Join Jen Kramer for an in-depth discussion in this video Running Joomla! locally vs. hosting, part of Installing and Running Joomla! 3: Local and Web-Hosted Sites.
- When working with Joomla, some people choose to build their Joomla websites on the computer that's there in front of them. And then move them off to a web host for launch. Other people choose to work with Joomla directly on the web host. They'll install it on the web host, and they'll build from there. So you might be wondering which one of these approaches is better? By now in web development, you should know there's only one answer to this question. And the answer is always, it depends. So let's think about some of the advantages and disadvantages to building locally and on a web host.
So the advantages of local installation are as follows. First of all, no one can see that website that's under construction except for you. Any mistakes you're making, no one can see them. Only you can see the website. There's no hosting fees while you're building the website. So if you wind up taking a really long time to put your Joomla site together, you might save a little money this way. And there's no internet required. So you're only limited by the speed of the computer that's there in front of you to put together your Joomla website. Or if you're working remotely, it's really handy.
However, there's a bunch of disadvantages to working with Joomla only in a local installation. First of all, no one can see that website until you're done. That's probably a really bad thing, because if you have a client, you'd like your client to be able to take a look at the site while it's under construction and get you feedback. It's going to save you time. It'll be more efficient, and you'll make more money that way. You'll also have collaborators like, designers, or engineers, content specialists, search engine optimization people who need to see that site under construction as well.
So if you're building locally, they can't see it until you put it up on the web host. And of course, you do have to migrate your site to the web host eventually, if you're going to make this website public so anyone can see it. That's just an extra step in the process. There are some advantages to building directly with Joomla on your web host. So first of all, the biggest one is, you don't have to install Apache, PHP, or MySQL on your local computer in order for Joomla to run. That can take a little bit of extra time as well.
You install Joomla once. Just install it once on your web host, and you'll never need to move that or change it around. You can just build with Joomla and be done. And of course, everyone can see your website. Like your client, all of your collaborators can see that site while it's under construction and get you feedback along the way. However, there are disadvantages to building your site on the web host as well. So first of all of course, you're going have to pay for web hosting while your site's under construction. And depending on how your web hosting is configured, that can be a significant chunk of change, or it might be a really little small, trivial amount.
There is the possibility of public visibility during development. So if you're building on a web host, there's a possibility that anyone in the world could stumble upon your website and take a look at it. There are ways to mitigate this, and you can work with Joomla in such a way and configure it so that only selected people can see the site while it's under construction. I'll cover that later in another video. Just be aware though, if you installed Joomla right out of the box, anyone can see it if they come upon that particular URL. And finally, an internet connection is indeed required to work on the website.
So you can't work on the website while you're out at your cabin at the lake. So which one is the best approach for you? My recommendations would be as follows. Build locally if... First of all, you're the only person building the site. You've got no one but you as a client, just go on ahead and build it locally. If you have a slow or an unreliable internet connection, like you get on dial-up, or at a hotel, or some other place, it may be easier to build locally, because you'll be able to move a little bit faster within the Joomla interface.
And especially if you're just learning. Why pay for web hosting in order to learn a new skill? If you're just learning you can build locally, and you won't have to pay any hosting fees. However, if you're going to build on a web host, I recommend you do this if you have a client and/or you have collaborators in your project. So, if you've got the client who needs to see what's going on, or if you have collaborators who are building the site with you, it's good for them to be able to see the site. And working on a web host is probably best. I personally build all of my sites in a web host, because I'm always working with those distant collaborators and clients.
Here at Lynda.com, we tend to build our websites locally, because it is a learning environment, and because technical support considerations. If you all have Joomla running on your local computer, we have more control over what kind of technical difficulties you might be encountering as you're working on your site. As opposed to web hosting, which may have a very different interface and different considerations, depending on which web host you pick.