is it all roses with the two tools? Certainly not, just like any other website development platforms and tools, LocalWP and InstaWP have some shortcomings. We look at these in the next section. 

The not-so-good about InstaWP and LocalWP

InstaWP limitations

1. Has limited documentation and community support

While it is actively maintained, its community and documentation support is not extensive. This makes it difficult to access help when problems arise and challenging to find solutions to some issues. 

2. Has a simple user interface

This is advantageous to some developers, but to those who prefer a more user-friendly and feature-rich GUI, it can be a limitation. Its user interface is quite basic, some people may need more intuitive tools. 

LocalWP limitations

1. Is Device dependent. 

The developer needs a computer with specifications that can run LocalWP which you must download and install. 

Should the computer crash due to malware or other technical problems, you will have to start over again. You will need to connect to the internet and back up the project to be safe. 

Should you be far from your working computer and need to work on your project, you will have to download and install the software again on another computer, and this other computer must meet the minimum specification for the toolset for it to run. 

All this can impact the time of completion and efficiency of your project.

2. Has no automatic backups

Backups are not automatic under LocalWP. Ideally, files can be backed up as soon as the LocalWP account is linked to cloud backup. However, the developer has to, from time to time, connect to the internet and backup the files. 

Should your team or you forget to back up, and something happens to the project, it means that a fresh start will be needed. This may not be realistic especially if the project in preparation is a rush one.

3. Has limitations on live links

The links are meant for viewing content to allow clients and teammates to keep track of the progress of the project. 

Without these links, you will have to share the project by uploading it online so that it can be downloaded from the client’s or teammates’ end. This makes work quite inefficient and tedious. 

In addition, live links slow down the display of the website, giving the wrong impression to the clients. The client might think that the website being presented is of poor quality. 

4. Has restricted site migrating 

LocalWP is customized to Flywheel or Wpengine only. Should you choose to use a different host, you will face difficulties. 

You will have to spend more on a subscription just to get a website live.

Developing a website offline may seem convenient but it does not accurately reflect real-life situations, your computer has more power than an online server, so things that work fine locally might become buggy when live online.

InstaWP vs LocalWP: choosing based on key parameters

The decision to use either InstaWP or LocalWP can be guided by the following; 

1. Simplicity – Ease-of-use

InstaWP has staging sites embedded thereby excluding the need for external hosting. This does not take up space in the hosting server.

Also, InstaWP is more straightforward and minimalistic. You can in addition create templates to be shared with your teams so they won’t have to start afresh, they can create new sites using shared template links. 

In comparison, 

LocalWP is easy to use, it gives clear steps on how to use it to create a local WordPress website. Experience with WordPress usage does not matter, the steps provided herein will be enough guidance. 

It is entirely free for everyone to use 

It is offline, you can seamlessly test a website or plugin without an internet connection. This allows you to concentrate on your work without distractions from the internet. In addition, it favors developers who have poor internet connectivity. 

They are both easy to use, so your choice here may depend on your specific needs and your level of expertise. 

2. Pricing and budgets 

InstaWP has both paid and free options. The higher the tier purchased the more features are unlocked. 

Pricing and budgets for InstaWP and Local WP

The free version of InstaWP is good enough for testing and developing sites. In addition, you will not need to sign up for an InstaWP account to use it, just click on Create Free account on the home page, then follow the tutorial. 

Free plan InstaWP and Local WP

LocalWP is free to use for everyone. All you need is to just download it!

LocalWP download

On this parameter, if you need more advanced features and are ready to pay, then InstaWP might be your choice.

3. Community support

InstaWP may have a smaller community, however, it is actively maintained. 

LocalWP has a wider user base, hence more extensive online community support and resources. 

4. Backup process

InstaWP does not need to connect to any third-party application or worry about offline storage; everything done is backed up into the server instantly. Much as test sites expire after a certain period, it does not necessarily mean that your work is lost. 

LocalWP on the other hand relies on cloud backups. With this feature, you can connect your account to either Google Drive or Dropbox and quickly back up all the project data. 

5. Website migration

InstaWP lets you migrate a website to any other of your choice such as WP Bolt, Pressable, Cloud ways, Run Cloud and server Altar.

It offers a one-click login

While on LocalWP you have two limited options, only flywheel or Wpengine

6. Accounts creation 

With InstaWP, there is no need for account creation while with LocalWP, you will need to create an account.

7. Internet connection requirements 

InstaWP needs an internet connection since it is an online tool. 

On the other hand, there is no need for an internet connection for users who choose LocalWP except when backing up and downloading project files, or creating shareable links. 

8. Integrations

InstaWP has a wider range of applications it supports while LocalWP has limitations on certain applications. 

9. Memory and space

InstaWP is Server dependent and any browser can run it, while LocalWP is Computer dependent.

In addition… 

Both InstaWP and LocalWP need developer tools available for proper and efficient tests

Both toolsets create sites instantly.

Both support and take into consideration system logs

10. Customer/ client reviews

InstaWP

InstaWP client reviews

LocalWP

LocalWP client reviews
LocalWP client reviews
LocalWP client reviews

FAQ

What are the common uses for InstaWP and LocalWP? 

InstaWP and LocalWP are commonly used for the following;

Website creation and development; get on with the creation and development of sites to test out

Safe experimentation; the tools allow you to try out new features or themes without making any changes in the actual site. 

Version testing; InstaWP and LocalWP allow you to test upcoming versions of WordPress. 

Bug identification; the tools can help you check for bugs before you make changes to the website

Website maintenance; the tools will let you optimize sites and make performance improvements before publishing

Conclusion

Much as both toolsets create an enabling environment for testing websites and sharing with clients and teammates, it is worth noting that LocalWP is great for offline WordPress test sites and many supporters do appreciate it. 

However, for more convenience and fast workflow, InstaWP is better because it does not put pressure on the developer’s computer hard drive space, backups are done online and it’s instant, sharing work is made easy.

As to which of the two you should choose (LocalWP or InstaWP) is dependent mostly on an individual’s web development needs and the circumstances surrounding you. 

So, I wish you the best in making a choice!

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Gloria
Gloria Is an academician in the social sciences with more than five (5) years of lecturing. She has a passion for research and writing and has written a number of articles about social media. She loves journaling and poetry.

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