Have you ever made website changes that you later regretted?
It’s a nightmare to make changes to your website only to discover later that they aren’t good enough or that they are causing your website to break.
Not only do you find out how to get your site back to where it was before the update, but you will still need to patch it.
Furthermore, we believe you spent a significant amount of time making the changes, and now you must spend much more time undoing them.
We know how you feel because we’ve all been there.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could test the changes before implementing them on your live site? This is exactly what you’ll be able to do with a staging area.
A staging site is a virtual representation of your live site. It provides you with a testing environment without putting your live site at risk.
We’ll show you how to make a staging site for your WordPress pages in this post.
You can stage a website in a variety of ways, but the simplest is to download and instal a plugin like BlogVault Staging. It will allow you to build a website with just a few clicks. Not only that, but after making improvements to the site, it will assist you in pushing the changes from your staging site to the live site with a single click.
What is A WordPress Staging Environment?
A staging site is essentially a duplicate of your live website. Testing and experimenting with modifications was done in staging settings.
When using WordPress as a staging platform, keep the following in mind:
- You want to make changes to your website. When you update your site or even a single plugin, incompatibility issues will arise, causing your website to break.
- You want to experiment with a new theme or plugin.
- You want to make significant improvements to your websites, such as the layout, photographs, and design.
- You need to troubleshoot issues you’re having with your live platform. If you troubleshoot on a live platform, you risk causing more issues and negatively impacting the visitors’ experience.
WordPress staging environments are incredibly useful, but they also have drawbacks. The benefits and drawbacks of using a WordPress staging environment will be discussed in the following section.
Pros of Using a Staging Environment
- A staging site allows you to test new features on your website without risking breaking the live version.
- It allows you to test changes to see if they’re causing any compatibility problems without jeopardising your live or original website.
- You can use a staging environment to figure out what’s causing critical problems on your site without placing it in maintenance mode.
- Staging websites aid in the verification of backup copies. A staging site will assist you in identifying the backup copy of your website when you need to restore it. It can also assist you in determining if the backup is a working copy.
Cons of Using a Staging Environment
- Creating a staging site necessitates a financial outlay. Staging services may be available for an additional fee from your hosting company. Some of the staging plugins are subscription-based.
- It can be difficult and time-consuming to set up a staging environment.
- Furthermore, transferring changes from the staging site to the live site will take a long time. If you make too many or complicated improvements to the web, there’s a fair chance you’ll forget what changes you made.
IMPORTANT: There are some drawbacks of using staging websites, but they can be overcome. For example, some plugins, such as BlogVault, provide free staging services. It makes creating a staging environment and replicating changes from the staging site to the live sites easy. All you have to do now is press a button.
How to create a Staging Environment in WordPress??
You can construct a staging environment in WordPress in three different ways. These are the ones:
i. Staging a Site With a WordPress Plugin (easy)
ii. Staging a Site With Web Host (easy)
iii. Staging a Site Manually (hard)
We’ll walk you through all of the options so you can choose the one that works best for you.
i. Staging a Site With a WordPress Plugin
We discussed earlier in the article how some staging plugins are paid services, while others, including BlogVault, are free. In this segment, we’ll show you how to use the BlogVault plugin to stage your content. But, before we get into the steps, there are a few more compelling reasons to consider BlogVault. These are the ones:
- Many staging plugins store the staging site on your site server. Your server is overburdened, causing your website to slow down. In contrast, BlogVault hosts the WordPress staging platform on its own server.
- There are a slew of staging plugins that don’t conflict with cache plugins. On staging sites, clearing cache is essential because it allows you to preview the changes you’re making. Cache plugins haven’t caused any problems for BlogVault.
- Some staging plugins don’t help multisite, which can surprise you. BlogVault, on the other hand, can easily stage multiple sites.
Let’s go ahead and use the plugin to stage a site.
