When you want to change, or update your website, it is typically a bad idea to do that directly. Especially if the website is “live” and has frequent visitors, you want to avoid anything that might cause the website to stop working.
That is where staging comes in. Staging lets you setup a copy of the live site, where you can test and verify modifications before deploying them on your live site. Even if the website is not “live” it is sometimes a good idea to use staging, to simplify the testing of new or updated features
Before creating the staging site
In the following we will assume that you already have a website, which will be referred to as the “live site”. If you have no website at all, please see here how to create one.
Beware that a staging site shares resources with its live website. In particular, you need to make sure the live site has enough disk space to host both live and staging site. If needed, you can add more disk space as described here.
Creating the staging site
Navigate the website details page of the website you want to create a staging site for. On left side, click on the Staging link and then click Create.
Optional: Choose which folders to copy or not to copy to the staging site by selectively including, or excluding files and database.
- This is useful if you have a large uploads folder in your WordPress installation that you would like to exclude from the staging site.
Wait up to a few minutes while the server is being configured, and your WordPress files and database are being copied from your website to the staging site.
When the process is done, you can access your staging site right away, we even provide you with a domain to use.
It's not possible to add your own domain to a staging site. If you want to add your own domain, you can instead create a new site for the purpose.
Note: Staging sites will be set as "noindex" automatically, so that search engines such as Google and Bing do not index them in their search results.
Accessing your files on the server
After you have set up file access, you can access the files of your staging site in the webroot folder (listed on the Website Details page). In my case, the webroot is wordpress_staging.
The webroot is normally the same as your live site, but with "_staging" added on the end.
Copy files to the staging site
If you made any changes on the live site after creating the staging site, you can simply update the staging site with the “Copy to staging” button shown below. It will only copy files changed, which can save a lot of time.
The same thing can be done from the staging site itself, by clicking the Update from Live button.
Delete staging site
If you for some reason want to delete your staging site, you can do so safely by clicking the Edit Website Details button for your website, then click Delete.
Deleting a staging site is completely safe to do, it will not affect your live site.
Note: If you delete your live site, then your staging site will also be deleted automatically.