How to create a test environment with WP Staging in WordPress

The WP Staging plugin allows you to create a test environment for your WordPress website, which is a separate copy of your website that you can use for testing and development. This can be useful for making changes to your website, such as testing new plugins or themes, without affecting the live version of your website that your visitors see. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install and use the WP Staging plugin:

  1. Install the WP Staging plugin on your WordPress website. This can be done by going to the Plugins menu in your WordPress administration, clicking the “Add New” button and searching for “WP Staging”.
  2. Once the plugin is installed and activated, go to the “WP Staging” menu in your WordPress administration.
  3. Click the “Create new test environment site” button to create a new test environment for your website.
  4. Fill in the information it asks for and read everything carefully so you don’t overwrite anything.
  5. Wait while the plugin creates a copy of your website. This process can take anything from a few seconds to several minutes, depending on the size of your website.
  6. Once the test environment site has been created, you’ll be given a URL that you can use to access the test environment. You can also view and manage your test environment site from the “WP Staging” menu in your WordPress administration.
  7. Make any changes you want to your test environment site. These changes will not affect the live version of your website, so you can test new plugins, themes or other changes without worrying about breaking anything.
  8. When you’re ready to push your changes live, go to the “WP Staging” menu in your WordPress administration and click the “Push changes to live site” button. This will apply all the changes you made to your test environment site to the live version of your website. It is important to note that this option is not available in the free version of the plugin and it requires you to purchase the pro version.
  9. If you want to delete your test environment site, go to the “WP Staging” menu and click the “Delete test environment site” button. Be aware that this will delete your test environment site permanently and all the changes you made on it.

When pushing changes to live there are a few things to keep in mind when pushing changes from your test environment site to your live installation:

  1. Pushing changes to live is not available in the free version of the WP Staging plugin, it require pro version to be able to do this action.
  2. Alternatively you can copy the changes you made on the test environment, to the live version manually.
  3. It’s always a good idea to backup your live site before making changes and pushing them live.”

If your site is an e-commerce store, forum or similar…

Is your site of a type where new data comes in without you being able to control when such as in an e-commerce store (orders). It is very important that you do not overwrite all data from the test site, as it will set your database back to how it was when you copied the site and orders can be lost.

I recommend using a maintenance plugin while publishing changes as well, to avoid receiving orders or changes to the database while you’re publishing changes. That way you won’t have to manually copy any orders if the publishing doesn’t work as expected and you need to restore a backup.

Multiple test environments at the same time

You can have as many test environments at the same time, you just need to remember that they will all use space on your web host. So delete them when you’re finished testing and developing your site.

Do you always need to create test environments

No, for less significant changes it doesn’t make sense to create test environments, but for more advanced changes or changes that take place over a longer period of time, it is recommended to create test environments.

For example, this could be for a new design or new features.

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