How To Create A Staging Site For WordPress

So, you have a WordPress web page but do not know how to create a staging site for WordPress. To complete that process, you need to follow a few simple steps. However, before create a staging site for WordPress, you might have some questions.

A staging site allows you to give certain elements of your site a trial run before publishing. Your web hosting provider may have a built-in feature for this, which would offer the most straightforward option. You’ll find the option available in the C-Panel section of your hosting account. Simply go to “Softaculous” in your C-Panel and select “Installations”, then “WordPress”, and then “Staging”.

This article will break down the steps to create a staging site for WordPress and more.

What Is a WordPress Staging Website?

Developers create a staging website to test updates and do technical experiments without going live on the internet. Basically, they create staging websites when they want to test plugins or changes they made on the developer’s end without disturbing their authority site.

Whenever a WordPress update comes along, it is required to set up a staging environment to play safe with the website that you have grown over the years.

A staging Website is a cloned website used for testing purposes before publishing it on the internet. If there is an error during the development, it will show up on the staging site.

You can also install WordPress on a local machine like Windows & Mac. Simply install the Bitnami WordPress stack manager tool on the local machine and host the staging website locally. This tool allows you to have a full-fledged website to play around with and do some development work.

One of the biggest cons of the staging website running on the local server is that sometimes things that work on the local machines might experience problems on a live server. This may be due to the different conditions of both servers.

Most of the time, changes happen due to the different configurations of the server. Fortunately, when you create a staging site for WordPress, it will be on the same server as your live website. That means there will be no errors.

WordPress Staging Via Your Hosting Provider

There are multiple ways to create a staging site for WordPress. You can use the most popular and the easiest one, which is using the built-in feature provided by a hosting service provider.

The most popular WordPress hosting providers offer built-in features to create a staging website with one click. To find out whether your hosting provider has this option, just go to the C-Panel provided by the host and search for staging.

If the hosting provider does not have a built-in option, you can use a manual solution or create a staging website using plugins.

Since we are using Namecheap as our hosting provider, we will provide you with the steps related to their process.

How to Create a Staging Site for WordPress on Namecheap

NameCheap is a popular domain registrar that offers significantly good hosting, like EasyWp. If you’re considering NameCheap as a hosting provider, check out our in-depth analysis of Bluehost vs Namecheap. Below are the steps to create a staging site for your WordPress website.

Softaculous dashboard for learning to create a staging site for WordPress
  • To navigate the options, you have to log into your hosting account, go to Softaculous and click on open.
  • When you open the installation page, you will see all the website installations that are installed with your hosting provider, as you see in the screenshot.
  • Select the installation for which you want the staging website.
    • For example, if you want to create a staging website for WordPress, choose the WordPress installation and click on create Staging.
  • Enter the information which is required to start the staging process.
  • Input the http:// Protocol, Domain Name, Directory (Name could be anything), and Database Name.
  • After completing the fields, click on the Create Staging button.
  • When you’ve executed the above steps, you’ll have created your staging site for testing.

WordPress Staging Plugins

Staging plugins are used when there is no built-in option available for the cloning or staging of the website with the hosting provider dashboard. These plugins make our work way easier than doing it through manual means.

1. UpdraftClone

This is a plugin to create a staging site for WordPress, which is created by the backup we all use, UpdraftPlus. This plugin will easily allow you to create copies of your WordPress website using UpdraftClone. To set up the plugin, you can download it from the WordPress plugin store. We recommend not downloading it from a third-party store due to malware.

Once you have downloaded the plugin, it is easy to set up. Just follow the thorough on-screen instructions. You can also set up the time limit for the existence of the WordPress staging site. It also offers a One-Click feature to clean the website for non-tech users.

2. All-in-one WP Migration

This is a migration plugin. It also creates a backup for WordPress websites. However, you can also create a staging website for WordPress with this plugin. Since it is a very popular service, it has around 3 million active installations on the WordPress store. That said, there are certain features we would like to point out:

  • This plugin allows you to export files from your WordPress directory, like theme or database files.
  • It is compatible with most WordPress updates and hosting servers. And it can work with all the PHP versions above v5.2.
  • If you paid for the premium version of the plugin, then you will also have premium support for complex problems.

These plugins are the best, in our opinion. Both are freemium products, which means you can start using them without paying first. These can also be used for other purposes like backing up and restoring, which are required when running a website.

Conclusion

When determining how to test your WordPress site efficiently before going live, the easiest route is to do so through the built-in options offered by your hosting provider. With the above guide in hand, you’ll be in a position to create a staging site for WordPress in no time.

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