How to easily create a WordPress staging site?

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We’ve been making changes directly on our live WordPress website but want to switch to safer practices. What is the easiest way to create a WordPress staging site for safer development and testing?


The client wants advice on creating a WordPress staging site where they can safely make changes before applying them to their live site.

How to easily create a WordPress staging site?

Creating a WordPress staging site is a great move towards ensuring the stability and safety of your main website during updates and changes.

A staging site is essentially a clone of your actual website where you can test changes and updates before applying them to your live site. It allows you to catch and correct errors in a safe environment, reducing downtime and maintenance problems.

There are several ways you can set up a WordPress staging environment:

1. Set Up Through a Hosting Provider: This method depends on your provider, but generally includes accessing your hosting dashboard and locating the staging environment function. For instance, in Elementor Hosting it involves cloning your live site within the ‘My Elementor’ dashboard by clicking ‘Manage this website’ and then ‘Create Staging’. Some other hosting providers offering similar functions include Bluehost, SiteGround, WP Engine, and Flywheel.

2. Using a WordPress Plugin: This involves using plugins such as WP Staging or WP Stagecoach. After installing one of these plugins, access it through the WordPress dashboard, enter the required information and start making your staging site through provided guided processes.

3. Manually: It requires creating a subdomain for the staging site through your hosting account dashboard, setting up an FTP account dedicated to the staging environment to separate changes from the live website. Copying the live site to the staging area may involve selecting options like ‘Copy Database To’ within phpMyAdmin.

Remember that each method has its advantages and disadvantages which need to be considered based on technical skill level and specific needs. These range from simplicity and convenience to control over server environment or potential privacy concerns due to third-party servers handling data.

Once you’ve tested any changes in the safe environment of your staging site, you can then copy them over to your live website. This practice provides not only peace of mind but also allows you to maintain high uptime on your live site which is crucial for businesses relying on their website’s availability.

5 Tips for Successfully Implementing a New Staging Site in WordPress

1. Choose the Best Method Suited to You: Assess whether setting up the staging site via your hosting provider, using a WordPress plugin, or manually is the best approach based on your technical skill level.

2. Back-Up Your Website: It’s critical to have a backup of your website before making any significant changes. This way, in case something goes wrong while creating a staging site, you’ll have a safe copy to revert to.

3. Keep Staging and Live Environments Separate: Make sure that search engines aren’t crawling your staging website to prevent duplicate content issues impacting your SEO.

4. Test Thoroughly: The purpose of a staging site is to let you freely experiment and make necessary changes without impacting the live site. Ensure you adequately test every aspect before pushing it to the live server.

5. Maintain Privacy: If you use a plugin for creating the staging site, remember some plug-ins store the staging site on their servers, potentially presenting privacy concerns and data protection issues, be cautious and ensure necessary measures are in place.

Remember, “a staging site is a safe environment to work on your website until all the technical issues are solved… You can do anything to your website… with no repercussions.” So take advantage of this to get creative with enhancing your WordPress site!

Additional reading

  • If you are unsure whether a staging site is necessary for your business, or how having one can benefit you, read more about the importance of WordPress staging environments.
  • This resource from WordPress.com provides a comprehensive, step-by-step guide for setting up WordPress staging sites using three different methods. It explains these methods clearly so even those with little technical experience could follow along. Plus, it covers the process across various popular hosting services like Elementor Hosting, Bluehost, SiteGround, and WP Engine. Also, unique is its inclusion of staging site creation via WordPress plugins and even provides an advanced guide on manual setup. All of this guidance lets users choose the best method fitting their specific needs and skill set.

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