Congratulations, you’ve decided to create a genuinely independent WordPress staging and development website with WP Staging.
That is the first step to become a better WordPress developer and site owner and to ensure that none of your site changes will ever break your production website.
Before you create a testing website, please think first if you like to make your staging site available from a subdirectory of your production site or if you want to make it accessible from a subdomain or different domain.
Staging site in a subfolder:
Staging site in a subdomain or entire new domain:
https://staging.example.com or https://newexample.com
Both variants are possible with WP Staging Pro!
Create a Staging Site in a Subfolder
That is the easiest and fastest way to create a testing WordPress website, and it is the default option that is supported even by WP Staging basic version.
Note: Depending on your WP STAGING version your user interface may look slightly different.
Go to WP Staging > Sites and click on CREATE NEW STAGING SITE.
Add the name of the staging site and ignore Advanced Settings:
That makes the staging site available from the link https://domain.com/development.
Exclude Plugins and Tables
Under DB Tables and Files, you can include and exclude individual database tables and folders from the cloning process.
For example, that is useful if you have large tables created by web statistic plugins, security plugins, or mailing plugins that contain thousands or even millions of rows of data like IP addresses, login attempts, mailing list subscribers. Excluding those tables will increase the cloning speed tremendously.
Advanced Settings (WP Staging Pro Only)
This optional section allows you are choosing several things like:
- Custom destination directory
- Custom destination hostname in a subdomain like dev.example.com
- Clone into another external database
Clone the production website to another database instead of using the WordPress production site’s default main database or/and chose a custom destination folder instead of using a subfolder within the root of your production website.
For example, if your production website is located in
/public_html and you label the staging site
development then the testing website must be copied to
/public_html/development to become available.
If you want to specify the Target Directory of your staging site, you need to adjust the Target Hostname as well:
For instance, your production site is located in
/public_html and you’ve set the Target Directory to
/public_html/wordpress/development it would help if you changed the Target Hostname to
Clone to a Subdomain or another Domain
You can clone the production website to a subdomain or different domain as long as the path to that new (sub)domain is located on the same server, and the live site can access this folder:
- Create a (sub)domain, like
dev.example.comfrom within your hosting panel (cPanel or similar).
- Create a new folder on your server and map the new (sub)domain to this directory. That folder must be writable by the PHP and webserver process. (www-data or similar with permissions 755)
- Open WP STAGING Pro and click on Create New Staging site.
- Open WP STAGING advanced settings and add the new target hostname and the directory.
Bonus: If you are not sure if the subdomain points to the correct path, you can use that little trick:
- Create a text file and name it test.txt.
- Add some content into that file like “test text.” Use a file manager plugin or FTP to do so.
- Copy that file into the path you think is correct.
- Open the file from URL example.com/test.txt.If the path was correct. You could see the text “test text” in your browser.
Cloning to a Separate Database
If you do not tell WP STAGING to use a separate database for the cloning process, all database tables will be copied to the main database, prefixed by a string like
wpstg[id]_. That prefix separates the tables belonging to the production site from the ones belonging to the staging site.
That prefix makes sure that the staging website is completely independent of the production website. So the WordPress default database object
wpdb has no access to the staging website, and the staging website has no access to the production site.
If you still want a little more safety and separation between both sites, you can copy the database tables to another database.
To do so, activate the checkbox Copy Staging Site to Separate Database and enter the input fields’ database credentials. Make sure that you have created that other database in advance. WP Staging cannot do that for you due to database permission restrictions.
You can usually create a new database from your hosting dashboard (Cpanel) from the database section.
When you are done, test the connection by using the Test Database Connection link:
Start Cloning Process
Click on START CLONING and watch WP Staging creating the clone of your WordPress website automatically:
Depending on the size of your website, this can take a few minutes or a little longer. When you did that, you’ll get the screen as below:
From that page, you can directly open the staging site by clicking on the Open button, and you will also get an explanation which tells you that permalinks on the staging site are disabled due to technical reasons.
Tip: If you use the Apache web server, try to activate the permalinks again on the staging site. That should be working well.
If you like to open your staging site the next time, go to
WP-Staging > Sites.
You’ll get there all previously created staging sites.
Btw. You can create as many sites as your webspace allows.
More useful links:
- Delete a Staging Site
- Push Changes From Staging to Production
- Activate Permalinks on Staging Site
- Skip WooCommerce Orders and Products
- Can not log in to Staging Site