12 Must-Have Tools For WordPress Developers [Most are FREE]

Looking for the right developer tools for building new WordPress projects?

WordPress is one of the most popular CMS, currently powering 43.1% of all the websites on the internet. 

Having already accounted for a large percentage of the web, WordPress has become increasingly popular among both novices and experienced developers.

However, creating WordPress websites, plugins, and themes from scratch can be challenging if the right tools are not used.

So in this article, we have compiled a list of the best WordPress development tools that will simplify your workflow & help you get started quickly for your next project.

Developing an online product is a multi-step process. The process includes extensive steps and multiple revisions, from writing code to debugging to testing.

In order to streamline your product development process, we have included the best WordPress development tools for you to choose from.

Let’s get started!

1.InstaWP

The first on our list of WordPress development tools is InstaWP. This tool created a buzz in the WordPress ecosystem since it received seed funding from Automattic.

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InstaWP enables you to launch a WordPress Sandbox without any hustle. Just a couple of clicks, and you are ready with a fully-fledged WordPress website that you can further use for testing and deploying your projects before they go live.

You might be wondering how InstaWP differs from existing local development tools. First, let’s check out its features:

  • Instant Sites: InstantWP’s instant sites feature does exactly what it says. Once you complete its signup and verification process, you’ll be ready with your new WordPress website in just a record time.
  • No Server: While creating sites for testing & development purposes, you want to avoid hustling with other technicalities like hosting servers. InstaWP saves your time & effort by automatically hosting your test site on live servers.

This gives you the flexibility to share links with your team members or anyone on the internet and they can view/access your site’s content in real-time.

  • Free SSL certificate: For every site you create using InstaWP, you get a free SSL certificate.
  • Automatic Domain: The tool automatically creates a domain name for your test site based on the name you choose during the signup process.

Further, if you want, you can assign a custom domain name & point it to the WordPress website in InstaWP.

  • PHP & WP Version: You can choose the PHP and WP versions you want to test your product.
  • In-Built Tools: Specifically for development purposes, you can get access to the tools like Code Editor, Database Editor, Log Viewer, Git Integration, and SSH access with WP-CLI.
  • Custom Configuration: You get the flexibility to create custom configurations with your preferred WordPress & PHP version, WordPress plugins, and themes.

When you create a new test site, you need to select your saved configuration type, and all your preferences, plugins, and themes are automatically installed.

  • Integrations: Generally, integrating built-in test-site staging environments with third-party apps is a bit cumbersome. InstaWP makes this process much more flexible by offering an option to create API tokens.

You can generate your API token to easily integrate your InstaWP site with any third-party application.

  • Deployments: As a web developer, you might already be familiar with & probably using Github to host your projects.

With InstaWP, you can quickly deploy your test site to a Git repository. It’s easy to push changes from InstaWP to GitHub and to pull data from GitHub to InstaWP. As an additional feature, InstaWP lets you add both private and public Git repositories.

  • Migrate & Clone: In addition to these features, you can also migrate or clone your staging site with a single click.

Pricing: InstaWP has both FREE and Premium versions. There are three paid plans: Personal, Pro and Agency. The lowest monthly plan starts at $9/mo, and the annual plan starts at $90/yr.

The cost of the premium plan varies depending on the features set of InstaWP. For example, you can only access the features such as Instant Templates and Export Sites if you subscribe to the Agency plans. To get more details please check out Insta WP’s Pricing page.

Free Version Premium Version ($9/mo)
5 Active Sites 10 Active Sites
500 MB Space 5 GB Space
48 hrs Site Expiry 7 Days Site Expiry
100 Git Operations 500 Git Operations
Custom Domain
FTP Access
Advanced Configurations

Get Insta WP

2.BuddyWorks

BuddyWorks is the best CI/CD tool enabling you to automate your deployment process to all bare-metal and cloud servers.

With BuddyWorks, you can automate deployments to FTP/SFTP and cloud services like AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Digital Ocean using GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab.

