Introducing Local by Flywheel, a free local development app for WordPress

Dusty Davidson's Layout avatar

We have some big news! Flywheel has acquired local WordPress development software Pressmatic, and today we are relaunching it under the name Local by FlywheelOh, and we’re also making it FREE! ?

We’ve long talked about Flywheel as “a software company that happens to host websites,” and Local by Flywheel represents our first major initiative outside of simply being a hosting platform.


At Flywheel, our mission is simply to help designers do what they love. We truly believe that web designers and agencies should be able to focus on what they do best and not have to worry about a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo. We started four years ago by simplifying and streamlining the hosting experience, and with today’s announcement, we dig deeper into the workflow of web designers by simplifying and streamlining the development experience in a similar way.

Rick, Tony, and I all started our careers building websites in the very early days of WordPress. It’s funny to think that in the past 5-10 years, there actually haven’t been a ton of advances in how people build websites. Of course for developers and technical folks, technologies like Vagrant have vastly improved the landscape – but it’s still a fractured mess. If you ask 10 web designers or developers what their local development setup is, my guess is you’d get 10 different answers, with each of them requiring significant setup and/or configuration.

As such, we’ve been dreaming about a beautiful, modern local development platform almost since the first days of Flywheel. In the backs of our minds, we always knew we were going to build it, and in fact, we made it one of the core goals for the Flywheel team in 2016.

As fate would have it, just about the time we started looking into kicking off the project officially, we got connected with Clay at Pressmatic and decided it made sense to start a conversation and possibly work together. In a very short time, Clay had built something pretty impressive with Pressmatic – something that really stood out amongst all the tools available for local WordPress development. The more we chatted, the more we realized that we had very similar visions, and that perhaps there was an opportunity to partner up and build something truly big and impactful.

Fast forward to today: Clay has joined the Flywheel team as an engineer, and over the past few months we’ve worked to rebrand and make the transition from Pressmatic to Local by Flywheel. We haven’t made many changes to the app yet (with the exception of making it free!), but will be pushing hard in the coming months with some pretty amazing updates.


All in all, we get pretty excited about the opportunity to help designers and agencies free themselves from having to “tinker” to get sites up and running and make the changes they need. We imagine a world where a workflow looks like this:

  • One click, create a site locally
  • Make your edits, then show your client via a demo URL
  • One click, publish to Flywheel (and it just works)

No fuss. No tinkering. It just works.

We’re not 100% there yet, but we’re close. Today’s re-launch of Pressmatic as Local by Flywheel is our commitment to building the gold standard for local WordPress development. It’s a commitment to defining a truly remarkable local development workflow for the millions of web designers and developers around the world building sites on WordPress. And it’s a commitment to doing so in the beautiful, fun-loving way that Flywheel has become known for.

It’s just the beginning, so stay tuned for so much more to come!

Want to learn more about Local by Flywheel? Download it for free here!

Comments ( 33 )

  1. Jacob

    December 1, 2016

    Congratulations! This is a huge pain point for designers/developers and it shows you are thinking of how to help us help you. Do you have any future plans to port it to Windows?

    • Morgan Smith

      December 1, 2016

      Hey Jacob, you bet! A Windows version is one of the first things we'll be working on. A few other items on the roadmap include one-click deployment to Flywheel, remote site importing, off-site backups, and so much more. You can stay in the loop and sign up for updates here!

  2. MWF

    December 1, 2016

    You are going to rock it :)

  3. Mike Sewell

    December 1, 2016

    That sounds wicked, looks like I'll be bringing more of my clients to FlyWheel :)

  4. Derrick

    December 1, 2016

    Great Job!, Please, please release a Linux version!

  5. Elliot

    December 1, 2016

    Looks awesome!

    Shame it's not available for Windows yet, but I can't wait to try it out when/if it ever is!

    • Morgan Smith

      December 2, 2016

      Don't worry, Elliot – a Windows version is already on the roadmap! It'll be coming soon.

