How to setup local WordPress environment on Ubuntu

This article covers setting up the local WordPress development environment using Docker on Ubuntu.

For Ubuntu 20.04.1, the standard docker binaries in the repository work as needed:

sudo apt install docker-compose

For earlier versions of Ubuntu, the docker binaries included in repositories did not support the features needed for the WordPress environment.


If you run into this error, when running npm run wp-env from the Gutenberg directory:

ERROR: Couldn't connect to Docker daemon at http+docker://localhost - is it running?

If it's at a non-standard location, specify the URL with the DOCKER_HOST environment variable.

First, make sure docker is running. You can check using ps -ef | grep docker which should show something like:

/usr/bin/dockerd -H fd:// --containerd=/run/containerd/containerd.sock

If docker is not running, try to start the service using:

sudo systemctl start docker.service

If docker is running, then it is not listening how the WordPress environment is trying to communicate. Try adding the following service override file to include listening on tcp. See this Docker documentation on how to configure remote access for Docker daemon.

# /etc/systemd/system/docker.service.d/override.conf
ExecStart=/usr/bin/dockerd -H fd:// -H tcp://

Restart the service from the command-line

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl restart docker.service

After restarting the services, set the environment variable DOCKER_HOST and try starting using:

export DOCKER_HOST=tcp://
npm run wp-env start

Your environment should be setup at: http://localhost:8888/