A quick tutorial on using Netbeans IDE to build live WordPress sites (and others) using FTP connection with live update of code changes. It’s not quite as fancy as the Webstorm SSL version, but it is FREE, easy to set up and just as useful.

I have been used to working on Linux with Virtual Hosts and transferring files to edit on live site via FTP so yesterday I decided to set up Netbeans PHP IDE on a live server and build everything in real time to make things easier and quicker.

I did it in about 40 minutes I and wrote a small cron plugin to test it. Here’s what I did.

This presumes you’ve already installed a WordPress site on you remote server.

I downloaded the Linux 64bit PHP version from Netbeans Web site and did the usual install for Linux after making it executable.

It installed fine, so I booted it up.

To use a project also at this point create an empty folder in the NetbeansProjects directory in your Home environment to down load the project in to. I called mine PHD because I was building the phdpro.uk website.

Now Netbeans is not so easy to set up for SSH, (if it can be done at all, although there are docs for Git/Subversion SSH etc) but comes out of the box with FTP/SFTP.

So it was a simple procedure to do this, by click File > Create Project and selecting “Remote PHP Project”.

This brings up a dialogue box where you just give it a name, and adjust the file paths for the local and remote locations. The remote is probably going to be just / or /public_html in most cases and the local is the empty folder you just created for the project. Also you can select the PHP versions here.

Don’t forget to adjust those paths or you will get an error.

Then the FTP credentials are put in and away you go, you can test it before running.

It will connect to your remote directory and highlight the files.

Deselect the ones you don’t need. for WordPress you would typically want the wp-admin, wp-content and wp-includes directories and all the root WordPress files.

Hit the go button and it will download the whole project in to your predetermined folder.

It does take a while (that’s what took most of the time) but you get there in the end. (Not good for quick tests really, only proper projects that you are actually going to build, fortunately I have one.)

Eventually you get a view of all the files in the installation in the Netbeans IDE.

Right clicking the “Source Files” and selecting “syncronize” brings on another box and an action to syncronize everything on the remote location with your local files. It takes a few minutes, then its all done. You now have it all set up. It will probably show the WP installation main index.php file in the view window, so we do a quick test to see its all working.

Add a bit to the comment at top of the file and hit ctrl -s

It saved and uploaded the file in .12 seconds.

So now lets create a quick plugin to test it properly.

In the wp-content/plugins folder (local) create the folder “wp-cron-test’ and the file ‘wp-cron-test.php’.

Open the PHP file for editing and insert the following after removing Netbean’s default content.

‘; print_r( _get_cron_array() ); echo ‘


Into an easy to call function like:

function bl_print_tasks() {

echo ‘

'; print_r( _get_cron_array() ); echo '



Save the file and refresh the browser, now you should get something like below.

Which shows some of the cron jobs currently scheduled.

So that’s it really, a quick set up of Netbeans remote FTP WP project for live editing and updating of any WP project, and made a quick plugin using it to test and output the current cron tasks which are scheduled.

Also, it the plugin is available in an expanded version with more filters etc, from the original author at

So the above should be fine for any PHP project, live upload as soon as file is saved.

Ill still keep the Virtual Hosts for other things, but I just switched to live server building now, its quicker.

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Author: Paul Anthony McGowan

Web Technology & Linux Enthusiast, Javascript Afficiado, General Observer Of World Corruption. Builder Of A Variety Of Web Properties And Campaigner Against Serious Government Criminality. Founder of Vorteasy

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