Add Git-Based Version Control to Your SFTP Workflow

Beginners guide on how to use the WordPress Dashboard, an SFTP client, and your text editor of choice to work quickly, safely and easily on Pantheon's Git-based platform.

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This guide demonstrates how SFTP users can build WordPress sites on Pantheon's Git-based platform. Don't use Git? No problem -- we'll show you how easy it is to use by demonstrating workflows for various development tasks, such as adding a new theme or plugin.

Dive into Git with WordPress on Pantheon, keeping your favorite SFTP client and text editor without compromising use of the WordPress Dashboard or adding a lot of complexity to your workflow. But first, why should you use Git, when SFTP and a text editor has been working fine? Here are a few reasons why:

Before You Begin

Make sure that you have a:

Demonstrations throughout this guide use Atom and Transmit. For fastest development, choose an SFTP client that uploads on save, and allows you to authenticate with an SSH key. Creating a key takes a few minutes and handles the server authentication for you. Alternatively, you can use your Pantheon account password to sign in, when prompted.

Visit our guide to Configure Visual Studio Code to edit and sync code from within the text editor.

Cloud Development Environment

Ok, yay, let’s do this. Let me fire up and configure my local development environment, give me one to three hours. -- You, probably.

Hold it right there. Sites on Pantheon each include Dev, Test, and Live environments -- and as the name implies, Dev is already set up for development purposes! Rather than managing and maintaining a LAMP stack on your local computer, you can do your work in the cloud, directly on our platform, with zero setup and no ongoing responsibilities.

Using the Dev environment means you can:

  • Build in a known state with fewer surprises, since Dev is the same as Live.
  • Share work in progress with a web accessible URL (e.g.,
  • Stop Cowboy Coding