PHP Contact Form

I read the toturial on the site on a php contact form and understand it for the most part. My question is does the website have to be live on the server or can I test it from my desktop (I do all my html coding by hand in notepad)? The reason I ask is because I like to make sure my entire site is complete before I upload it to the sever and start paying for hosting fess. Any help is greatly appriciated. Feel free to email me responses at [email protected] or post them here.