My Web Development Workflow Setup

My sweet web dev setup with Windows 11 and WSL2, giving me Debian at my fingertips from the windows taskbar.
Nice monitors are very important

I like working in Windows so I have access to the Adobe suite but for anything to do with web services I run on Linux. I've tried running Linux as my main desktop every few years since the late 1990's but always revert back to Windows after a few months.

Windows 11

Some nice big monitors (4k works well in Windows now with scaling on) and PowerToys with FancyZones to split the monitors up into sections. I used to use AquaSnap but it was paid. Essential software for me is Chrome, Whatsapp, Office 365, VS Code, OneDrive, OneNote, Teams, Putty, WinSCP and the Adobe Suite.

Built in copy-paste history is also nice now with Win+V.

4k screen with 4 sections using FancyZones
4k in Window 10 & 11 is very usable now with scaling turned on.


I think Microsoft really cracked it with WSL2 for web developers. It's the perfect way to run a LAMP stack without having to install loads of linux services and tools on Windows (Gitbash is great but still hacky)

Oh My, all the "micro$soft" haters on The Register can suck it. Microsoft gave me the linux distribution I didn't know I wanted but I needed.

I always ended up giving up on Linux as a everyday desktop because of the need for Adobe and other software, and just lived in Putty terminals to my web servers. Call it whatever you want, I now have Debian fully integrated into Windows 11 and have the best of everything.

  • I have a local LEMP stack installed in Debian, with all the redirects to browse from within Windows handled automatically.
  • Fileshares magically appear in Windows.
  • I can open a proper Debian terminal from my Windows taskbar.
  • I can open Visual Code in Windows and edit a project living in the WSL instance.

Thank you Microsoft, I love WSL.

Installing WSL2 is a single command and I then change the default distro from Ubuntu to Debian, as that is mainly what I use on my webservers. It takes no effort at all to end up with a ssh terminal into a local Debian install.

Windows Subsystem for Linux running Debian

File sharing and firewalls are configured out of the box  - all your Windows drives are automatically mounted in /mnt for you and the Linux filesystem is mounted in Windows.

Drives are automatically shared between the host Windows and guest Linux
Windows explorer browsing the Debian guest

Browsing to http://localhost in windows automatically connects to a web server running on WSL.

Even if you don't need a linux install I still think WSL is easier to setup and use as a simple Putty replacement to SSH into other machines. The terminal is nicer :)

Visual Studio Code

Microsoft really smashed it with this one, it makes notepad++ feel like notepad.

I install the Remote Development pack that enables the WSL features in VS Code.

VS Code remote dev module

Then you can run code . from a folder in WSL and it will open VS Code in Windows with all the shims setup to work "remotely" from WSL. If you open a terminal in VS Code it's the WSL terminal (not Powershell) which is pretty cool.

You can then split the terminal and have remote and live SSH connections side by side.

VS Code running remotely from WSL
VS Code running remotely from WSL. The right terminal is connection to a gcloud instance.


No explanation is needed here really. And another free Microsoft service!



I used FlashFXP for years but moved over to WinSCP because you can easily create bat scripts in windows to automate FTP actions with it. WinSCP is still missing the server to server transfer that FlashFXP can do.

I still install Putty and create the SSH connections in it to my webservers. This means you can easily import the sites as SFTP into WinSCP. I also use the putty keygen in windows.

I find it easier to browse around using FTP than SSH when I am looking for files.

WinSCP is my favourite FTP client
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