3 Ways to Setup a WordPress Testing Environment

I am a big fan of having a testing environment that is sperate from your production environment (the live site). If you are not sure that you should have a testing environment you can read a post I wrote that explains why you should have a WordPress testing environment. Below are three ways that you can setup a WordPress testing environment.

Second Hosting Account

The first way is to set up a second hosting account that is only used for site development and testing. You can set up a quality hosting account with Site5, Lunarpages, or SiteGround. All three of these companies are a great choice for setting up a second hosting account that is only for testing.

SiphonLabs

The second option is to set up a development, staging, and hosting lab at SiphonLabs.com. With this option you development sites and production sites are hosted with the same company. You develop, upgrade, or make any other file related changes on your development site and then inject the changes to the staging area. From staging you can push you changes to the production(live) site. This option will help to improve your productivity once you get used to the workflow.

Updated July 30, 2013 – SiphonLabs is no longer available for WordPress powered sites. Sad but true. So if you know of a hosting solution for development, staging, and hosting leave me the name in the comments.

Local Web Server

The third option is to setup a web server on your local computer. This is the easiest and most cost effective way to set up a WordPress testing environment. If you are on a PC you can setup your local web server using WAMP. If you are a MAC user you can setup your local web server using MAMP.

When you have to manage a website, a testing environment is a must have. What other ways are there to set up a WordPress testing environment?

Why You Should Setup A WordPress Testing Environment

WAMP It Up Kindle Version

I am a firm believer that you should keep your plugins, small packages of code that can add a discreet and focused functionality to a WordPress website, updated. But I also believe that you should test updates and try new plugins in a development/testing environment before going live. Your wordpress testing environment can be on a remote server with a hosting company or on a local server.

A remote server would be if you were to purchase a domain name just for testing and set up an addon domain with your hosting company. That could be your testing environment that you set up just like your live site. Just be sure to block the search engines from your testing site.

Another option is to convert your local computer into a server. You can install WAMP which includes Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Then you can make all the changes you want and test until your heart is content. No one ever has to see your test website on your local computer.

Then all you have to do is install WordPress. I suggest you make a backup of your live site using Backup Buddy. Then use the full backup to create your testing environment. This way you have a complete duplicate of your live website. You can test all changes to plugins before you make the changes live.

Remember if you take down your testing website for a few hours nothing is lost. But if your live website goes down for a few hows you are losing money!

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