How I develop locally — Laragon
When I first started developing websites, I googled for a local development setup and landed at Xampp. It was all good until my requirements changed from developing at one spot to be able to access the same development setup at multiple locations. The main difficulty I faced was setting up of virtual domains for each local site instance at each of my work stations. I was majorly working with Laravel at this moment. And, that when I found Laragon !
What is Laragon ?
Laragon is a super powerful local development setup software, which comes in as an all-in-one package providing support to popular requirements like Latest PHP, MySQL, Apache/Nginx, Node, NPM and more. Its just a one click installation and one click start.
So, why Laragon ?
I first installed Laragon as only a test setup to test the new-waters. But on that same day itself I switched over to the new setup. Here are the reasons why I did so.
#1 Simplicity of setting up
To install and setup the previous local development setup I had to download multiple software from multiple sources that include Apache server, a command line to be integrated, Git, NodeJS, NPM. But with laragon its all a one package download and install and you get all of the above in a single installation. I felt that was so easy.
Yet, the simplicity part doesn’t end there. After installing the development requirements, to start actual development process it again takes one click to install an instance of Laravel / Wordpress / Drupal and the likes. And, that just felt like icing on the cake.
#2 Virtual Domains
I don’t know how everyone does it, but i heavily rely on virtual domains to separate my local development sites and even my client works and my side projects. Setting up of virtual domains was a breeze with Laragon. All you had to do was, do nothing.
It takes care of setting up of virtual domains for each folder that you paste in the www directory of the installed server instance. `.test` is the default domain used and that was a breeze to setup.
Though an installation of XAMPP which I was using previously was taking considerably less HDD space compared to Laragon, one main problem I always had with XAMPP is the memory usage. Upon running a full day, its memory usage kept increasing and finally makes my ‘somewhat okay’ PC not-okay. Also, the time XAMPP takes to boot is really high. And, the server restarts gets me diverted to my mobile scrolling through social media streams.
With Laragon, all of these problems just vanished. It starts up with seconds of clicking the shortcut. Boots up the server and database within seconds, restarts the server within a blink (usually for creating a new virtual domain for the newly added folder) and lastly but most importantly, never goes beyond control in memory usage. In fact, it keep my dual core processor 4GB RAM side PC pretty happy with the development work. And, I am happy that I found Laragon
#4 Extra quirks
There are several extra quirks I get with the Laragon installation. To list them all,
- Ngrok.io instance built-in — Useful to share my local domain to a remote client again, in a couple of clicks. Simplicity integrated.
- Command Line — The built in command line is so options friendly and user friendly than the one I used to integrate previously. It even gets focused on VS Code’s shortcut but still you have to start in the first time.
- Git — We all use git. Laragon has it pre-installed. End of story.
- Notepad++ — This may be a personal advantage. I use Notepad++ as my secondary text editor to VS Code for opening individual files rather than projects and guess what, it comes pre-installed. Happy.
All said, I am really happy that I found Laragon and since then I have never looked back. But seeing from the the Laragon forum activity, I guess many developers are not aware such a thing exists. I have read stories of even teams shifting to using Laragon collectively. If you are like me, go give it a try and I am sure you will be happy you did. And, if you did, let me know what’s your experience was like.