Now that it is easy to create staging sites, I find myself finding uses for them that I hadn’t anticipated.
Testing changes: The obvious and common use of staging sites is to test out your changes. For instance, a client requests that I make some changes to the site, but they aren’t sure if they’re going to like how it looks, so I make the changes on the staging site, get the approval from the client, and then move the changes to the live site.
Testing updates: Another obvious use of WP Stagecoach is testing updates to plugins and WordPress. If you’re worried that an update will break your site, you can make a staging site, do the update, make sure the site looks okay, and then transfer your changes to the live site.
Using FTP when you don’t have FTP access: Sometimes I end up working on sites where I don’t have FTP access. If I need to upload new theme files, I need FTP access. Fortunately, if you create a staging site with WP Stagecoach, you get FTP access to the staging site. So I can create a staging site, FTP my files to the staging site, and then move the changes to the live site.
Letting someone work on your site when you don’t want them to access the live site: There might be cases where you want to let someone work on your site (blogging, developing, whatever), but because of security concerns you don’t want to give them access to your live site. You can let them do their thing on a staging site, and then move their changes to the live site.
Looking at the site before and after changes simultaneously: I ran into a weird use for a staging site… I was working on a site that had one of those mile-long theme options pages, and I needed to create a child theme. Activating the child theme would lose all of the customization on the options page. So I created a staging site, activated the child theme, and then copied and pasted all of those options from the parent theme on the live site to the child theme on the staging site.
I’m sure that the more I use WP Stagecoach, I’ll keep finding more uses for staging sites. Now that I can make staging sites easily, I want to use them all the time!