[How To] BlueHost WordPress Staging Environment

Sometimes we make changes to our websites, but then we regret and need to reverse back these recent actions. Don’t worry it’s very common. That’s why setting up a WordPress staging environment is really essential.

Staging WordPress Environment basically means that you’ve two versions of your website; the live version, and a staging version. Both are functional and working fine! But on different platforms and indeed different URLs.

The point is to create a replicated version of your actual website. This replicated staging version is where you can try and test changes carefully before applying them to your main website.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to create a WordPress staging site (replicated version). And this will be where you can apply changes before messing up with the actual website code.

A quick note: The article contains affiliate links. 


Sign Up For BlueHost Web Hosting

If you’ve already bought web hosting from BlueHost, then you can skip this step and proceed. We will show you how to setup BlueHost WordPress staging environment.

If you’ve not yet bought web hosting, then let’s do it with a 57% exclusive discount (for a limited time). To grab your discount, You will need to use our promo link. This is an exclusive discount for our blog readers. I’m pretty positive you won’t want to miss it.

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After visiting our promo link, Clik on “Get Started Now” to get your hosting account. BlueHost offers three different web hosting plans. The Plus plan is what I recommend for unlimited addon domains.


What is WordPress Staging Site?

Simply, a replicated version of your website where you can test and try new things without affecting the main site. It’s very useful for your website to not interrupt your user’s experience while updating your site.

All of us are frequently updating plugins, removing code, switching themes, adding custom changes, and so on. The staging version will be your best friend while doing and experimenting with all these changes/updates.

A good alternative is to set up a WordPress test site on your local machine. While this method doesn’t guarantee sync or a direct push to your main website, it’s very beneficial to tech people and nerds.

And because the staging site is a replicated one after all, it mirrors everything; the code, the plugins, the theme, ..etc. Thus, you can easily use a staging WordPress site to troubleshoot problems. Having a staging site is a great way of tracking down issues but without the risk of breaking your website or putting it in maintenance mode.

How to Create a WordPress Staging Site?

There are multiple ways to create a WordPress staging site. Let us mention the most common ways to create a proper functional staging site without too many complications:

  • Using WordPress Plugin.
  • Using Web Hosting Staging Environment.
  • Using LocalHost or a subdomain.

Let’s explore these options and you can pick the one which you find convenient.

1. Creating a WordPress Staging Site with a Plugin

There are a number of plugins available on WordPress repository to create a WordPress staging environment. It’s a very good method for small and personal websites. But actually, we don’t very much recommend it on a larger website. Here’s why in quick notes:

  • It creates the clone on the same server; It may affect your website’s performance.
  • Some staging plugins are not compatible with a few popular plugins such as; caching and translation plugins.

You may give it a try first and see if these plugins will help your site or not. After all, it’s your website and your whole different experience.

Here are a few popular WordPress staging plugins:

The plugins are pretty easy and straight-forward. All of them come with details instructions to help you set up your Staging site in a few minutes.

The best thing about these plugins is that it also backs up your website every once and while (you can set the intervals in settings). This will definitely help in emergencies or anytime you wanted to retrieve backups for some reason.


2. Creating a WordPress Staging Website with BlueHost:

This became very common nowadays for web hosting providers. Besides offering a number of cool features, BlueHost is offering WordPress staging facilities along with your web hosting plan.

First of all, get your BlueHost account ready. Login to your BlueHost account and follow the steps below. They’re all user-friendly and pretty easy to follow along.

Log into your WordPress website and select Staging from the menu. A new page will appear from where you’ll select Create Staging Site. Once the staging site is ready, your hosting provider will inform you.

Afterward, you should follow the steps on this page to create a staging environment for your website. Once you’re done with the steps, click on the Go to staging site button to continue.

You will reach the admin area of your staging WordPress site. You will see a red button on top of the admin bar to indicate that you are working in the staging environment.

You can go ahead and work on your website without worrying about it affecting your live site. After you’ve made modifications on the staging site, it’s time to push the changes from staging to live site.

Deploy Changes to your Main Website: 

After you make all the necessary changes and be sure that everything works smoothly, you can push this recent update to your main function website.

To do this, please go back to your WordPress Dashboard. In the side menu, click on Staging again. In this page, you will see the following options to deploy the changes:

While there are three different options, it’s always wise to use the option in the middle; Deploy Files & Database. Because plugins and theme changes are sometimes affecting the database.

Unless you know what you do and understand the changes you’ve done, make sure to deploy the changes for both files and databases to avoid breaking your website.


3. WordPress Staging with LocalHost or Subdomain: 

While not very practical, this method is fairly used. It simply creates a duplicated version of your website. This duplicated version is stored either in LocalHost machine (your computer), or in your web hosting account as a separate subdomain.

Log into your hosting provider and from the cPanel navigate to Subdomains. Create a subdomain named ‘staging’. So the subdomain will look like this; staging.yourdomain.com.

Then, you will need to follow the steps below:

  • Installing WordPress on the Subdomain or LocalHost.
  • Substitute files in wp-content with the files from your website.
  • In PHPMyAdmin, drop the database and restore a DB copy from your site.
  • Alter the wp-config.php to connect with the new database.
  • Make sure your URL in the wp-options table is your subdomain or the local URL.

I know the steps may be a bit advanced for a normal user. But overall, it’s not very much recommended unless you know what you’re doing and understand WordPress very well.

The reason it’s not recommended is that this method doesn’t offer simple direct sync to push and deploy changes to your actual site. And this means every time you make a change, you will need to substitute files and database to apply the changes. This is very tedious.

Conclusion:

While there are different ways to create a BlueHost WordPress staging environment on BlueHost, it’s always recommended to use their inhouse staging facilities for a couple of reasons:

  • Easy to set up and maintain.
  • Very simple to deploy changes to your site.

Thanks for reading the guide. Please let us know in the comments below shall you require any assistance. That was it all about setting up a BlueHost WordPress Staging Environment.

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