Tired of Vagrant? Try Laravel Valet

I’ve used Vagrant for more than a year now and although it was crashing from time to time, I always managed to get it working again. Not last week. I don’t what happened, but enough was enough – I decided to pull the plug and look for a better alternative.

I thought about switching back to MAMP, as my needs are pretty straightforward. At the same time, I was also on the lookout for something a bit more modern, something that would allow me to use a custom *.dev URL like Vagrant and share my local site to the world without a headache. That’s when I found Laravel Valet (or Valet for short).

Valet is a Laravel development environment for Mac minimalists. No Vagrant, No Apache, No Nginx, No `/etc/hosts file`. You can even share your sites publicly using local tunnels.

It’s so easy I wish I’d switched to it a few months ago when it was initially released.

Don’t get me wrong – Vagrant is still great for big development environments. But for my own simple WordPress needs, Valet is the perfect tool which I would highly recommend to fellow WordPress developers.

How to install?

The official documentation and the article written by Tom McFarlin on TutsPlus are both really clear, but I’ll share my own process in case you’d like to try it.

1. Install Homebrew

Install Homebrew:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

2. Update Homebrew

Once installed, make sure you have the latest version of all the packages using brew update.

If you get an error, you probably need to update your .bash_profile. From the terminal, enter sudo nano .bash_profile. It will open the file. Add the following line to it:

export PATH="/usr/local/bin:$PATH"

Save and close (ctrl+X, Y then enter). Let’s make sure we reload the new file now with source .bash_profile in the terminal.

3. Install PHP 7.0 and MariaDB

We need to install PHP 7.0 using Homebrew:

brew install homebrew/php/php70

We also need to install a database:

brew install mariadb

4. Install Composer

Valet requires Composer to work. If you don’t have it installed on your computer, run this in your terminal to get the latest Composer version:

php -r "copy('https://getcomposer.org/installer', 'composer-setup.php');"
php -r "if (hash_file('SHA384', 'composer-setup.php') === 'aa96f26c2b67226a324c27919f1eb05f21c248b987e6195cad9690d5c1ff713d53020a02ac8c217dbf90a7eacc9d141d') { echo 'Installer verified'; } else { echo 'Installer corrupt'; unlink('composer-setup.php'); } echo PHP_EOL;"
php composer-setup.php
php -r "unlink('composer-setup.php');"
mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer

5. Install Valet

First of all, we need to make sure we can install Valet.

From the terminal, enter sudo nano .bash_profile. Once the file is open, add a new line to it:

export PATH="$PATH:$HOME/.composer/vendor/bin"

Save and close the file (ctrl+X, Y then enter). Reload the new file with source .bash_profile in the terminal.

Now we can continue our installation:

composer global require laravel/valet

Once it’s done you will see a success message like so: Writing lock file. Generating autoload files.

Now we need to finalize the installation of Valet:

valet install

After a moment you should get a Valet installed successfully! message.

That’s it. Valet is installed and is running.

6. Using Valet

To start using Valet, you need to “park” it. Go to a folder containing all you sites, e.g. cd /Sites/, and simply type valet park. From now on, all the folders inside this Site folder will get a .dev URL. So for example, a folder named MyAwesomeWordPressSite will be accessible from http://myawesomewordpresssite.dev.

I downloaded the latest version of WordPress and created a new folder called… WordPress. So when I type wordpress.dev in my browser I’m being redirected to my WordPress site. On the first launch, you will have to install WordPress the same way you’d do on a server.

WordPress: The first launch

First of all, we need to start the MySQL server so in your terminal just enter mysql.server start. This step is pretty much the equivalent of vagrant up. You will have to do it every time you want to work. To turn it off just enter mysql.server stop (just like vagrant halt).

Then you will need a MySQL database.

In the terminal, run: (whatever is the name of our database here)

mysql -uroot

If you prefer a GUI, I would recommend Sequel Pro to create and manage my databases. It’s free and it has a simple interface.

Name: Valet (can be anything)
Username: root
Password: leave it blank!

Sequel Pro

Now we can proceed with the WordPress installation.

WordPress install

If you run into an error like Fatal error: Uncaught phpmailerException: Invalid address: wordpress@ we need to update the WordPress driver. In the terminal run:

sudo nano ~/.composer/vendor/laravel/valet/cli/drivers/WordPressValetDriver.php

Add within frontControllerPath:

$_SERVER['SERVER_NAME'] = $siteName.'.dev';

Save and close the file (ctrl+X, Y then enter).

And that’s it… You’re done.

WordPress Trunk

You can also have a Trunk version of WordPress. Just create a new folder (still in Sites), e.g. WordPress-Trunk, and checkout WordPress.

cd /Sites/WordPress-Trunk
svn co https://develop.svn.wordpress.org/trunk/src/ .

So every time you want to update this install all you need to do is:

cd /Sites/WordPress-Trunk/src/
svn up

If you now go to http://wordpress-trunk.dev, you will see an error 404 because Valet doesn’t understand it’s a WordPress site. No worries. You just need to link the src folder to Valet (where the actual WordPress site is).

cd /Sites/WordPress-Trunk/src/
valet link

Now you can access Trunk via http://src.dev. As it’s not ideal as a URL let’s rename it to http://trunk-wordpress.dev:

mv ~/.valet/Sites/src ~/.valet/Sites/trunk-wordpress

Et voilà! You can access you freshly downloaded WordPress Trunk install in your browser with http://trunk-wordpress.dev.