      • Elliot

        December 3, 2016

        Awesome! :)

      • Robert Colbert

        March 11, 2017

        Now that Docker for Windows can natively leverage Hyper-V on Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, is there a chance that Local can leverage that for Windows? VirtualBox is nice but since I use Hyper-V for Windows containers, it is a pain to have to boot to a non-Hyper-V image to use Local.

        • Morgan Smith

          March 13, 2017

          Hey Robert, it's definitely something we're considering! If you head over to the Local Community, you can discuss feature requests and follow along as we continue adding new features :)

  6. Cesar

    December 1, 2016

    Thanks, it's a incredible tool!

  7. Chris Howard

    December 1, 2016

    congrats guys! This is awesome. Have worked closely with Clay for years and always been blown away by his work. Some of the coding problems he's solved left my brain as mush just thinking about it!

    Have been using Pressmatic since it's release and am really pleased to see it join in with you guys. A great combination.

    Really looking forward to being able to pull a Flywheel site down to Pressmatic...erm Local! Staging sites are great, but for intense development, nothing beats local. Or is that "Local" :)

    PS I presume I just install local over the top of Pressmatic? (I got 1.2.0)

    • Morgan Smith

      December 2, 2016

      Thanks for the kind words, Chris! We're thrilled to be working with Clay also.

      And you got it – just delete Pressmatic, and then install Local. (Don't worry, this won't affect any of your sites currently in development!) Here's an article about making the switch.

  8. Sherry

    December 1, 2016

    Will we be able to publish sites to flywheel through local?

    • Morgan Smith

      December 2, 2016

      Yep, Flywheel integration is on the roadmap! That feature will be coming soon :)

      • Sherry

        December 4, 2016

        Until then, can a site be built thorugh local, then exported and installed on flywheel? If this is possible, how do we do it?

        • Morgan Smith

          December 5, 2016

          You bet! You can export a ZIP file of your local site and upload it to our free migration form to move a site onto Flywheel.

  9. Corey

    December 1, 2016

    As a current user I'm exited that more people will be able to use it (and for free no less) but when will you be sending out info on how current users can upgrade?

  10. Victor

    December 1, 2016

    LOVELY !!! Only Flywheel does that !!! Thank you guys, We love to be an Agency Partner

  11. Jesse

    December 2, 2016

    This is an awesome idea! My only concern is will we be able to use version control with it? Running a larger design/dev agency, we depend on vc, so I'm hoping this can be used in conjunction with vc.

    • Morgan Smith

      December 2, 2016

      Hey Jesse – it's on the roadmap! We'll be rolling out lots of great features for enhanced collaboration soon :)

    • Clay Griffiths

      December 2, 2016

      Hey Jesse,

      You can still use SVN or Git like you would with any other local solution :-).

      Just clone or checkout your project into the /app folder that's exposed by Local.

  12. Hunter Haley

    December 2, 2016

    I am so excited about this! Keep up the good work. And as always, you guys rock!

  13. Kronda

    December 2, 2016

    Every time I start thinking about the next big headache I want to solve, there you are, one step ahead of me. Thanks for making it easy to convince my clients to move to Flywheel!

  14. Peter

    December 2, 2016

    Can it co-exist with an already installed VM environment such as VMware? Some solutions I've looked into conflict with other VMs. Please clarify.

    Looking forward to a Windows version. Let me know?

    • Morgan Smith

      December 2, 2016

      Hey Peter, it should work just fine if you have other VM environments installed! And don't worry, a Windows version will be coming soon :)

  15. Dave Bell

    December 2, 2016

    I cannot wait for the Windows version! And all this happens a week after I sign up for a year with Flywheel, how cool is that?

    Thanks! I knew I made the right choice.


  16. Bud Kraus

    December 3, 2016

    Heard about this at WC US. Wonderful idea and I wish you guys the best with this.

