TJ Kelly

Jetpack Development Mode Not Working

WordPress Jetpack development mode not working? You’ve tried Jetpack’s JETPACK_DEV_DEBUG parameter but still can’t activate some modules while working offline or developing locally? Me either.

You’re not alone. It turns out that this is more a feature than a bug. Or maybe it’s more of a known issue than a bug. I misunderstood some of Jetpack’s documentation and I suspect you may have too.

Their documentation

Here’s what their announcement says about Jetpack’s development mode (the emphasis is mine).

Of note is the new Development Mode in Jetpack. With this, features that do not require a connection to servers can be activated on a localhost WordPress installation for testing.

The key phrase there is that this mode only enables certain modules. Most of Jetpack’s modules require a connection to WordPress’ servers. Local or offline development doesn’t make that connection, so those modules are still off limits.

WordPress Jetpack modules local development offline.

Which modules work offline?

This is the information I wish Jetpack/WordPress had made clear up front. So hopefully this saves someone the headache. Here are the lists.

[column width=”eight” place=”first” ]

Don’t work offline

  • Stats
  • Publicize
  • Notifications
  • Jetpack Comments
  • Subscriptions
  • Likes
  • Post by Email
  • Related Posts
  • Spelling and Grammar
  • VaultPress
  • Widget Visibility
  • Tiled Galleries
  • Shortlinks
  • Google+ Profile
  • Shortcode Embeds
  • Extra Sidebar Widgets
  • Infinite Scroll
  • Photon
  • Jetpack Single Sign On
  • Monitor
  • Enhanced Distribution
  • VideoPress
[/column] [column width=”eight” place=”first” ]

Work offline

  • Carousel
  • Sharing
  • Gravatar Hovercards
  • Omnisearch
  • Contact Form
  • Custom CSS
  • Mobile Theme
  • Markdown
  • Beautiful Math

I submitted several support requests on this topic, one at and another at In both cases, the support team was responsive and helpful. I just wish they had better news to share!

My request/suggestion

A reqgestion, if you will. I wish Jetpack could find some way to enable a offline-mode for each of these modules. I just want to see the markup each module outputs so I can style it effectively. I don’t need to submit a comment or put any of the modules through heavy use. I just need to work them into my theme!

I’m sure the Jetpack crew would tell me that I don’t have to worry about that—they’ve styled them for me already. No way. I have a well-documented history of removing default Jetpack CSS and replacing it with my own. And this being WordPress, arguably the most user-friendly publishing platform on the web, you’d think that the Jetpack team would extend that user-friendliness to developers too.

Also, why do modules like Widget Visibility, Google+ Profile, Extra Sidebar Widgets, and Related Posts need to phone home in the first place?

5 thoughts on “Jetpack Development Mode Not Working

  1. Itamar Ostricher

    just discovered this development mode thingie.
    luckily, I just wanted to enable the Markdown module on the local dev installation, which is supposedly supported.
    sadly though, it says it’s enabled, but Markdown is not rendered.
    any ideas?

    by the way, off topic, but what commenting system do you use here? it looks nice.

    1. TJ Kelly

      Thanks for your comment, Itamar. I’ve never used markdown, so I’m afraid I can’t help there. I’m using Jetpack for comments. Very smooth!

  2. Mark Stockley

    I think the whole Jetpack approach is awful. Sure, there are features where connecting to the mothership is the only way you could possibly do something but infinite scrolling? C’mon. I see what’s in it for Automattic but not for me.

    Meanwhile is developing an unhealthy dependency on Jetpack that’s far ahead of the documentation. The WordPress Codex is excellent and that should be the standard for things that Automattic turn into dependencies IMO.


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