The Path of Lower Risk: Using Git, FTP, and WordPress

Pantheon often touts version control, namely Git, as one of the tools of successful developers. However, for the many developers out there currently not using Git, I am going to go out on a limb: you probably know about it, have tried it, and are doing just fine without it, thank you very much. Your customers are happy, sites are chugging along, and the last thing you need is a cryptic command-line tool to add complexity and slow your flow.

FTP + Git + WP logos

You aren’t alone. We talk to a lot of developers about their workflow at Drupal and WordPress events worldwide, and many developers have a simple process that works, sans Git. They build the site on their local development environment (MAMP, for example), zip the whole site up, use FTP to send it to their favorite host, tinker with the CMS and server configuration, import the database, clear the caches, set up backups, and voila, on to the next client.

Wait, that actually doesn’t sound so simple, does it? In tech, sometimes it’s not the easier or better way we choose, it’s the “devil we know" that determines how we work. When we are doing billable work for clients, we choose familiar methods because they lower risk, which is a key value proposition any agency offers their client. (Pantheon has yet to find the agency that offers “wildly unexpected results” as a value-added service.) However, we change our habits when doing so adds proven value to the process.

Choosing the Right Tool for the Job

Adopting Git can be a daunting change for developers, but it certainly adds value and lowers risk. Git tracks code changes instead of simply overwriting them, and allows for multiple features to be worked on simultaneously without affecting work in progress or the live site. This can be a dream for a single developer who can more nimbly demonstrate features to clients, update plugins and fix bugs. Finally, it moves code around securely, so you don’t have to mess around in servers, and can more securely lock them down.

In short, Git makes a developer’s workspace simple and secure. And a cleaner, more secure workspace means lower risk and better results for your clients. That’s why thousands of developers have decided to adopt Git. So how does a developer—happy with their FTP-based workflow, but willing to make a change to lower risk and add value—get started in Git without getting trapped in a vortex of command line flags and parameters?

FTP+GIT: Combine Simplicity and Stability

Pantheon makes that easy. We have a platform that lets you use Git with your FTP client and favorite editor. If you are connected to the internet—as most devs are—you can even dispense with running a local environment. This means you can now eliminate the configuration and maintenance of your local dev environment and do your work directly on our platform. Our new guide Using Git with SFTP & WordPress shows you how.

The Pantheon platform was built with FTP-based workflows in mind, and you don’t have to add a single tool into the mix; just your text editor and FTP client. Check out the guide and let me know in our Slack channel if you have any questions or need a hand.

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Topics Website Technology, WordPress, WordPress Hosting