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What is a WordPress staging site and why do I need one?

Just what is a staging site anyway?  You might have seen WordPress web hosts offering staging sites, or might have heard WordPress developers talking about staging sites…. So what is a staging site, and why do you need one?

A staging site is a copy of your live site, which you can use for testing changes to your site.  Sometimes staging sites are also called sandboxes or development environments.  The idea behind a staging site is that you don’t want to do anything to your website that might break it or otherwise cause problems for your site visitors.  Your website needs to be available to your visitors 24/7. Whether you have a busy e-commerce site that gets dozens of orders per hour, or whether you want to make sure your blog is up for your perpetually-traveling uncle who only has internet access once per week, your site should be up and functional all the time.

If you ever need to do anything to the site that might either take the site down or make the site less than fully-functional, even for a few minutes, you can use a staging site instead.  You can test changes on your staging site, and then make the changes on your live site, or, even better, import the changes from your staging site to your live site.

Test WordPress Updates

One of the best uses of a staging site is to test updates to WordPress.  It is rare for a WordPress update to break a site, but it does happen sometimes.  It can sometimes take a lot of work to figure out why a WordPress update breaks a site, and even longer to fix it, so it’s a good idea to test WordPress updates on a staging site so that you can make sure the update will go smoothly on your live site.

Test Plugin Updates

The same thing goes for plugin updates.  You should always keep your plugins up to date, but you want to make sure that updates will work without affecting the functionality of your site.  A staging site is a great way to test plugin updates.

Switch Themes without Disrupting Your Current Site

A staging site is even more important if you are switching themes.  Switching themes can sometimes be a pretty fast process, or it can take weeks or even months.  Either way, you want to make sure that your site doesn’t look broken while you’re making the switch.  You can use a staging site to set up the new theme, so that you don’t have to worry about how long it is taking.

Staging Sites: Your New WP Best Friend

One of the really amazing things about the internet is that it is available worldwide, 24/7.  That also means that as a website owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that your website is fully functional, 24/7.  A staging site can help you do that by letting you test out changes to your site on a copy instead of on the live site.

So what are you waiting for? Use WPStagecoach to build a staging site today! Click her to find out how.