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Create a WordPress Site with Terminus and WP-CLI

Learn how to install and use Terminus and WP-CLI to control a WordPress site on Pantheon.

This section provides information on how to create and configure a site, and initialize your environments with Terminus, which allows you to call WP-CLI remotely without using a local installation.

Before You Begin

Be sure that you:

  • Are familiar with your operating system's command line.
  • Are using a Unix-based system (Linux or Mac OS X). Windows commands may vary slightly.
  • Have already created a Pantheon account. Pantheon accounts are always free for development.

Install and Authenticate Terminus

Terminus provides advanced interaction with the platform and allows you to run WP-CLI commands remotely. Terminus allows you to automate parts of your workflow by combining multiple operations. Refer to the Terminus Guide for more information.

  1. Install Terminus within the $HOME/terminus directory:

    mkdir $HOME/terminus
    cd $HOME/terminus
    curl -O && php installer.phar install
  2. Go to your Personal Settings, select Machine Tokens, then Generate a Machine Token.

  3. Use the Machine token to authenticate Terminus:

    terminus auth:login --machine-token=‹machine-token›
  4. Verify your session after the installation is complete:

    terminus site:list

    The installation and authentication were successful if you can see your Pantheon sites.

Create Your Site and Initialize Environments


The next sections use the example variables tessa-site-wp and "Terminus Demo Site" as the site name and label. Make sure you replace each instance, as well as other variables like the site URL and user/password combinations, with your own values.

  1. Create a new WordPress site on Pantheon:

    terminus site:create tessa-site-wp "Terminus Demo Site" WordPress
    • Add the --org option to the command above and pass the Workspace name, label, or ID if you want to associate this site with an Workspace.

    • Use the site:org:add command to associate an existing site with an Workspace.

  2. Open your new Site Dashboard in a browser:

    terminus dashboard:view tessa-site-wp

    Keep this window open to see the changes you are making in Terminus appear almost immediately in your Site Dashboard.

  3. Retrieve the platform domain for the Dev environment:

    terminus env:info --field=domain

    You'll need this information to fill out the --url option in the next step.

  4. Use the WP-CLI core install command to install WordPress on the Dev environment:

    terminus wp -- core install --url= --title="Terminus Demo Site" --admin_user=admin --admin_password=changemelater --admin_email=[email protected]

    As a reminder, WP-CLI is the command line utility for WordPress itself. Terminus is simply passing through the WP-CLI commands to the site on Pantheon. Run the command below to get a full list of WP-CLI commands:

    terminus wp -- help

    The -- signifies the end of the Terminus options, anything after -- is passed straight to WP-CLI.

  5. Create the Test environment:

    terminus env:deploy tessa-site-wp.test --updatedb --note="Initialize the Test environment"
  6. Create the Live environment:

    terminus env:deploy  --updatedb --note="Initialize the Live environment"

Export the Site Name as a Variable

  1. Export your site name as a variable to avoid the need to copy/paste the remainder of your commands:

    export TERMINUS_SITE=tessa-site-wp

    This sets an environment variable named $TERMINUS_SITE with the value tessa-site-wp. Anytime you use the variable name it's replaced in the executed command with the variable value.

  2. Echo your variable to test that it works correctly:


    You can now copy and paste the remainder of these commands without replacing the site name now that the commands use the $TERMINUS_SITE variable.

  3. Run the command below to get the connection information for the Dev environment:

    terminus connection:info $

Using Terminus and WP-CLI

Terminus provides the power to manage most aspects of your Pantheon sites. Tools such as WP-CLI (and Drush for Drupal) give you the power to manage the inner workings of your WordPress-powered site. Now you're ready to take the Sandbox site you've setup and explore on your own to see what else is possible.

More Resources