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Share Your Local DesktopServer Site Online Using Ngrok

Share Your Local DesktopServer Site Online Using Ngrok

Watch the tutorial video here!

Local development is considered a standard best practice when it comes to development and design. DesktopServer has always focused on making local WordPress development an easy, pain-free process. But what happens when you’ve built your site and want others to view it but you’re not ready to put it live? One of the methods people use is to put the site on a staging site which is not publicly available. Migrating the site for staging purposes can be time consuming and disruptive to your workflow. Another method is to create a secure tunnel which is only accessible through a web browser to people who have the unique address of your local environment. Until recently, this took a bit of technical knowledge and valuable time to set up.

Enter Ngrok

Ngrok is a service that easily sets up an encrypted tunnel between a client site and your locally developed DesktopServer site. What’s a tunnel? It is essentially a secure point to point connection through the internet in which the client (your customer) can speak to a server (your local DesktopServer site).

Sounds a little complicated, doesn’t it? Luckily, as with everything we do at ServerPress, we’ve taken the brain work out of it and made it really easy to do! And best of all, Ngrok integration with DesktopServer is included with all Premium Accounts. The Ngrok service itself, allows you to share one site at a time (one active tunnel) at no charge. Pretty cool, huh?

How does it work?

Starting with DesktopServer Version 3.8.4, we have added the Ngrok integration design-time plugin. This plugin, when activated, will work on each site you create inside of DesktopServer.

1. Upon startup, make sure that the “Ngrok integration” and “DS-CLI” Plugins are enabled → Click “Next”

Ngrok integration plugin

2. With a local WordPress site created, go to your Admin Dashboard
3. Select the “Start Ngrok” link located in your Admin Toolbar

Start Ngrok in admin bar

4. At this point, two things will happen:

A. A new browser window will open giving you two links to share with your client. One link is a non-secure (http) link and the other is a an SSL (https) enabled link. Clicking on either link will take your client to your DesktopServer locally developed site

Ngrok link

B. An Ngrok terminal window will open. As long as this terminal window is open, your unique tunnel will exist. You must shut down this terminal window before creating any tunnels to additional sites. Ngrok does have pay options which allow for more tunnels.

Ngrok terminal

That’s it! Now all the visitor that you gave the link to, has to do is open a browser and visit the link to l be able to view the site created on your local system.


Like this integration? Let us know! Would you like to see more? We’re constantly building new design-time plugins for DesktopServer to make your workflow more efficient than ever. Our unique architecture will give you all the power you need to be the most effective WordPress developer you can be! Give Ngrok a try. We’re sure you’ll love it!

This DesktopServer Design Time Plugin was developed by our friend Joshua Knapp of An Honest Host. Like ServerPress, LLC, An Honest Host believes in providing quality products with highly personalized service. Thanks, Josh! If you enjoy this plugin let him know.

Joshua Knapp has been developing code for almost 20 years and began working with WordPress in 2008. He enjoys developing integration and automation solutions and is an accomplished developer turned systems administrator, comfortable with any OS or Platform.