WordPress Staging Site - Enhance your Site Easily
No matter what, no matter how, and no matter where – website development is incalculably challenging, despite all the material and documentation available online. Minor adjustments and enhancements are possible but for the hard stuff, professionals are required.
But since you are not a professional, and still wish to fix small technical glitches or make some minor enhancements to the WordPress website, we are presenting an effective solution in this article. This solution is known as WordPress stagingin website. `
What is a WordPress staging site, what are the benefits of a WordPress staging site, and what are the ways to set up a WordPress staging site might be some of the questions going through your mind right now. In this article, we will walk you through the WordPress staging site and will give all the answers to your questions about the WordPress staging site.
WordPress Staging Site | An Introduction
Let’s first understand what it means by WordPress staging site through Wikipedia:
“ WordPress staging site is an environment for testing a website. It looks similar to an actual production. Primarily, staging environment helps test installations and migration scripts and various procedures before they are implemented to a production site. Most importantly, It helps to get rid of errors, and implement major and minor upgrades within a minimum time.”
So you need to understand how to set up a staging site in order to keep your WordPress site healthy, well-protected and well-functioning. We will understand how to set up a WordPress staging site and what are the quick ways through and through in this article.
So let’s start!!
Three Ways to Set up a WordPress Staging Site | Quick and Effective Solutions
1. 1st Method: Go Manual - Create a WordPress Staging Site Manually
In the first method, we would look into creating a WordPress staging site, and that too manually. Though, we’re talking about it primarily but you shouldn’t use this method right at the gate, instead you should use this method subsequently when the rest of the methods seem ill-fitting. It’s better to use this method in niche use cases.
We create WordPress staging sites manually to build components and deploy them without automating a big part of your WordPress site. As it’s a manual approach, the probability of technical glitches is always high.
Technically, you can’t sync data during installations. You can’t push selected data, files and tables during installation. Let’s say, you are about to create a manual version of your XYZ plugin. Here you could easily test a range of features and functionalities such as WordPress core update. It seems to work well in the staging stage, your struggles seem to move in the right direction. Apparently, it’s advantageous because you can clearly examine bells and whistles but you’re duplicating your work – this is a drawback.
Procedure to Create a WordPress Staging Site Manually:
You should analyze your situation and needs before creating a WordPress staging site manually. After an in-depth analysis, if manual WordPress staging site turns out to be inevitable, you have to have following things at your disposal:
- Admin access for hosting backend
- Permission of creating subdomains by a hosting provider
- Hands-on experience in SQL
Once you’ve equipped yourself with credentials and necessary skillset, backup your WordPress site now. From a technical standpoint, a manual WordPress staging site is full-of-risks, but with backup, you can effectively tackle any mishap.
- You will need to employ the following seven general steps to execute a manual staging site:
- New subdomain in control panel of web host
- SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) account to carry out staging site
- Get your WordPress files uploaded to the staging server. Use the latest version of WordPress and then start uploading themes, plugins, etc.
- You should export all of your database from a live site
- Make a new database within the hosting control panel for a new database
- An SQL manager i.e., DBeaver for importing the database to a staging server
- Finally!! Update wp-config.php
Will you succeed with a manual WordPress staging site? It only depends on YOU and ONLY YOU. Every method has technical complexities attached with it. Having said that, your time isn’t worth the hassle. Hire a professional WordPress maintenance service and get your WordPress on the right trajectory.
2. 2nd Method: Use a WordPress Plugin - Ease up a Staging Site
Unfortunately, some hosting providers don’t allow WordPress staging sites.But not to worry as there is another solution to it – Plugin.
WordPress has an amazing and super-effective ecosystem of plugins where you can get any type of plugin to suffice your needs. WordPress has a good collection of staging plugins to function as well as a host can do, all the way from the convenience of your dashboard.
It is important to note here that the website staging plugins and website duplication plugins are different, they are not the same. So if you’re a starter, don’t rely only on Duplicator ( it works to make migrations and backups easy, that’s it). Here, you should look for other mission-critical plugins i.e., WP Staging – to develop a staging site.
You can draw the following solutions through the use of WP Staging:
- Get a fuller control inside your dashboard
- Clone your site as a speed of light
- Exclude specific database folders and tables
- Ability to choose which files and tables should go live
The process of installing and using WP Staging is the same. It has two different versions – Free and Premium – a free version has limited functionality, whereas premium ones come with unlimited possibilities and full range of features.
When the plugin installation is done successfully, go to WP Staging > Sites/Start page and click on Create New Staging Site button:
When you click on Create a new staging site, it displays the scanning section. Not just entering your staging site name, you should be considerate about three things:
- Files – Select folders and all extra directories you want to copy
- Database tables – a list of all of your database tables from which you can pick those that you want to stage later.
- Advanced settings – a whole lot of features i.e., a capability to copy staging sites to a custom directory or to a fully separate database, etc.
Now, it will start the cloning and staging process. Check the image below:
Congratulations, you have made it. Now you will get all the details for the WordPress staging site:
When you’re successfully made into a staging site, you will see that the toolbar has turned into ‘bright orange’. It notifies that you can make changes back to production and work on managing your staging site all the way from the WordPress dashboard.
3. 3rd Method: Contact your Web Host - Collaborate to Build a Staging Site
Last method is to contact your web host to develop a staging site. As we’ve already said in the second method ‘how to create a WordPress staging site through plugin’ , most of the hosting service providers don’t offer dedicated staging functionality. Only top-quality WordPress hosts offer staging site features because they don’t under the significance of a staging site.
Here we are going to use Bluehost: A US-based hosting service provider founded in 2003, as an example for developing a staging site through a webhost. It provides a 1-Click staging site solution with pocket-friendly plans.
Let’s see how we can develop a staging site through the use of a web host.
- Log into the admin area of WordPress site and go to Bluehost >> Staging page
- It will open Bluehost’s staging site wizard. Then, you will have to click the ‘Create Staging Site’ button to continue.
- At this stage, Bluehost will create the staging environment for a website. It displays a success message once it is done with a link to your staging site.
- Click on the ‘Go to staging site’ button to continue. It will take you to the admin area of your staging WordPress site. It will show a red button on top of the admin bar to notify you that you’re working in the staging environment.
Just go ahead and start working on your website without worrying about how your site looks or anything.
How to deploy changes to a live site on Bluehost from staging?
At this stage, scroll to the deployment options; here you will see three deployment options; 1) Deploy only files, 2) Only the database, and 3) Both files and database.
Click on the Deploy Files & Database button to start deploying all changes from the staging environment, in case you are not sure. It will open up a pop-up asking for confirmation about deployment of the staging site to the production site. Now click on the ‘Yes, Let’s Deploy’ button to proceed further.
Bluehost would begin to deploy staging site to the live site. Well, how quick it will finish up the process depends completely on the size of your site. Finally, the pop up will disappear once deployment is over. Visit your live website to see changes done on your WordPress site.
Final Words - How to Set up a WordPress Staging Site?
WordPress staging site is a valuable method to eliminate site-breaking aspects, incorporate effective features, and augment functionalities. Throughout this article, we have talked about three effective ways to set up a WordPress staging site:
- Go Manual – Create a WordPress Staging Site Manually
- Use a WordPress Plugin – Ease up a Staging Site
- Contact your Web Host – Collaborate to Build a Staging Site