    Where can I get it or have you not released yet?


    • Morgan Smith

      December 5, 2016

      Thanks Bud! You can download Local by Flywheel here :)

  17. Rafael Tano

    December 5, 2016

    YESSSSSSS! About time there is something easier then trying to partition part of my machine... FOR FREE! Where do I sign up?

    Thanks Flywheel, you guys are the bomb.

  18. Joris

    December 6, 2016

    Tested and liked a lot! This is a great tool for getting up and running quickly. Local development rocks when traveling or in places where fast Internet access is not always possible. The only thing I miss in the Local is the ability to set a database table prefix per project during setup, along with some comon edits to wp-config (like disabling revisions, toggling debug).

  19. Sherry

    December 7, 2016

    How do I add my live site on flywheel to local?

    • Morgan Smith

      December 7, 2016

      Also on the roadmap with the Flywheel integration :) In the meantime, check out our Community section for help.

  20. Sparks Johsnon

    December 9, 2016

    Sure glad I found you guys ... this is wonderful!
    Thanks for all the great stuff you folks do.

  21. Gen

    December 9, 2016

    I guess this is just a tip in case someone else experiences it. If you setup your first WP site in Local and it takes forever (more than 10 minutes), just right click on it and delete it. Then set up a new site and it should setup in like a minute or less. Anyway, that's how it worked for me, so just in case someone else comes across that issue.

    Once it's setup it's great, everything is ready to go and you remembered to thoughtfully install blueprints for us!

  22. Twan van Landschoot

    December 10, 2016

    On the 21st of September I purchased Pressmatic for €99 USD. So what about the existing Pressmatic customers that just found out? I just read today (10th December) that Clay joined your team and that the development on Pressmatic is discontinued in favor of 'Local'.

    I never received any email / update from Pressmatic OR your company announcing this change or a special offer whatsoever. I have no interest in Flywheel, and feel not very good about the fact that the package I paid for is now available for free, without any notice upfront that this was coming.

    I'd expect that I received at lease ONE email from flywheel, since your company hired Clay, announcing this change. If I had received an email on time I would've been on time for a refund, but Pressmatic/Clay didn't COMMUNICATE anything to his current client-base that support the product from day one.

    I'm really disappointed in the lack of communication.

    • Morgan Smith

      December 12, 2016

      Hi Twan, we sent an email to all existing Pressmatic users on December 1st announcing the update. We apologize if it got lost in the process! We want to make sure all early adopters of Pressmatic get taken care of, so you'll be getting a Local Pro account for free when it launches. We're very excited to continue development for the app and add lots of great new features. If you have any more questions, head over to the Local Community and our support team can help you out!

  23. Jason

    December 12, 2016

    Is there any documentation /tutorials on setting up ionCube when using Local?

    I'm looking to switch over all my sites from DesktopServer/XAMP to Local to start using php7 on my local.

    But several sites require ionCube.

    Googling around for any pressmatic (or Local) tutorials on it hasn't turned anything up, other than installing ionCube on the actual server CentOS etc.

    • Morgan Smith

      December 13, 2016

      Hey Jason, for now you can follow the "Debian" steps in this tutorial. While it's not specific to Local, it should work just the same!

      • Jason

        December 13, 2016

        @Morgan Ryan:

        Thanks for the Debian link - I plan to keep some sites on PHP5.x and some on PHP7 ( alas I can't move them all to 7 in one swoop)...the "hot switching" feature is why I'm leaving DesktopServer for Local.

        I already have Zend installed for my current version of php - before I find out "the hard way" -- do you know if I can just follow those steps and install the new version -- without un-installing the old version?

        Is it possible to have more than one version of ionCube running?

        Even though I've got one site up and running on Local with php 7 -- when I go into Terminal and do
        $ php -v

        I get back:

        PHP 5.6.25 (cli) (built: Sep 6 2016 16:37:16)
        Copyright (c) 1997-2016 The PHP Group
        Zend Engine v2.6.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2016 Zend Technologies

        So... another way to ask the question is -- how do I install ionCube for PHP7, yet leave my computer basically running php 5.6?