1. Get the BlogVault plugin and instal it. It will begin backing up your website right away.
2. When the process is finished, select View Site Details from the drop-down menu.
Before you create a WordPress staging environment, make a backup. It will take you to a new page with a section on staging. Select Add Staging from the drop-down menu in that portion.
4. Select Visit Staging Site from the drop-down menu to access the BlogVault staging site.
5. All staging sites are password-protected, so only you and the people with whom you share the keys can access them. To access the staging environment, you’ll need a username and password. On the same page where you found the option – Visit Staging Site – you’ll find the username and password.
You’ll want to duplicate the improvements you made on the staging site on the live site after you’ve used it. It doesn’t have to be done manually. Simply combine the staging and live sites. You can push your changes live with BlogVault. This saves you both time and effort!
Merging Staging Site With Live Site
With BlogVault, merging your staging platform with your live site is a breeze. All you have to do now is follow these simple instructions –
1. Go to the Staging section of your BlogVault dashboard.
2. Select Merge, and your staging and live sites will merge. You can also choose which updates to push to the live site with BlogVault.
All of the changes you made on the staging site will surface on the live site within a few minutes.
Are you interested in learning more about WordPress Staging plugins? Check out our list of the Best WordPress Staging Plugins, which we’ve hand-picked to make it easier for you to find the right plugin for your needs.
ii. Staging a Site With Web Host
The majority of hosting companies provide staging services. You will have access to staging sites if you subscribe to higher plans from hosting companies including SiteGround and Bluehost, which start at $20 a month. Other well-known hosting companies, such as WP Engine, FlyWheel, and Kinsta, provide staging in all of their plans.
We’ll show you how to access staging with two famous WordPress hosting companies in this segment.
- Creating a Staging Site on Bluehost
- Creating a Staging Site on Kinsta
NOTE: It’s possible that you’re not using any of the WordPress hosting services mentioned above. However, if you follow the steps outlined below, you will have a good idea of how to set up a staging site for your own hosting company.
1. Creating a Staging Site on BlueHost
If your website is hosted by Bluehost, you can allow Bluehost staging by following the steps below.
- You must first log into your WordPress website in order to stage it on Bluehost.
- Select the choice Staging from the menu on your dashboard.
- Select Create Staging Site on the next tab, and Bluehost will create a WordPress staging site for you to use.
Select the choice Go to Staging Site to gain access to the staging WordPress pages. You can now log into the staging area with your WordPress account credentials.
Merging Bluehost Staging Site With Live Site
You’ll want to push the updates to your live site after you’ve made changes to your staging site. To accomplish this, you must take the following steps:
- Pick Staging from your WordPress dashboard.
- You’ll be given the option to merge your files, database, or both on the next page.
2. Creating a Staging Site on Kinsta
If your site is hosted on Kinsta, you can allow Kinsta staging by following the steps below.
- Log in to your Kinsta hosting account, then choose the website you want to stage.
- The next step is to locate the choice Staging Environment. Select it by clicking on it.
- Select Staging > Build A Staging Environment on the following tab.
- When the staging site is complete, go to Domain and look for the environment’s URL.
Merging Kinsta Staging Site With Live Site
- Follow the steps below to combine the improvements you made on your staging site with the live site –
- Log into your Kinsta account and go to the staging place.
- Then choose Staging Environment > Push Staging to Live from the drop-down menu.
- That is everything there is to it. Your staging site will be merged with your live site by Kinsta.
iii. Staging a WordPress Site Manually
Manually creating a staging site is a time-consuming and difficult task. As a result, we do not suggest manually staging a platform. Not only that, but pushing changes from staging to the live site is difficult. It will have to be replicated manually.
IMPORTANT: If you insist on using the manual form, we strongly advise you to back up the entire site first. Working with WordPress files and databases is needed for the manual process. It’s likely that you’ll make a mistake when fiddling with them, causing your website to crash.