BuddyWorks runs on Docker, but it supports Kubernetes flexibly. In addition, it supports multiple languages, including PHP, C++, .NET, Node.js, and Golang.

One of the best features that differentiate Buddy’s deployment from other CI/CD tools is that their deployments are based on changesets. This means that only modified files are deployed, and the deployment mechanism is optimized to the limits.

In simple terms, using BuddyWorks, you can upload only some of the repository every time; you can only upload the updated files. This makes the whole deployment blazing fast and saves you considerable time.

Pricing: BuddyWorks is a freemium tool. The free version is pretty enough for beginner developers; however, you can subscribe to the pro version for more advanced features, which starts at $29/per month.

BuddyWorks pro pricing varies depending on the number of users, storage, amount of RAM assigned to the pipeline, and other parameters. Check out BuddyWorks pricing page for more details!

Get BuddyWorks

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3. Local WP

Local WP by Flywheel is another popular & straightforward development tool for WordPress sites.

If you’re looking to set up your own local development environment, Local is the best solution.

Local WP is a completely beginner-friendly tool, & simple enough for beginners to use. Thanks to its interactive interface, setting up a staging environment using Local WP is just a few clicks.

Including all its easy-to-use features, Local WP also offers many advanced features for those who wish to customize their local environment.

You can choose between Nginx and Apache servers and two versions of PHP during the signup process. Moreover, you can map your new local website to a domain.

Also, Local WP allows you to create live links with your team members or clients to give access to local projects.

Local WP offers root SSH access, WP-CLI, and the ability to hot-swap PHP environments for testing purposes.

Pricing: Free

Get Local WP

4. Chrome Developer Tools

Developer tools for Chrome, also known as Chrome DevTools, is a comprehensive and free toolkit for web developers. This in-built feature enables you to inspect, test, and debug code in real-time.

You can access Chrome Developer Tools by right-clicking on a web page, selecting Inspect Element, or pressing COMMAND + Option + I on Mac and CTRL + Shift + I on Windows devices.

When you inspect your web page, you’ll see three tabs at the top of the Developer Tools window. There are more tab options available that you can access by clicking on the icon >>.

Navigate to the tab options and click on it to access the tools.

Each tab of Chrome DevTools offers plenty of helpful information for developers, such as:

  • Element tab displays HTML and inline CSS for the page you are viewing.
  • Console tab helps to identify page errors and warnings.
  • In the Sources tab, you can view all the files used to make the website.
  • The Network tab displays all the files loaded in the URL you are viewing.
  • The Application tab displays what’s in your browser storage, including local storage, Web SQL databases, and more.
  • With the Security tab, you can check whether a site has an HTTPS certificate or uses TLS encryption.
  • Developers can improve site performance by using the Audits tab, which automatically generates reports about site functionality and structure.
  • Using Lighthouse, a Google product that evaluates the performance of web pages and suggests ways to improve them. Chrome DevTools allows you to test everything from site speed to SEO to accessibility.

Further, using Chrome DevTools, you can preview your webpage on various devices, including iPhones, iPads, and laptops. You can add custom dimensions if a particular device is not listed.

5. Deployer

Deployer is one of the best-automated tools for PHP deployments. It is free, easy to use, and offers many features.

Manually deploying WordPress websites to a web server is a challenging task. For example, you can encounter errors if you miss the files during an upload. In addition, incorrectly migrating the database can cause data loss.

Deployer helps you cut down the manual deployment process and provides automated options to save you time and money.

Deployer PHP offers support for popular frameworks, including WordPress. With its advanced feature, you can quickly deploy your repos from GitHub to any PHP framework.

And if any error occurred during the deployment process, you can easily roll back your application to a previous version with its Rollbacks feature.

Pricing: Deployer is a 100% Free tool.

Get Deployer

6. GenerateWP

If you’re planning to create a new WordPress plugin or theme, you should add GenerateWP to your developer’s tool list.

GenerateWP is a popular WordPress Code Generator that includes different tools & generators helping you generate code and speed up your WordPress development without hassle.

