Lando (Docker + Drupal/WordPress)

I’ve been using Kalabox quite heavily this past year, to the point where I haven’t even set up the default *AMP stack on my new(ish) MacBook Pro. The folks behind Kalabox, Tandem, clued me in to their latest iteration on that Docker-based VM setup, Lando. So far it’s all-CLI, no GUI. That’s not a dealbreaker for me—I pretty much use the CLI for all Kalabox operations except for the initial instantiation.

I took some time to install and run Lando through my typical usage, which is to spin up a local copy of a Pantheon site (Lando can do much more than that, but pretty much all my Drupal/WordPress dev is on Pantheon these days). After installing Lando, you can get your site running in four steps:

  • Create the directory for your site
  • Run lando init pantheon and follow the prompts to choose the site you want. (You’ll need a Pantheon machine token for this step.)
  • After the site pulls down the codebase, run lando start.
  • Grab the database and files: lando pull --code=none --database=live --files=live. This was a bit confusing to me at first, I thought that this would happen as part of the lando init process. Also, you need to run lando start before you try to do a pull.

Downsides? If you run anything that uses localhost, Docker takes it over, so any built-in Apache/MySQL/PHP vhosts will be inaccessible until you quit Docker.


I’ve written about debugging in Kalabox, and setup in Lando is a bit more straightforward in you’re using VS Code:

  • Edit lando.yml and add xdebug: true to the recipe, then run lando rebuild. This PHP section in the Lando docs was helpful.
  • In VS Code’s PHP debugger launch.json file, add the localSourceRoot and serverSourceRoot (where landotest is the name of my site directory):

    "configurations": [
    "name": "Listen for XDebug",
    "type": "php",
    "request": "launch",
    "port": 9000,
    "localSourceRoot": "/Users/markllobrera/Lando/landotest",
    "serverSourceRoot": "/app/"