Chromebooks are computers that have grown in popularity over the last five years. Chromebooks have made a name for themselves in the online space with cheaper web only computers.
Does WordPress work on a Chromebook? WordPress works on a Chromebook but installing WordPress locally requires either PC, Mac or Linux based operating systems. Installing WordPress locally on a Chromebook will not work as Chrome does not support the file structure for WordPress. You can however, install WordPress virtually on another machine and access that computer from a Chromebook.
Let’s look at why WordPress on a Chromebook works and how it works.
Installing WordPress local vs a host
Before we can look at WordPress on a Chromebook we need to understand why you would install WordPress locally vs a web host. In most cases, most people will never need to install locally on their own computer. Only developers are likely to need to install WordPress on a computer’s hard drive.
Local means that WordPress would sit on your computer’s hard drive and you can access the site as long as your computer is on. There are many ways to set this up but one of the easiest is Local by Flywheel. As long as you are using PC, Mac or Linux you should be able to install it.
The reason WordPress needs something local is so important is that some people want to work on their sites without having their customers see changes they are making. Staging is another name for local but is the same concept.
Local allows you to work on a website without the fear involved with working on a live site. If you break something locally, then most likely you can restore from a backup.
Web hosting is often referred to as the standard for installing WordPress. This means that rather than installing WordPress on your machine you are renting someone else’s space to install it.
There’s a bunch of reasons this is the best method but the primary is that a web host gives you a peace of mind that you can’t get from trying to host WordPress locally. They do things like maintenance and security updates that ensure that your website isn’t hacked every night.
Hackers are constantly trying to break into servers and when you are doing itself, well…you are the security team now.
Why a Chromebook is different than a PC
A Chromebook unlike a standard PC or Mac book does not have a physical hard drive or should say, the operating system uses that hard drive differently. Chrome does not install applications like Windows or Mac does which creates problems.
Chrome is primarily a web-based service that allows you to install the same applications you would find on your phone. This is the reason you can not install WordPress on a Chromebook. The system cannot hold the files.
Another reason is Chromebooks has a cloud hard drive meaning that most of your files on a Chromebook are stored in Google Drive. The reason for this is that most Chromebooks have tiny hard drives.
Some bigger sites are as big if not bigger than a Chromebooks hard drive. While that is rare and majority will probably fit on a hard drive, some huge blogs can be gigabytes of information and when you only have a hard drive that is 15 gigs then you can easily go over that limit.
Another reason it doesn’t work is that Chromebooks are meant to be web based and while WordPress is a web-based application, you can’t just install it on your Chromebook and expect it to work. There are many other applications that are server related that are used to make WordPress work.
One of my favorite Chromebooks for doing web design is the Asus Chromebook flip C434, you won’t be able to use programs like Photoshop but you can write, and do minor design using Canva.
WordPress works on Chromebook, just not installed
So now we have talked about WordPress and how they can not be installed on Chromebooks, you can in fact use WordPress on a Chromebook. If you have a web host, you can installed WordPress on, then you can use WordPress.
So anyone who signs up for mostly web hosting can use WordPress and log in since that doesn’t require any additional software to be installed on your local machine.
Making changes to an existing site using WordPress on Chrome will work just as if it was using Chrome on a PC or Laptop. All you need to access the site is a web browser and internet connection.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
So now we have explained how Chrome works, how WordPress works on Chrome let me give you some good reasons you should avoid this setup.
Chromebooks are great for vacations or on the move changes because it’s a laptop you can bring anywhere without the worry of security. Due to Chromebooks great OS, you will find no better for security reasons.
That being said, there are real reasons you will not want to go this route.
You can’t install a site locally
We said above you likely will not have to install your website locally but what if you want to? If your primary computer is a Chromebook, then you can never install WordPress.
For someone who runs a business you want to keep your options open rather than limiting them. Chromebooks are great for mobility but terrible for productivity as they are limited in productive tools. Most productive tools will need to be installed, which is not possible via Chrome.
Some of the best software for WordPress has to be installed
So we talked about Local by Flywheel which is just one type of software. What about things like SEO software such as Longtail pro or even something that tracks rankings of a website?
It’s nice to think you will find a web alternative to some of these things but that’s rarely the case. Most pieces of software need an operating system that isn’t Chrome. Chrome really is a glorified web browser that has some operating system like workings.
The best design software requires a PC/Mac.
If you plan to use Adobe products for your website, bad news, it will not work on a Chromebook. As a matter of fact perhaps this is one of the biggest things holding Chromebooks back from their counterparts.
If you need any kind of professional software that involves audio, video or graphic editing then you likely need something to be installed. Having these type of options really limit most small businesses that will be required to solve a problem that Chromebook doesn’t have an app for.
What’s the best Chromebook to by for WordPress? If you still want to try to use WordPress on a Chromebook would recommend the Asus Chromebook flip C434 which is a good solid Chromebook for the price.
What is the primary use for a Chromebook then? Web browsing is a key of all Chromebooks. They are built to browse the web so if you can’t access that application from a website then you are shooting yourself in the foot.
What would be the use of owning a Chromebook? Fast and easy access to a WordPress web host on the go. That is the extent of what you are likely to do. Things like updates, check security logs, publish a blog article is all possible with Chrome.
I hope this article has enlightened you into how Chromebooks work with WordPress. If you are interested, we have several tutorials for getting started with WordPress.