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WordPress GitHub Integration: The Best Code Collaboration Bliss

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GitHub and WordPress are two of the most popular tools used by developers and website builders. While WordPress is primarily a content management system (CMS) for building websites and web applications, GitHub is a platform for hosting and collaborating on code.

Integrating the two tools allows you to leverage the benefits of both – easy website building with WordPress and advanced version control and collaboration with GitHub. In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore what WordPress and GitHub are, why integrating them is beneficial, and provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to connect the two.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is an open-source CMS written in PHP. Since its launch in 2003, it has grown to become the most popular CMS in the world, now powering over 40% of all websites.

Some key features and benefits of WordPress include:

  • Easy to use – WordPress has an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that allows you to build professional websites without coding.

  • Extendable – There are over 55,000 free WordPress plugins and thousands of themes available to add advanced functionality and customize the design of your site.

  • SEO-friendly – WordPress sites are optimized for search engines out of the box with built-in SEO best practices.

  • Mobile responsive – With responsive themes, your WordPress site will adapt and look great on any device – mobile, tablet, or desktop.

  • Active community – As the most popular CMS, WordPress has a huge community of users and developers who provide support and build plugins and themes.

Overall, WordPress provides an easy way for anyone to build and manage a website without needing web development skills. But on its own, it lacks advanced version control and collaboration features needed for development teams.

What is GitHub?

GitHub is the world‘s largest host of source code and a platform built around the Git version control system. It provides developers with tools to host, review, and manage code for software development projects.

Here are some of GitHub‘s key features:

  • Git-based version control – GitHub builds on Git, allowing you to track changes to your code over time and revert back when needed.

  • Source code hosting – Repositories on GitHub provide unlimited storage for your project‘s code.

  • Collaboration – GitHub facilitates collaboration by allowing teams to work together on code within shared repositories.

  • Project management – GitHub provides project management tools like issue tracking, wikis, and task management to plan and organize your work.

  • Visibility – By hosting your code on GitHub, you can showcase your work to the developer community.

Overall, GitHub brings essential version control, collaboration, and project management capabilities to software development teams. Combining it with WordPress helps bridge the gap between website builders and developers.

Why Integrate WordPress and GitHub?

Integrating your WordPress site with GitHub provides some major benefits:

1. Advanced Version Control

The core benefit of integrating WordPress with GitHub is gaining access to Git‘s advanced version control features for your WordPress site‘s codebase.

With GitHub, every change made to your site‘s files gets tracked incrementally. You can view your project‘s history, see exactly what changed between versions, and even revert back to previous versions when needed.

For WordPress development, this allows you to experiment boldly without worrying about breaking things permanently.

2. Better Collaboration

GitHub streamlines team collaboration through features like pull requests, code review, and issue tracking.

Developers can work concurrently on features in separate branches then open pull requests to merge their work into the main branch. Team leads can review code changes before approving them. You can also track tasks and bugs.

For agencies or companies building WordPress sites, GitHub supercharges collaboration between developers, designers, and teammates.

3. Increased Productivity

The version control and collaboration features enabled by GitHub integration lead to increased productivity for WordPress developers and teams.

Developers can focus on writing code rather than manually managing it. Automated testing can be implemented to reduce bugs. Team members can work in parallel, reducing bottlenecks.

4. Enhanced Security

Integrating WordPress with GitHub improves security by allowing you to review code changes before deploying them.

If a plugin or theme contains malware, you‘ll spot it during code review rather than learning about it the hard way after launch. Keeping your production site separate from development also enhances security.

5. Continuous Deployment

For advanced WordPress teams, integrating GitHub enables continuous deployment workflows.

Once code is committed to the repository, automated builds and testing can be triggered before changes get deployed to staging or production servers automatically.

This accelerates the development cycle and reduces errors caused by manual deployments.

How to Integrate WordPress with GitHub

Now that we‘ve covered the benefits, let‘s go through the steps to integrate WordPress with GitHub.

We‘ll cover:

  1. Setting up a local WordPress installation
  2. Creating a GitHub repository
  3. Pushing your WordPress code to GitHub
  4. Cloning the GitHub repo on new machines
  5. Making changes locally and pushing them to GitHub

Requirements

To follow along with this tutorial, you‘ll need:

  • Local WordPress installation
  • GitHub account
  • Git installed locally
  • Basic understanding of the command line and Git

1. Set up a Local WordPress Site

We‘ll start by installing WordPress locally on our machine using LocalWP.

