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WordPress plugin or theme development with Docker Compose

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This is an example repo for how one might wire up Docker Compose for local plugin or theme development. It provides WordPress, MariaDB, WP-CLI, PHPUnit, and the WordPress unit testing suite.

Set up

  1. Clone or fork this repo.

  2. Put your plugin or theme code in the root of this folder and adjust the services/wordpress/volumes section of docker-compose.yml so that it syncs to the appropriate directory.

  3. Add project.test to /etc/hosts, e.g.: localhost project.test

Start environment

docker-compose up -d

The first time you run this, it will take a few minutes to pull in the required images. On subsequent runs, it should take less than 30 seconds before you can connect to WordPress in your browser. (Most of this time is waiting for MariaDB to be ready to accept connections.)

The -d flag backgrounds the process and log output. To view logs for a specific container, use docker-compose logs [container], e.g.:

docker-compose logs wordpress

Please refer to the Docker Compose documentation for more information about starting, stopping, and interacting with your environment.

Install WordPress

docker-compose run --rm wp-cli install-wp

Log in to http://project.test/wp-admin/ with wordpress / wordpress.

Alternatively, you can navigate to http://project.test/ and manually perform the famous five-second install.


You will probably want to [create a shell alias][3] for this:

docker-compose run --rm wp-cli wp [command]

Running tests (PHPUnit)

The tests in this example repo were generated with WP-CLI, e.g.:

docker-compose run --rm wp-cli wp scaffold plugin-tests my-plugin

This is not required, however, and you can bring your own test scaffold. The important thing is that you provide a script to install your test dependencies, and that these dependencies are staged in /tmp.

The testing environment is provided by a separate Docker Compose file (docker-compose.phpunit.yml) to ensure isolation. To use it, you must first start it, then manually run your test installation script. These commands work for this example repo, but may not work for you if you use a different test scaffold.

Note that, in the PHPUnit container, your code is mapped to /app.

docker-compose -f docker-compose.yml -f docker-compose.phpunit.yml up -d
docker-compose -f docker-compose.phpunit.yml run --rm wordpress_phpunit /app/bin/ wordpress_test root '' mysql_phpunit latest true

Now you are ready to run PHPUnit. Repeat this command as necessary:

docker-compose -f docker-compose.phpunit.yml run --rm wordpress_phpunit phpunit

Changing the hostname

You can change the hostname from the default project.test by adding a .env file at the project root and defining the DOCKER_DEV_DOMAIN environment variable:


Seed MariaDB database

The mariadb image supports initializing the database with content by mounting a volume to the database container at /docker-entrypoint-initdb.d. See the MariaDB Docker docs for more information.


If your stack is not responding, the most likely cause is that a container has stopped or failed to start. Check to see if all of the containers are "Up":

docker-compose ps

If not, inspect the logs for that container, e.g.:

docker-compose logs wordpress

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