In case there are issues in your shop or you simply want to test something new, it is best to set up a staging website. This will duplicate your live shop to a staging site, allowing you to test things out without having to worry about the live environment.
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What is a staging site?
A staging site is an offline duplicate of your live environment that only you have access to. In case you want to try something new, you can make changes to the staging environment without affecting your live environment. This is very useful for example for general plugin updates, theme changes or installing whole new plugins.
Why set up a staging site?
Before putting your website live, it is important to test everything completely beforehand. In this case, you can do this perfectly by setting up a staging site. Here you will try out things like your WordPress themes or various plugins, to see if they run well on your shop and if it meets your requirements. Also, you’re going to see if the themes or plugins make your site run slower or faster. Should your site run slower, you can easily troubleshoot and solve this. The beauty of a staging site is that everything is offline, so you can’t receive visitors on your site and it is completely separate from your live site.
WP StageCoach plugin
It is very easy to set up a staging site using WP StageCoach plugin! With a few clicks you can already set up a staging site, without it overwriting your current database.
- Go to https://wpstagecoach.com/
- Choose 1 of the packages (5 day trial period)
- After registering, login your account
- In your account overview, click on Download WP StageCoach
- Upload and install the plugin in WordPress
- In the left navigation bar, click on WP StageCoach > Settings
- Fill in your Username and API Key and click on Submit
- Click on WP StageCoach in your navigation bar
- It has automatically set a staging url, but you can also customize it to your liking
- Choose whether or not to set a password
- As a final step, click on Ride the StageCoach!
After you click Ride the StageCoach, the plugin undertakes a number of steps to set up the staging site and is displayed by messages.
Once the staging site is created, you’ll be shown its URL and the /wp-admin credentials to log in. You can use the same credentials as your live site, so separate credentials don’t need to be created! The staging site is a fully-functional WordPress environment, so you can do anything in it that you would normally do in your live environment.
Push changes to live site
It is possible to carry forward the changes you have made to your staging site to your live environment. In your WordPress backend, go to WP StageCoach -> Import Changes. Then click on Check for changes to see what has changed. This will take a few minutes to complete. When this is complete, you will be presented with 3 import options:
- One-click: this is the most simple import. Do you want file, database changes or both? Then click on Import
- Advanced: if you don’t want to import all the changes and only some selected
- Manual: if the One-click and Advanced options fail, you can choose this option. It is a bit more work, but more reliable
Once the import is complete, you can view the live site and see if all changes have been made as desired. If so, you can choose to:
- Clean up and delete staging site: choose this option if you are done with your staging site and want to delete it
- Clean up: choose this option if you still want to use the staging site and only want to delete temporary files