Why You Need a WordPress Staging Site (And How to Create One) –

Why You Need a WordPress Staging Site (And How to Create One) - ManageWP

WordPress works very well out of the box, yet you’ll almost want to make custom changes to your site. However, experimenting with plugins and code can be risky. One mistake and your website may go offline, or in the worst-case scenario, end up broken beyond your ability to fix it.

That’s where staging sites come in handy. With this private copy of your website, you can test out your intended changes, try out new designs, and troubleshoot errors in safety. What’s more, visitors on your live site won’t be able to see your work in progress, which might otherwise present an unprofessional appearance.

In this article, we’ll look at precisely what a staging site is, how it works, and why you might need one. Let’s get to it!

What a staging site is

A staging site, also known as a testing site, development site, sandbox, or staging environment, is a duplicate of your live WordPress-powered website. It’s kept private from visitors, so only you and approved users are able to access it.

Having a copy of your website is invaluable as a testing ground for development purposes. We’ll touch more on its uses shortly, but they can range from testing how a new theme might look to trying out some custom code that adds brand-new functionality.

While the files and database are identical to your primary website, any changes you make won’t affect that website until you choose to ‘push them live’. This makes it a completely safe area for testing and troubleshooting, and one that won’t negatively affect your audience or customers.

How staging sites work

Now that you know what a staging site is in a general sense, you might be wondering exactly how it works. A staging site is almost always created as a ‘subdomain’ of your site’s primary domain. For example, your staging site might be located at subdomain.mainwebsite.com.

While the staging area duplicates the primary website, the files and database will be stored in the subdomain folder. It’s kept separate, so that any changes you make will not impact the functionality or appearance of the main website.

Once you are satisfied with how your staging site looks and runs, you can push your changes to the live website. This means that the files and database currently located on the subdomain will replace the ones on your primary domain. There are two ways of doing this: ‘simple push’ and ‘advanced push’.

Simple push means that the entire live site is written over with the contents of the staging site. In contrast, advanced push means selecting which aspects of your staging site you want to make live. That way, you won’t overwrite any new content that’s been added to your primary domain since the staging site was created, such as ecommerce data or news posts.

It’s also worth noting that so far, we’ve been talking about staging sites that are hosted online. These are typically created via your website’s hosting provider. However, you can also create offline ‘local’

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This article was written by Will Morris and originally published on ManageWP.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the product, We may receive an affiliate commission.

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