Creating plugins and themes for WordPress means that you have to have a working installation of WordPress where your creations can be tested. Instant WordPress is a free portable WordPress development environment for Windows that has everything you need for running a perfectly functional WordPress installation anytime and anywhere, it can even be launched from USB flash drives.
Executable that you download doesn’t even install, it just extracts everything into a directory of your choosing. In this directory you will get everything for running WordPress, server, PHP and MySQL of course. Setup is configured automatically. After the extraction is complete, you just need to open up the target directory and launch the InstantWP executable that should exist there.
How to test plugins and themes with Instant WordPress – free portable WordPress development
After clicking on the executable, you should see the control panel of Instant WordPress. It might take a while for it to come up because it will be powering on the server and all the required components, but when it does show up, you should see something similar to what can be seen on the image down below.
As you can see, from here you can access the homepage of you new portable WordPress installation, admin dashboard (login is admin, password is password), the themes folder and plugins folder, MySQL admin and lastly documentation. To test plugins with this free portable WordPress development environment, simply click on the Plugins Folder option and paste your plugin into the directory that comes up.
From here on out you probably already know what needs to be done. Open up the admin dashboard, select Plugins from the left sidebar of the dashboard and activate your plugin. The same thing goes for themes. It’s the standard procedure for manual plugin/theme installation when using WordPress.
By selecting the WordPress Homepage option from the main menu, you can directly access your website. It will run on localhost. Server works only when the main control panel works. When the control panel is closed, server is also shutdown.
Download and impressions
Instant WordPress is probably the easiest, if not the only, way how you can have a fully functional portable WordPress development environment on your Windows system. Everything is automatically setup and everything just works, even from a USB flash drive. It’s perfect for WordPress testing.