When you’re updating your site, adding new features, or rolling out a new design, you want to make the process as seamless and safe as possible. And while you can always restore a backup if you have one on hand, it’s better to avoid that in the first place.
The best way to do this is with a WordPress staging site (also referred to as a staging environment), which you can use to test and deploy major changes. So if the change that you make breaks anything — whether that’s adding a new plugin, editing code, or switching themes — it won’t affect your live site. This means that you still make sales and provide an excellent experience for potential customers.
What is a staging site?
Staging sites are copies of your live site hosted on a separate URL (also known as a test or staging URL). They’re usually the final step in the development process before deploying either a new website or significant changes made to an existing site. On a staging site, you can test new plugins, features, and design changes all without affecting your live site.
Not only will your live store not go down if you make a mistake, you can also take whatever time you need to test and experiment without confusing site visitors.
Key components of a staging site
While your staging environment should be as close to an exact replica of your live site as possible, there are a few key differences:
- Your live site would be hosted at “yourdomain.com”, and your staging site will need to use a different domain name (e.g. yourdomainname.staging395312.com).
- Your staging site should not be public-facing.
- Depending on how you set up your staging site, you may need to manually replicate certain aspects of your live environment like SSL certificates, PHP versions, and other server settings.