It's generally a pretty good idea to have a place to test new extensions, themes, and whatever other changes you can think of. If something is going to break make it break on your computer, not your customer's. The best part is that it's actually easier to create a local test store in Magento than you think.
Setting up a local test environment requires the following steps:
- Depending on your operating system, you need to first add a host entry so that the domain "magento.local" points to the IP address "127.0.0.1". Also, make sure that you have your Magento installation running on port 80. This step will allow you to access your local installation by going to http://magento.local.
- Log into your Magento admin and go to System > Configuration > Web > Base URL and change whatever domain you have entered to "http://magento.local/".
- Make sure you refresh your cache in both Magento and your browser and you should be good to go!