LocalWP is a quick way to install WordPress on your computer for development. The benefit over using a live server is you can experiment without affecting a real site.

To set up a local WordPress site with LocalWP:

  1. Download and install LocalWP on your computer if you don‘t already have it.

  2. Open LocalWP and click "Add New Site" to create your first local WordPress site.

  3. Give your site a name and select your desired environment. The "Preferred" environment will work fine.

  4. Choose a username and password. This will create an admin user for logging into your site‘s dashboard.

  5. Click "Finish" to complete the installation.

Your local WordPress site is now installed and accessible at http://your-site-name.localwp.dev in your browser.

Local WordPress installation

Next we‘ll push this site to GitHub.

2. Create a GitHub Repository

Now we need to create a new GitHub repository to store our WordPress site‘s code.

  1. Log into your GitHub account and click the "+" icon to create a new repository:

Create new GitHub repo

  1. Give your repository a name like "my-wordpress-site", make it public or private, and click "Create Repository".

  2. On the next screen, leave the repository empty and click "Create README.md" so we can push our existing WordPress code to the repo.

Your empty GitHub repository is now ready to receive code.

3. Push Local WordPress Code to GitHub

With an empty GitHub repo created, we can push our local WordPress code into it.

On your local machine:

  1. Open your command line tool and navigate to the root directory of your LocalWP site.

  2. Initialize Git in this folder by running:

git init
  1. Add your GitHub repository as a remote:
git remote add origin https://github.com/YOUR_USER/YOUR_REPO.git
  1. Add and commit all files to Git:
git add .
git commit -m "Initial WordPress commit" 
  1. Finally, push your local WordPress code to GitHub:
git push -u origin main

That‘s it! Your local WordPress code is now hosted on GitHub. Refresh your GitHub repo page and you‘ll see all your WordPress files there.

4. Clone the GitHub Repo to New Machines

Now that our WordPress code is hosted on GitHub, any developer on our team can clone the repository to their local machine to start developing.

On a new computer:

  1. Install LocalWP and ensure you have Git installed.

  2. Clone your GitHub repository:

git clone https://github.com/YOUR_USER/YOUR_REPO.git
  1. This will download your full WordPress codebase onto the new machine. All plugins, themes, uploads, etc will be included.

  2. Start LocalWP and add a new site pointed to the repo folder you just cloned.

And that‘s it! You now have a full local copy of your WordPress site for development.

5. Making Changes and Pushing to GitHub

Now we can make changes to our WordPress site locally and push them to GitHub to share with the team.

For example, to edit your theme:

  1. With your local site running, modify theme templates or files like header.php

  2. In your terminal, commit changed files to Git:

git add .
git commit -m "Update website header"
  1. Push changes to GitHub:
git push
  1. Changes are now live on GitHub! Your team can pull the new code.

By repeating this edit/commit/push cycle, you can collaborate on WordPress development through GitHub.

Best Practices for WordPress GitHub Workflows

Integrating WordPress with GitHub unlocks powerful workflows for developers and teams. Here are some best practices to maximize productivity:

  • Use separate dev and production environments – Keep development isolated from your live site for stability.

  • Create a branch-based workflow – Use topic branches for new features and bug fixes merged via pull request.

  • Implement continuous integration – Automate builds and testing with tools like GitHub Actions.

  • Optimize Gitignore – Exclude generated files like uploads from version control.

  • Tag releases – Mark major versions and milestones with Git tags.

  • Document changes in commits – Use commit messages to explain the why behind code changes.

Following these practices will help you gain the most benefit from WordPress + GitHub integration.

Conclusion

Integrating WordPress with GitHub bridges the gap between easy content management and advanced version control. It enables smoother collaboration for development teams through features like pull requests, code review, issue tracking, and project management.

While the initial setup requires some technical work, once in place it accelerates the website development process. Changes to a WordPress site can be made locally, quickly shared via GitHub, then pulled down and deployed by teammates.

The end result is faster iteration, fewer bugs, and more reliable website updates. Any agency or developer working on WordPress sites should consider the benefits of GitHub integration.

This concludes our in-depth guide on integrating WordPress with GitHub. Let us know if you have any other questions!

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