The measures in the manual method are as follows:
- Making a subdomain that will serve as a staging area
- Files and databases from your live site are being downloaded.
- The same files and database are uploaded to your subdomain or staging location.
1. Create a Staging Subdomain
Your hosting company will help you set up a subdomain.
Log in to your hosting provider’s account, go to cPanel, and choose Subdomain.
Build a subdomain called Staging on the next tab. If you don’t know how to build a subdomain, look for a support document from your hosting company that explains how to do so.
2. Download Files and Database From Live Site
Images and a database make up a WordPress website. You’ll need to get both of them. The aim is to put them on your subdomain so that it can function as a WordPress staging environment and replicate your website.
i. To download files, follow these instructions:
An FTP client, such as Filezilla or CyberDuck, must be installed and enabled. The programme will allow you to view and save your WordPress files to your computer.
Open the app after it has been installed on your computer. It will request your Hostname, Username, and Password in order to connect to your website and download your WordPress files.
If you don’t have these keys, you can contact your hosting company and request them.
Once the link is built, go to the Remote site section and look for your WordPress files.
Locate the public html folder in the Remote site section. Select Download with a right-click on the folder. You will receive a copy of your WordPress files to your computer.
ii. To obtain the database, follow the instructions below:
Log in to your hosting provider’s account, go to cPanel, and then choose phpMyAdmin.
3. Upload Files and Database to the Subdomain
After you’ve saved your files and database to your computer, you’ll need to upload them to the Staging subdomain.
As previously stated, the subdomain will serve as a staging site where you can test and make changes.
Open your FTP client and make sure you’re linked to your website. As we previously stated, on the right-hand side, there is a section called Remote site, which contains files from your site. On the left-hand side, you’ll see the Local site section, which contains files saved on your computer.
In the Remote site section, you’ll find the custom domain (Staging). In the Local site area, you’ll find the downloaded files and database.
The files and database should be uploaded to the subdomain folder.
i. Uploading the Files
- On your computer, combine all of your files and databases into a single folder. Our folder was given the name Live site files.
- Then pick the Staging subdomain folder.
- Then, in the Local site section, right-click on the Live site files folder and select Properties. Select Upload to send the folder to the staging area (subdomain).
- Your hosting provider account will have the URL for the new staging site. Select Domain > Subdomains from your cPanel after logging into your account. After that, choose the option Export. Select Fast from the
- Export Method drop-down menu, then click Go.
ii. Uploading the Database
To upload the database, you must first build one for the Staging subdomain.
- Log into your hosting provider’s account, go to cPanel, and pick MySQL Databases under Databases.
Then, in the Create New Database section, write down the database’s name and click Create Database.
- To use the database, you must first build a new database user. Scroll down to the section where you can build a MySQL user on the page where you built your database. You must ensure that the new database is linked to the subdomain until the database and username are ready. Please open the FTP programme and go to public html > Staging in the remote site portion. The wp-config file can be found in the Staging folder.
- Select Edit from the context menu by right-clicking. Replace the information from your previous database (database name, username, and password) with the information from the database you just generated in the file.
- Then, in the new database, import the database you downloaded in phase 2.
- Return to your cPanel and click on phpMyAdmin. The updated database should be visible now. Go to the Import section after selecting it.
- You are now ready to go after uploading the database from your computer.
- The connection to the new staging site can be found in your hosting provider account, as previously stated.
- Select Domain > Subdomains from your cPanel after logging into your account.
- Bringing a Staging Site and a Live WordPress Site Together
- There is no simple way to integrate your staging site with the live site after you’ve made changes to the new
- WordPress staging environment. On your live site, you’ll have to manually replicate the changes.
That’s all there is to it, folks. That’s how you make a staging environment for WordPress.
Although there are many ways to stage your website, using a plugin is the simplest and most cost-effective. Using a plugin like BlogVault to stage your site has no chance of damaging your website, unlike the manual process.