Here's the situation I have...
I am working on 3 small websites (one is a photography showcasing site for a family member, one is a blog, and one is a custom CMS I am working on to gain experience in PHP)
I am coding all 3 sites rite now using dreamweaver and uploading the files directly to the (remote, CentOS) production server. There is no development server.
As my CMS is getting more and more involved, I realized Dreamweaver isn't going to cut it as far as debugging. Using an IDE would probably make my coding endevour much easier. I downloaded netbeans PHP and began experimenting with its XDEBUG features. I installed XDEBUG on the remote server and configured it so it connects to my computer. Now, my fear is that with XDEBUG open and running on the production server, it will slow down performance and make it more vulnerable.
I am developing everything on a windows 7 machine in the same home network (its self-hosted). I was planning on installing XAMPP on my windows machine, but I realized that having a development server on a different operating system would not truly help me locate and debug all the problems.
Would it be better for me, a 15 year old web guru, to keep using my production server with XDEBUG, using my windows localhost to debug and upload working projects to the production server, or to use a virtual host on my windows computer (through VMware, VirtualBox, etc) and set up CentOS through that. (If that is the solution, how do I transfer the files back and forth. Will I have to use netbeans for linux? How do I do that if this is the answer?)