I believe that you’re continuously editing your WordPress site. I mean you’re always improving code and correcting styles for a better looking website. For sure, you’ve experienced the white screen of death several times earlier. To avoid that, you will need to work on a WordPress test site instead.
It’s always better to schedule and test changes first before deploying them on your site. Applying changes right away may break your site. This will make you spend extra hours of unnecessary work to correct what went wrong.
Thus, Working on a WordPress test site is always better to test those changes before breaking your site. In this article, I’m reviewing why you need to setup a WordPress test site and how you can do it?
Why WordPress Test Site?
Basically, A WordPress test site will help you against breaking your site. It reduces the risk of getting it fail since you will test changes first before hitting “Update”.
If you’re depending on your site for generating income, then you certainly hate to see it down. A failing website negatively affect SEO, traffic, and income. And the error caused by a recent update may take you a while to resolve. Here, a WordPress test site will be of a huge benefit to protect your site.
Let’s discover additional reasons why you may need to deploy a WordPress test site:
Learn more about WordPress Coding Environment: In an active site, you may not have the required boldness to test and play with WordPress code. You want to explore and learn more about it, but you still don’t have that technical skills yet. A WordPress test site will give you that opportunity without fear to break something.
Update your Site Look & User Experience: The test site will be a perfect place to try and retry different plugins and themes for the sake of finding the best for your site. It will give you the flexibility for finding what works the best for your site. It’s time to experiment alternate ideas, plugins, & themes.
Redirect Traffic to Test Site: Although it’s not that common, A test site is considered to be a second line of defense if anything went wrong with your main site. It will be optimal if you keep the test site on a separate domain and web hosting account. This will ensure you’re having an alternate in case your main site goes down.
Now that you’ve got to know why you need a test site, it’s time to delve deeper into the technical side and see how to setup a WordPress test site like a pro.
How To Setup WordPress Test Site?
There are several methods you can follow to setup a WordPress test site. Down below, I will be sharing more information about that and how to get backed up with a test site right today.
Please be noted that some of the Managed WordPress Hosting providers are providing test/staging site as a part of their service. You may need to check with your hosting provider first to see if that is the case for you.
1) Local WordPress Installation (LocalHost):
This is the most preferable option for me. I used to use a localhost server to setup a WordPress test site. I’m using MAMP. This tool simply can turn your computer into a local server where you can run WordPress and other PHP/MySQL softwares.
This local server will give you easy access to manage and run WordPress. It will also allow you to edit and play with coding without FTP access required (since it’s all on your local computer).
The only downside here is that you won’t be able to direct traffic to it. So if something wrong happened to your live site, The localhost version won’t serve you to direct your traffic to.
There are many other tools equivalent to MAMP such as:
All these tools allow you to setup local WordPress installations for testing purposes.
2) Sub-Domain or A New Domain Name:
Having a WordPress test site on a sub-domain or another domain name is also recommended. Using a sub-domain, You will end up having another copy of your site on (http://test.yourdomain.com). You may also want to use a separate domain name for testing purposes which is even better.
A separate domain name will allow you to redirect traffic in case anything wrong happened to your main site. You may use (.net, .org, or another .TLD) version of your current domain (http://yourdomain.org).
When using a separate domain name, You will be able to redirect traffic to that other domain when your main site is down. Although it will add up to the total cost, this certainly will pay off.
Setting up a test site on the sub-domain will be very easy to deploy since it’s all on the same hosting account. The downside with it is that if the main site goes down for any reason, the sub-domain will fail to. Accordingly, you can’t depend on it to redirect traffic to, However; you can rely on the other separate domain name instead.
3) Cloning Worpress Plugins:
These plugins are allowing you to clone your WordPress site with a click of a button. After installing the plugin, It will allow you to clone your current live site into other directories.
There are many tools that serves cloning such as:
These plugins are free & popular. These plugin will create an exact copy of your WordPress site on your existing hosting account. It will provide a test environment completely independent of your site that’s hidden from visitors and search engines.
Now, you’ve got to know how exactly to setup a WordPress staging site with ease. You don’t have to go over the hassle of coding anymore. With the above mentioned techniques and plugins, your life will be so much easier.
Setting up a test environment will save you time, money and potential headaches when a plugin breaks a live site. This way you will be having a lab for testing purposes besides your live site. Whenever you’ve got inspiration to update your site, you’re not anymore afraid of breaking your live site.
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I’d love to hear your experience getting your WordPress test site setup. Have you experienced any issues or problems along the way? Have you got to use another useful tool? I would appreciate hearing about your experience.
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