Should we use a staging site for our WordPress website?

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Our team has been considering creating a staging site for our WordPress website to safely test changes, but we’re not sure if it’s necessary. Should we use a staging site?


The client wants to know if it’s important to set up a staging site for their WordPress website in order to try out modifications or improvements.

Should we use a staging site for our WordPress website?

Absolutely, using a staging environment for your WordPress website is generally considered best practice and it can offer numerous benefits for your organization.

Staging sites serve as mirror or clone of your live website where you can experiment, design, develop, and test your new features without the fear of breaking something on the live site. If anything goes wrong while you’re testing out changes, the errors won’t affect your live website and create downtime or lost opportunities for users visiting your site.

Once you’ve vetted the modifications and everything appears to be working seamlessly, you can then apply those changes to the live site.

Most hosting providers do provide staging environments or at least offer the tools necessary so that they can be setup manually. Many managed WordPress hosts have dedicated tools built-in that allows creating and managing staging environments with just a click.

Keep in mind that there could be slight inconsistencies between your live and staging sites because of server-side caching on some hosting platforms which can sometimes make it hard to simulate precisely what will happen when changes are pushed live.

By using a staging site, developers gain valuable insights into what effect their code will have on a site. It is like a testing playground where developers get hands-on experience testing their code in a harmless environment. This method significantly reduces the risk of pushing something to production that is going to cause unexpected errors or problems.

So yes, using a staging site for your WordPress website is strongly recommended. It gives you a safe place where changes can be tested away from your production site which helps maintain performance and avoid potential disruption for your site’s users.

Additional reading

  • WordPress.com addresses many of the most important topics you’ll want to know. This is the de-facto guide on how to create and manage a staging website on WordPress. The guide covers creation, management, syncing, and deletion of a staging site that is an exact replica of one’s actual site, serving the purpose of testing and experimentation without any impact on the live site. The staging website also has access to all features and tools like SFTP, SSH, and phpMyAdmin found on a live site. Any change made to any of these sites doesn’t affect the other. Syncing data between these environments is possible.
  • This resource from Cloudways (an excellent WordPress hosting provider) comprehensively covers the process of setting up a WordPress staging site from different angles, providing clear step-by-step instructions for each method. It gives an introduction to staging sites, explaining their uses, advantages and importance. It also explains multiple ways to create a staging site including using a hosting provider, a plugin or manually. The guide stands out due to its thoroughness in detailing these different methods and providing specific tutorials depending on the user’s hosting provider choice.

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