        ( the idea being that I leave the old sites running via Desktop Server until I'm ready to scrub them for PHP7)...

        Or - does that mean I need to upgrade my machine to PHP 7 - then move all the sites into Local, and set those sites back to PHP 5.6?

        In which case, wouldn't the ionCube fail for those older ones then?

        Or long story short, just have to force everything into PHP7 and deal?

  24. Jason

    December 14, 2016

    Nevermind - I get it now. Didn't notice you could start an SSH connection with each install, and from there ionCube can be installed on a site by site basis, exactly as shown in the Debian tutorial.

    The only tricky part for me was that there is a php.ini file in the 'site install' - but this is not the php.ini to edit.

    The one that needs to ref. the iconcub .so file is


    so whilst you're SSH'd in:

    nano /conf/php/7.0.3/php.ini


    • Jason

      December 14, 2016

      OH! And also for those who are also finding this -- the tutorial uses wget - which is not already installed by Local.

      And, when you ssh to install wget - it will fail.

      You must first

      apt-get update


      apt-get install wget

      This will allow you to download the ionCube tar file to your virtual server.

  25. Daman

    December 18, 2016

    I've been using this app since it was called Pressmatic, and like the reader above have had no communication at all regarding my original purchase - I'll let that one slip...still using the app.

    But, Pressmatic had https://ngrok.com tunnelling available through the utilities section - a Major selling feature for me - I've just gone to use it and noticed the option's not there?

    Am I missing something?


    • Morgan Smith

      December 19, 2016

      Hi Daman, I'm sorry if our email to you got a little lost! Don't worry, though, the tunneling feature is still there under a new name: Demo URLs. Works just the same :)

  26. Massimiliano

    February 2, 2017

    Great tool you came up with, just what I was looking for! Is there any update on the windows version development?

    • Remon

      February 11, 2017

      Indeed, I was also wondering about a perhaps ETA on the Windows version :)

  27. LB79

    February 23, 2017

    Interesting application - Installed it, started using it - want to use it again.
    Only thing is... how do i start the program on a mac? I can't find a shortcut or the application itself... All the folders still exist.
    Is it just me?

  28. ESKAY

    February 24, 2017

    Hi, Great Tool.
    But stuck on updating php.ini file; one available at in php folder not working

  29. Jason Dessington

    March 6, 2017

    It doesn't work. Setup 1 server then another and bam none of them can start. Error messages Too many redirects, name conflict. Also keeps redirecting (on a brand new differently-named installation) to old installer urls that no longer exist. Using new db doesn't help. Reinstalling doesn't help. Hosts editing causing errors. Was so looking forward to finally a decent WP manager for local dev...

    • Morgan Smith

      March 6, 2017

      Hey Jason, sounds like something is a little off. If you post your experience in the Local Community, someone can help you troubleshoot!

  30. Peter Salerno

    June 2, 2017

    Just started using Local . It seems vert smooth, I have full DB control with Sequel Pro.

    I thought it was great until I realized vi (or vim) is not installed. I would have thought that file editing would be a default feature of the tool.

    I was able to add it with:
    apt-get install vim-nox

  31. Zach Lanich

    July 12, 2017

    Any ETA for features like one click deployment of changes to Staging? Timeline we can follow?

  32. Jason Linders

    July 26, 2017


    Can I develop a site on Local and then extract the site and upload to hosting manually?

    • Morgan Smith

      July 27, 2017

      Hey Jason, you bet! If you poke around the Local Community, you'll see a few different ways users are exporting and importing sites once they're finished developing them :)

      • Rob

        August 13, 2017

        Manual export/import is great, but when is this going to be automated?

  33. getintopcpw

    October 28, 2017

    good work .

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