Whether it’s the Shortcodes generator, Post Type generator, or Theme support generator, GenerateWP offers everything.

In addition to having a lot of generators, on GenerateWP’s site, you can browse public WordPress snippets created by other users. This is useful if you need an example, code block, or query that has already been completed.

Pricing: GenerateWP has both Free and Paid versions. The premium plan starts at $25/month. The free version is quite limited in features, as using the lite version of GenerateWP, you get no Premium Generators & can Save Public Snippets Only.

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7. WP-CLI

WordPress Command Line Interface (WP-CLI) is undoubtedly the most effective tool for every WordPress Developer. It is a comprehensive tool to manage WordPress websites wherein you can only install and use it from your terminal. 

This tool is helpful when you want to import content, update plugins, load PHP files, manage language packs, optimize speed, import attachments, manage widgets, and more. 

To install WP-CLI, your host must be able to set up a Secure Support Shell (SSH), and once installed, you are good to go forward and start working with the tool.

Pricing: Free

Get WP-CLI

8. Prettier.io

As the name says, Prettier makes your code look pretty and structured. It is an opinionated code formatter that supports every popular coding language, including JavaScript, JSX, Angular, Vue, Flow, and TypeScript.

With prettier.io, a consistent style is applied to all output code. Your code is reprinted from scratch based on the line length.

Prettier.io ensures that code formatting is consistent across your entire codebase by disregarding the original style by parsing it away and printing it with its own rules that take into account the maximum line length, wrapping code when needed.

Pricing: Free

Get Prettier.io

9. Query Monitor

Query Monitor is the developer tools panel for WordPress. It also debugs database queries, PHP errors, block editor blocks, enqueued scripts, stylesheets, and HTTP API calls.

Among its features is the ability to debug Ajax calls, REST API calls, and user capability checks. In addition, by narrowing down its output by plugin or theme, you can quickly determine which plugins, themes, or functions are underperforming.

With Query Monitor, you can view aggregate database queries grouped by plugins, themes, or functions responsible for them. Once you select a menu item, debugging information is displayed in panels along with an overview of the current page.

Pricing: Free

Get Query Monitor

10. Debug bar

Debug Bar is one of the most helpful tools for developers. It’s a native WordPress plugin that shows query, cache, and other useful debugging information in the admin bar.

In addition to showing all the information you need, the plugin also displays which PHP file generated the page.

Pricing: Free

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11. Loops & Logic

WordPress developers can use Loops & Logic to have extensive control over how WordPress content is displayed on your site’s front end when the theme or builder does not support the options you need.

With this plugin, you can create custom PHP themes and builder modules using a simplified HTML-like syntax familiar to any front-end developer.

Further, it allows you to use HTML templates with dynamic tags like Loop, Field, and If. 

By using Loops & Logic, you can effortlessly enqueue your CSS stylesheets and Javascript anywhere using a visual location rule builder. You can also seamlessly write your CSS directly in SASS without any worries.

Pricing: Free

Get Loops & Logic

12. Loops & Logic

As a web developer, sometimes you need to check which plugins and themes are activated on a particular site.

There are many ways to detect activated themes and plugins, but WPTD (WP Theme Detector) is the best tool.

You just need to add the site URL and WordPress Theme Detector shows all the details about the WordPress theme and plugins that are currently being used on a site

Pricing: Free

Get WPTD

Wrapping up!

Developer tools are an integral part of designing a website, blog, portfolio, etc., and hence should be chosen to use after a close examination of their functioning, adaptability, advancement, and cost. Some tools offer free versions and paid versions as well. 

You can choose the one that is more convenient to use and adds value to your product. Hence, having a toolkit is a necessity for all WordPress Developers. However, the variety could be more or less depending on the work to be done.

Web development is a tough job, and finding professionals to do the tasks related to web development is even tougher. So if you’re looking for professional & talented developers, you need to check out our details on how to find a Web Developer in 2022. 

Also click here to find some exciting Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals running on popular WordPress products.



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