If you're running a WordPress website and are looking to make changes, whether it's for a redesign, an upgrade, or exploring a new plugin - you need to be smart about how you do it! Sure, you could dive right in and make the changes directly on your live site. But that could lead to some serious issues, like failed updates or plugins that don't work correctly.
The experts in WordPress development know the importance of creating test sites, or staging sites, as they're often called. Staging sites are the perfect way to test out changes before making them live on your website. And guess what? Any WordPress user can set up a staging site in a few minutes.
What is WordPress staging?
If you've ever heard of the term "staging site" and wondered what it is, you're in the right place. A staging site is a replica of your live website where you can experiment and make changes before they go live on your public website. WordPress staging sites are particularly helpful for developers and marketers who want to keep their original website safe while testing new plugins, themes, or changes to their original code.
Think of it as a sandbox. You can experiment with whatever elements you want, trying them out before they affect the public-facing version of your site. This way, if something goes wrong or an unexpected issue arises, there won't be any unwanted surprises when users access your live website. With a WordPress staging site in place, you'll feel more secure about making changes without fear of endangering your production environment.
How to set up a WordPress staging site?
If you're ready to take the plunge and set up your WordPress staging site, here are the steps you should follow:
Step 1: Purchase a website hosting plan.
Step 2: Use an FTP client to upload your WordPress files and create a database for your staging site.
Step 3: Log in to your account's cPanel and create a new MySQL database for the staging version of your website.
Step 4: Add an extra domain or subdomain for the staging version of your website using cPanel's Addon feature.
Step 5: Install WordPress on both domains (staging and main) using any trusted third-party tool in cPanel.
Step 6: Configure an SSL certificate so that both of your sites are secure and accessible with the HTTPS protocol (if applicable).
Step 7: Log into the admin panel of your staging version, disable all plugins, delete existing themes and content, and upload a duplicate backup of the live version (if available).
Step 8: Enable some security settings to restrict any unauthorized access to the staging site by visitors or search engines.
That’s it! You are now ready to use your WordPress staging site to experiment and try before publishing the changes or updates on the main site.
Benefits of having a WordPress staging site
Now you know what a WordPress staging site is and how to set it up. But why should you bother? Creating a WordPress staging site has many benefits for any website owner. Here are three great reasons why you should have a WordPress staging site.
1. Test changes in a secure environment
By testing changes on your WordPress staging site, you can be confident they will work on your live version without affecting the end-user experience. By keeping away from your live version, you can make sure any new functions, features, or updates are tested properly in a secure environment before pushing them out to the public.
2. Prevent downtime
Having a WordPress staging site makes sure that visitors won't experience any pesky downtime caused by updates, enhancements, and bug fixes. This way, you can do all the tough stuff behind the scenes on your WP staging environment before pushing the button to activate it on your live version. No one will even know what's going on behind the scenes!
3. Quickly revert changes
Sometimes things don't go according to plan! If things start to break down or something is not functioning as expected, you can quickly restore your staging site to its original form with just one click. Having this safety net for changes and updates gives you peace of mind that if something isn't right, you don't have to worry about rebuilding everything from scratch.
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Avoiding pitfalls with your WordPress staging site
Setting up a WordPress staging site can seem a bit complicated, but it doesn't need to be. Let's look at some common pitfalls and how you can avoid them like a pro.
It's easy to forget about quality control when setting up a WordPress staging site. But check for broken links, missing images, and typos now, because it's going to save you a lot of time later when you start moving over to production
Going live too quickly
It can be tempting to move your changes straight into the live version after making them on the staging site, but try your best to resist! It pays off in the long run if you give yourself enough time for debugging and testing before pushing any changes live.
A common issue with staging sites is resource overload, especially with hosting plans that offer limited resources. Use a robust hosting provider that can handle larger files and provides scalability options.
By following these tips and avoiding these common mistakes, you're sure to be able to set up your very own WordPress staging site in no time!
Tips to make your WordPress staging better
As you set up your WordPress staging site, there are some simple tips you can follow to make sure it runs smoothly.
Create a plan
Before you get to work, make sure you're clear on what your goal is and map out exactly what you plan to do. This will help prevent any issues or confusion during the process and give you a benchmark to measure against once the staging is live.
Back up all existing data
Don't forget to back up all existing data before making any changes. This will ensure you never lose any valuable content should anything go wrong during the setup process.
Get support from experts whenever needed
If you're new to WordPress or don't know how to tackle certain tasks, don't hesitate to ask for help from experts. They can provide pointers and advice, and they can even take care of setting up complex features for you.
Make sure your web hosting provider is reliable
A reliable web hosting provider can give your staging site the best performance possible, so make sure it has excellent uptime (over 99%), strong customer support, and good security measures in place.
Lastly, remember that setting up a WordPress staging site doesn't have to be stressful. It can be a great way for experienced developers and those new to WordPress alike to learn more about building great sites. So take your time and enjoy the process.
Troubleshooting common issues with WordPress staging sites
You've created your WordPress staging site. But now, let's not forget the importance of proper maintenance and troubleshooting. That way, if your staging site does experience any problems, you'll be prepared to deal with them as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Identify the problem
When it comes to troubleshooting a WordPress staging site, you need to identify the source of the problem first. For example, is it coming from a specific plugin or theme? If so, you can try deactivating those elements on the staging site when troubleshooting.
Isolate the issue
If you have identified a certain plugin or theme as being responsible for an issue or bug on your staging site, it's important to isolate them to properly diagnose and troubleshoot. This means running a series of tests on each item one by one to determine which is causing the problem and how it can be fixed.
Check your settings
After isolating any potential issues, you should double-check all of your WordPress settings to make sure they are up-to-date and that all of the relevant information is correct and accurate. This includes double-checking your URLs, file path settings, database name, and user credentials, just to name a few things.
Troubleshooting common issues with WordPress staging sites doesn't have to be difficult! As long as you take the time to properly identify, isolate, and check out all of your settings first, you should have no problems getting your staging site up and running in no time.
Importance of real-time previews for websites or apps
Setting up a staging site, even if easy, requires additional time and effort. The no-code app builder Swipecart removes this challenge in the form of real-time previews. Swipecart, a plugin for WordPress, helps you create an app for your WooCommerce store without having to code.
Similar to WordPress, it uses a visual interface and pre-coded blocks called widgets. Merchants have to drag and drop widgets inside a layout to complete designing their app. Swipecart has advanced features and a range of add-ons to build a complete app for your store.
This no-code app builder Swipecart uses a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor to simplify your app creation. You can preview the changes in real-time in the app design as you keep customizing the style.
It also has a preview page where you can preview the app design for different iOS and Android device screen sizes.
Next, you can scan the QR code to preview the changes on the Swipecart mobile app so that you get a first-hand experience of how the app would look on any mobile device.
When merchants get these many options to preview the changes in app design, the task of creating an app becomes easy and fast without having to set up a staging app for it.
If you are planning an app for your WooCommerce store, try this no-code app builder, Swipecart. It has amazing features for designing the app as well as marketing tools to increase customer engagement once it goes live.
Setting up your WordPress staging site is simpler than ever. With the right hosting provider and a few clicks of the mouse, you can have a staging environment that is completely safe from any errors or coding changes that you make to your live site. You can test out new features and designs with a peaceful mind, all while having the freedom to experiment and make necessary changes in your staging environment.
With a staging environment, you can ensure that your website remains stable, secure, and reliable. Not to mention, the time-saving capabilities of a staging site can be a great advantage to a website owner. With the right hosting provider and a few simple steps, you can set up a WordPress staging site in no time.