Author’s Note: Create a Staging Site is chapter four of my free ebook, “Create Your Business Website With WordPress.” Each day I will release a chapter from the book onto my site.
With WordPress installed and secured it’s almost time to build the website. I know, I know, many people are ready to start at this point in the guide. Yet, there’s one more step to do before actually developing the website: Create a staging site first.
A staging site, sometimes called a staging environment, is a separate website that allows for the following:
- Build the draft version of the website.
- Test out WordPress plugin updates.
- Redesign the website.
This all happens outside of the public’s view because the staging site is not public. It is a private site that only the owner and specific individuals have access to, like a Web Developer or the Web Designer. And this is the perfect option for those individuals to build and design the website.
I use a staging site for my Ecommerce store to test out plugin updates that could possibly break the live (or production) version of my site. This way if I discover a particular plugin does cause problems on the store, I know not to apply them to the live version of my website. Instead, I can roll back those changes (if possible) and wait for the plugin to receive a new update. Users must be careful not to break the live version of their sites because that will cost them time and money to fix.
Finally, a staging site is the best option when it comes time to redesign the website. When I changed the layout and the look of my Ecommerce store I did so outside the public’s view on a staging site. That allowed me to try different themes and ideas without affecting my live site. Thus, I continued to sell product to my customers.
This part of the step is probably the most difficult because there are many ways to create a staging site:
- Using the web hosting company’s procedure.
- Using a WordPress Automated Installation script.
- Installing a WordPress plugin.
- Creating the staging site manually.
Let’s review those options in more detail.
Some web hosting companies have a procedure in place to create a staging site. Users can either search the Help Section at their hosting company for the instructions. Or they can contact the hosting company’s technical support for assistance.
Doing a quick search through Google I came across the procedure from popular web hosting companies:
If the hosting company doesn’t have a procedure in place try the next option.
This option is available to use if the person used one of the Automated Installation scripts to install WordPress through the control panel (either Plesk or cPanel). There are various types of scripts available depending on the web hosting company. Here’s a collection of the most popular ones:
Unfortunately, if one choose to use WP Toolkit it requires a possibly paid upgrade to create a staging site. I say “possibly paid” because it depends on the control panel and the web hosting company. From my experience web hosting companies install the free version of the script. It’s up to the user to pay for the upgraded version for the additional features.
Yet, for Softaculous it doesn’t require a paid upgrade. I use Softaculous to create staging sites because I chose cPanel when I purchased my hosting packages.
If this method isn’t going to work then let’s try the next option.
Unfortunately, I don’t know much about this option because I never had to use a WordPress plugin to create a staging site. Upon researching this topic, however, I found this article from BlogVault providing the six best plugins.
Creating a staging site manually isn’t a topic for beginners so I won’t cover it in this guide.