A Beginner’s Guide to Website Staging 

A Beginner’s Guide to Website Staging 

Maintaining a website is an ongoing and never-ending process. Even after you have built your website, you’ll have to continue to update it and make adjustments indefinitely.  

And you’ll need to figure out a way to test those changes without negatively affecting your website or its users. One of the best ways to do this is to create a staging website, also called a testing or development website. This is your website’s standalone copy. 

You can use this copy to try new themes and plugins, test out bug fixes, and plan the changes well before implementing them on your live website 

Learn you need to know about staging websites, including why they are so useful and how you can create one.  

 An Introduction to Website Staging  

When you begin creating a regular website, the first thing to do is to select a domain and a website hosting plan. These steps are mandatory to get your website online so that people can visit and access it through their browsers.  

Though a staging site is like a live site in several ways, it serves a different purpose. It ensures that all new changes deployed from the previous environments are working as expected before the website goes live.  

Primarily, staging sites have two forms: either a carbon copy of an existing website or an entirely new, blank website. They can be hosted online—but marked as private—or completely offline and stored on a local computer.  

But why create one? Let’s see a few major reasons below.  

Benefits of Creating a Staging Site 

Staging sites allow for innovation and experimentation without risking the actual business. Think about a company’s research and development part where new products are developed and tested outside the public view. That’s how staging environments work.  

The following reasons also call for creating test sites: 

1. Facilitate experimentation 

The features of staging make it possible to experiment with changes or tweak existing features to see what works without compromising your website and the business.  

For example:  

  • If you want to try out a new API, a staging site will allow you to test if it works.  
  • If you want to test whether a new user interface is better than the existing one, you can perform A/B testing and use the actual data to make the best decision.  
  • You can perform SEO testing to see how your website performs with search engines. 

 2. Catch errors and bugs before going live 

A staging site adds an additional layer of troubleshooting before site visitors get to see the live site, making it easier to build a website and get it reviewed by the stakeholders, developers, and testers. This process is important as it helps pinpoint and rectify errors and issues in site design and functionality.  

3. Easy to set up  

Cloning an existing website is not difficult as such. The website development time from beginning to end is low and involves a small investment of time and resources. WordPress, in particular, makes it seamless to create one.  

How to Create a Staging Site and Take It Live 

While the exact staging process may differ across hosting providers, all of them work in a similar way. Here’s a step-by-step process to create a staging website: 

On your WordPress dashboard or cPanel, find an option for Staging. 

Create your staging website 

Choose the website you want to copy and select the option to stage, which may appear as “Create Staging Copy” or something similar.  

Select if you want to password-protect this cloned website in the staging environment. It is important to do this because otherwise, Google or other search engines may start indexing this staging copy and show your website visitors the incomplete website. And the indexing of an incomplete website can affect your SEO negatively.  

Make the changes  

Click on the button or link provided by your web hosting provider, which will take you to the staging website you’ve just created. Usually, the URL of your staging website appears similar to that of your live website, but with a string on the front for signifying that it is in a staging environment.  

For example, it will read as staging1.website.com. Now, you can safely download new themes and plugins or simply update your existing features.  

Take your staging site live 

This process will overwrite your current website and allow all your website visitors to see your new website with all the changes you’ve made.  

Some web hosting companies may offer an advanced push-to-live option to soft test the new changes without erasing and overwriting your previous website forever. This way you won’t hamper your website with incompatible updates and changes. Even if your hosting company does not provide this option, you can restore your website’s backup version to fix it.  

Make the Most of Your Staging Environment  

That’s it! You are done creating your staging site. If your website is small, the entire process may take just a few minutes, especially if you perform routine maintenance and update plugins regularly. But if you have a large website and need a lot of redesigning and development, cloning a website may take longer. 

Make sure to find a web hosting provider, like BigRock, that provides you with a convenient option to create staging sites in a snap.  

WRITTEN BY:

A SEO & Content Specialist who enjoys road trips and excels in the web hosting industry. Let's drive your online presence to new heights.

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