Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Work locally, update remotely

4th December 2008

Here’s a trick that might have its uses: using a local WordPress instance to update your online blog (yes, there are plenty of applications that promise to edit your online blog but these need file permissions to the likes of xmlrpc.php to be opened up). Along with the right database access credentials and the ability to log in remotely, adding the following two lines to wp-config.php does the trick:

define('WP_SITEURL', 'http://localhost/blog');

define('WP_HOME', 'http://localhost/blog');

These two constants override what is in the database and allow to update the online database from your own PC using WordPress running on a local web server (Apache or otherwise). One thing to remember here is that both online and offline directory structures are similar. For example, if your online WordPress files are in blog in the root of the online web server file system (typically htdocs for Linux), then they need to be contained in the same directory in the root of the offline server too. Otherwise, things could get confusing and perhaps messy. Another thing to consider is that you are modifying your online blog so the usual rules about care and attention apply, particularly with respect to using the same version of WordPress both locally and remotely. This is especially a concern if you, like me, run development versions of WordPress to see if there are any upheavals ahead of us like the overhaul that is coming in with WordPress 2.7.

An alternative use of this same trick is to keep a local copy of your online database in case of any problems while using a local WordPress instance to work with it. I used to have to edit the database backup directly (on my main Ubuntu system), first with GEdit but then using a sed command like the following:

sed -e s/www\.onlinewebsite\.com/localhost/g backup.sql > backup_l.sql

The -e switch uses regular expression substitution that follows it to edit the input with the output being directed to a new file. It’s slicker than the interactive GEdit route but has been made redundant by defining constants for a local WordPress installation as described above.

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