August 3, 2018
Why a WordPress Staging Site is Critical to Your Business
Whether you’re a WordPress pro or a beginner just learning the ropes, you really need a WordPress staging site for your business. A staging site can prevent your potential customers from coming across a down site, making it impossible for them to browse your products, read your information or place orders.
That’s no way to run a business.
What is a WordPress Staging Site?
A staging site is simply that – a staging area. It’s a copy of your WordPress website that you can update, tweak, add to or take away from – all without disrupting your actual website.
Test out new plugins, change themes, reformat pages, experiment with different code, and even make major changes to your site without taking the risk of messing up your live site. If the new changes work properly, you can easily push them on to your live WordPress site. If they don’t work out, there’s no harm done to your live site and no downtime experienced by your customers.
A staging site gives you private, offline freedom to test and tinker with your site as often as you like, making major changes or small improvements, without putting your actual site into maintenance mode or disrupting your business.
Why do you Need a Staging Site?
Making changes, updating to the latest versions, installing and activating new apps are all part of ongoing website maintenance and business growth. Some changes are harmless while others may cause your website to experience glitches. Most changes won’t disrupt your site, but it only takes one small issue to cause a major catastrophe. This can result in your customers encountering a broken or down site, which could potentially upset your bottom line.
Updating plugins in WordPress is a necessity no matter how big or small your site is. Even some of the best, most trusted plugins can occasionally cause unforeseen glitches in your site. Don’t make the mistake of assuming any update is safe and won’t hurt anything. With your business on the line, a staging site is more than worth it.
No matter how much traffic your website gets, you want to keep downtime to a minimum. If losing sales over a down or broken site isn’t one of your goals, you’ve got to set up a staging site.
How to Set Up a WordPress Staging Site
There are several ways to create a WordPress staging site: by using a plugin, manally using cPanel, or through a hosted staging site.
Plugin Staging Site Setup
The easiest way to set up a WordPress staging site is with a plugin. There are several plugins available for setting up staging sites, but the simplest one to use is WP Staging. It allows you to test out different themes, make changes to your site, and test updates and new installs. Easily install complex plugins on your staging site to make sure they don’t cause issues on WordPress, as some are known to do.
- Step 1:
Download and install the WP Staging plugin in your WordPress admin area.
- Step 2:
Activate the plugin and click the ‘Create new staging site’ button.
- Step 3:
Name your staging site and click ‘Start Cloning’ so the plugin can “clone” your website.
Once this step is complete, easily access your staging site by logging in with your WordPress login credentials. You’ll always know if you’re in the staging area because of the orange admin bar at the top of the window.
WP Staging is great for smaller changes, but it’s not the best option if you want to make changes in your site’s code.
Manual Staging Site Setup
Setting up a manual staging site is a bit more technical but works well if you plan on poking around in your site’s code. This process involves setting up a subdomain under your main domain.
- Step 1:
Access your site’s cPanel area and find the subdomain option.
- Step 2:
Create a subdomain name, something like “staging” so you’ll know exactly what it’s for. Make sure your domain name is showing correctly in the ‘domain’ box, especially if you own more than one website.
- Step 3:
Create an FTP account for your staging site. Choose the FTP Account option in your cPanel area, add a new account and fill in the boxes to create the account.
- Step 4:
Copy and upload your site’s files and database to your staging FTP account. *Note that this is a difficult process for beginners and requires technical skills.
Hosted Staging Site Setup
Many website hosts offer built-in staging sites included in your plan. These are created to be easy to use, even for beginners. The setup process will vary depending on the host you use. You may need to go through a few steps to create the staging site, but the process is straightforward with most hosting companies.
A WordPress Staging Site is Necessary
Avoid glitches or down time that results in your traffic heading away from your website. Create a WordPress staging site to test and tweak every part of your website without worry.
Don’t have the time or does the process of setting up a staging site intimidate you? Let our WordPress experts take care of it for you. From maintenance and updates to daily security checks, weekly backups and more, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to get started on saving your sanity and your WordPress website.
This post was written for ProactiveWP.com by Traci Benoit. Check out more about here at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tracibenoit/