Beginner’s Guide: WP Staging Site

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A Complete Beginner’s Guide: WordPress Staging Site

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We all love WordPress and it's featured packed content management system. However, with great power comes great responsibility. Just like recently how we were doing some major changes with my site and it absolutely crashed. Therefore, to test things before actually releasing them, we have something called the "WordPress Staging".

Without using a WordPress staging site, you are essentially gambling your way towards absolute failure. The site can crash, your current data can be lost, or worse, everything can be gone in the blink of an eye. Hence, Let's talk about what a WordPress staging site actually is.

A WordPress staging website is just a copy of your website. However, it has some differences when it comes to actual functionality.

  • Any sort of testing done on the Staging Site won't have any effect on the real site
  • No one will be able to see the staging site
  • A WordPress staging environment is safe and sound

Moreover, by using this plugin, you can easily test out new features and deploy them later without having to worry about anything.

How to Build a WordPress Staging Site? - Step by Step

How to Build a WordPress Staging Site - Step by Step

There are two steps that you can take for building a WordPress staging site:

  • Using Plugin
  • Using WordPress Hosting

We are going to look at both of the procedures one by one. A lot of WordPress hosting services offer the site staging in their service. If you have plans to create a site and you want staging to be done, you can choose the following hosting services.

  • Bluehost (Our Top Recommendation)
  • GoDaddy
  • SiteGround
  • FlyWheel

Therefore, let's take a look at the first procedure i.e using a plugin.

Creating a WordPress Staging Site

Method 1: WP Staging Plugin

For less technical people who want to get things done, this plugin is their cup of tea. Hence, by downloading a plugin that we all love. The name is "WP Staging", you can easily create a staging site. This plugin is relatively new when it comes to its release. However, it's still a great and simple choice compared to other plugins. The setup process is super simple. You just have to Download the Plugins and Activate it in your WordPress dashboard. So, let's dive right into the process.

  • Go to the WP Staging tab and then tap on an option that will say: "Create New Staging Site".
  • Moreover, you will have to give your site a name (Keep it Short) and click on "Start Cloning".
  • This process will take some time depending upon the size of your site.
  • There you go. You can easily access the site by entering your staging URL and logging in with your admin credentials.
WP Staging Plugin
For Developers Looking for a Robust Solution

Method 2: The Manual Guide to WordPress Staging (cPanel)

Moreover, if you're a power user and want to play with codes, then doing it manually will surely benefit you. In this method, you create a staging site using a subdomain in your hosting cPanel. This method can also be called as WordPress Hosting Staging. Hence, we are going step by step to ensure that you get the most credible and easy experience in setting up a WordPress Staging Environment.

Step#1: Creating a Subdomain using cPanel

The first step is to log in to your hosting cPanel. After that, scroll down into the "DOMAINS" section and click on "Subdomains".

Moreover, create a subdomain with the name you want and click "Create".

Step#1: Creating a Subdomain using cPanel
Step#2: Creating an FTP account to control your staging site

Step#2: Creating an FTP account to control your staging site

Additionally, you will have to create an FTP account by clicking on "FTP Accounts" in the cPanel.

Enter your WordPress staging site's account details and make sure to enter "public_html/staging" as your root directory.

Step #3: Pushing your WordPress file to the staging site

Hence, using that FTP file that you just created, it's time to push the WordPress content towards the staging site. First of all, you have to download the latest version of WordPress and upload it on the FTP Moreover, you will have to upload all the contents of your current WordPress site to the staging site using the File Manager as well.

Step #4: Importing and Exporting Files

You can use plugins such as MigrateDB to push all the content to your WordPress staging site. Therefore, the tool of our liking is the MigrateDB plugin. Download and install the plugin. And you access the tool by going into Tools > Migrate DB.

Here, you will have to give the exact directory of your subdomain. Additionally, you will have to access the cPanel again to create a database using MySQL. Click on the MySQL database and add a new database named "Staging" and an account named "Staging" too. You can change the name of the ones you want.

Moreover, you also have to go to "PHPMyAdmin", import the database that you're just created and click "GO"

Step #4: Importing and Exporting Files

Step #5: Successful WordPress Staging Website - Pointing to the Database

This step is rather simple. All you need to do is to edit the wp-config.php to change it to the new username and database details. Moreover, you also have to change the prefix of the database and match it with your live site.

This way, the staging site will be successfully pointing towards the database. After changing the details, you can just upload the config file back using FTP or file manager.

Step #5: Successful WordPress Staging Website - Pointing to the Database

Final Step: Discouraging Search Engine from Indexing this Site

The final and last step is to go to settings>reading, and select discourages search engines from indexing this site. This will restrict search engines like google to show the results.

How can we help

Clarity WordPress Experts

WordPress site staging is a great way of testing and then pushing changes to the live site. In this tutorial, we have looked at each aspect of site staging and how to use different techniques to enable it. However, if you want things to be easy, you can use hostings that are actually providing these services. Hence, you won't have to worry about doing all the changes manually as the hosting provider itself will be managing all the changes. On the other hand, WP Staging is a great plugin for beginners. It gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to staging a site with ease.

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