bootstrapping wordpress

The other day I was thinking about how to easily setup a wordpress-site for development, staging as well as production and I found that there doesn’t seem to be an easy way “out-of-the-box”.

Why is that?

WordPress is famous for it’s “5 minute installer” (which actually, after the 20th wordpress-site, takes you 2 minutes max). Upload the folder via FTP onto your server, open your webbrowser and add some basic informations and you’ve got a Blog up and running. Do some more customizations and you’ve got a decent website.

But it’s never been designed to take that site and move it to somewhere else to do some testing and then put everything back again to the live-site. Oh, but only put the configuration you changed back, not the actual data…

And that’s where it becomes tricky. The configuration resides in the same database as the content. And even though we just need the information what plugin shall be installed, we have to move the complete sourcecode of the plugin from A to B as there is no way otherwise. And to be honest, even moving the complete wordpress-core from A to B is somewhat overdone.


This can be circumvented by using DependencyManagement. the wordpress-core and all of the plugins and themes are dependencies of my website. And some examples already exist on the internet on how to setup a wordpress-site using composer. To enable that there’s even a proxy for all the plugins and themes in the wordpress-repository.

But it still misses some things.

Multiple identical setups

One thing was to allow easy installation on a development-system including a vagrant-setup while still enabling me to deploy everything easily on a different machine with a local database and webserver setup.

Version Control

Another thing is the possibility to store the setup in a VCS with a minimum amount of files. In my eyes it doesn’t make much sense to have the complete wordpress-core under version-control when a line like "wordpress" : "4.4.*" can be enough.


And it should also allow me to use the wordpress-repository to install plugins and themes as I’m used to. Update the dependencies via the webinterface or via an automated process.

An idea

Slowly an idea crept up in my mind.

And I’ve started creating it. A wordpress-bootstrap in combination with a WordPress-Composer bridge. It’s not finished yet, but I believe it’s a good way.

Now I can create a running wordpress-installation with some terminal-commands (as long as composer and vagrant are available) like this:

    composer create-project org_heigl/wordpress_bootstrap [my-wordpress-folder]
    # confirm the defaults with "Enter"
    cd [my-wordpress-folder]
    vagrant up

Now visit http://localhost:8080. You can log in using wpadmin and password (and you should change that!)

The setup already has a plugin installed that adds the plugins you activate in that installation to the composer.json-file and you can store the information of activated plugins and themes by adding that composer.json to your VCS and that’s it. No need to bloate your VCS with the complete plugin-code.

The whole thing is not yet finished! There’s a lot of stuff to do like handling Database-Transfers and stuff.

But it’s a start.

What do you think? Anything you think that should be included? Open an Issue or fork the project and create a Pull-Request.

 architectural daughtsman, brother, developer, father, husband, master of forestry sciences, scout

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