Make sure to use a hosting service that supports creating staging websites

Make sure to use a hosting service that supports creating staging websites

What is a staging site?

A staging website is nothing but a clone of the live website.

We create a staging version of our live website in order to:

  1. Test out new plugins and features of WordPress
  2. Check if the website is working as expected after performing WordPress, theme, and plugin updates.
  3. For troubleshooting why something went wrong with your website and fixing it.
  4. Display work in progress to clients

Honestly, any WordPress developer who has standards will never perform any changes on the live website directly.

They will first work on the staging site and only if everything goes well, they make the same changes on the live website.

To be more clear, a staging website is more like a lab rat that goes through a lot of medical experiments for us.

That's how important a staging website is for you.

Staging sites are provided by web hosting services

But sadly, most hosting services make it really difficult to create a staging website.

Sometimes, even after the staging site got created, it doesn't match the live site.

If that is the case, it kinda defeats the purpose of the staging site altogether, right?

So, before purchasing a hosting plan, ask customer support about the staging feature and how reliable it is.

If your web host doesn't have a good staging site feature, then I would recommend moving to a hosting service that provides good staging features.

Some of the best hosting services with good staging features are:

  1. WPEngine
  2. Cloudways
  3. Kinsta

In terms of staging site features, my favorite is WPEngine.

I can easily push my local changes to WPEngine's staging environment at the click of a button using LocalWP.

I can easily restore the latest version of the live website into the staging environment at the click of two buttons.

Not just that, WPEngine even takes the backups of a staging site and keeps every backup for 30 days.

I think WPEngine is the only service that provides backup retention for a staging site.

Case study time: WP Engine

I created a website for the Deloitte AI forum launch and the client was using WPEngine.

Only the client had access to the Live environment on WPEngine and I could only work with the staging environment.

In this scenario, WP Engine saved me a lot of time because I was easily able to push the locally developed website to the Staging environment.

And I was able to do that many times in a single day without any hiccups.

Once I pushed the local site to the staging environment, the client used to push the website changes from the staging environment to the live environment in a reliable way!

So, I never really needed access to the live environment.

The whole process was seamless.

Case study time: Cloudways

As a WordPress developer who work on a lot of WordPress projects, I face with client websites that don't support a staging website.

This is mainly due to Web hosting service limitations.

So,  I will be usually left with no choice but to use a third-party web hosting service that makes it easy for creating a staging website outside of the client's web host.

And this is where Cloudways is most helpful and it is affordable too.

Cloudways allows me to create a staging version of my client's website by just installing a plugin called Cloudways WordPress Migrator.

And the best part is, it is reliable.

You have no clue how much time-saving this is for me as a developer :)