For years, web developers have been creating the necessary html files on their local computers and once design and content have been finalised, uploading to their website. This is an efficient way of working but is not possible with php based sites such as WordPress or MRBS that reply on a database that creates the html files, ‘on the fly’.
One little program I have found indispensable is Xampp. This sets up a web-server with php and MySQL facilities on your local machine allowing development and fine tuning of your website without the hassle of constantly uploading files via FTP. Once the site is ready with a little tweak and an upload, you can make it live with an upload.
I’m currently running this from a USB stick which means I can use this from any computer, take it into meetings and have access to my latest developments even when no Internet connection is available.
The developers of Xampp openly admit there are security issues if you try and use this to make your site publicly available but it not intended for that. They have kindly made versions available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Solaris operating systems. The only little problem I have found with this is when also having skype installed, there is a conflict but a work around can be found here.