How to Create a WordPress Staging Site? (3 Easy Ways)

How to Create a WordPress Staging Site

Don’t know how to create a WordPress staging site? Then, you’ve come to the right place. 

A WordPress staging site is a test site where you can make all the necessary changes without causing any damage to your live site. It’s the development environment where you can do modifications for testing purpose. When everything is final on the staging site, you can apply the changes to your online website.

There are many different ways to create a staging site, out of which, we’ve discussed 3 easiest ways in this article. So, read ahead to learn more.

What is a WordPress Staging Site and Why Create One? 

Let’s start by introducing a WordPress staging site first. Sometimes, when you install new themes, plugins, add content, or update existing themes, your live site might break due to some technical error. And you might end up losing your important data. 

So, what can you do to overcome this problem? It’s simple, you just have to create a WordPress staging site. As mentioned above, a staging site is like a backup site for experimenting things. Furthermore, you can push the staging site into a production site as well.

Additionally, here are some of the reasons why creating a WordPress staging site is so important: 

  • The first and foremost advantage of a staging site is that you can experiment with themes and plugins as much as you want, without hampering your production website. 
  • Additionally, you can catch bugs and errors without risking your live site. 
  • There are multiple ways you can create a WordPress staging site. You can create one locally or online based on your preferences. 

With that said, let’s discuss how to create a WordPress staging site in detail below.


How to Create a WordPress Staging Site? (3 Easy Ways)

Here are three easy and simple ways you can create a WordPress staging site. 

  1. Creating WordPress Staging Site on Your Hosting Dashboard
  2. Using Plugins to Create WordPress Staging Site
  3. Make a WordPress Staging Site Manually

Below, we’ve discussed all the methods in detail. So let’s begin.

1. Creating WordPress Staging Site on Your Hosting Dashboard

The very first method to create a staging site is using your web host. Fortunately, many hosting companies provide a 1-click staging site solution to create a WordPress staging site.

Among the many companies, Bluehost is one of the most popular and trusted hosting providers

Bluehost Banner (Bluehost Review)

To create a staging site on Bluehost, first of all, log in to the WordPress dashboard. Then from the dashboard, navigate to Bluehost >> Staging.

Staging Site For WordPress Bluehost

This will redirect you to Bluehost’s staging site wizard page. There, simply click on the ‘Create Staging Site’ button. 

Create Staging Site

Now, Bluehost will prepare the staging environment for you. After the staging site is created, there is a success message along with a link to visit your staging site. 

Click on the ‘Go To Staging Site’ button and it takes you to the staging site. You can see a red button at the top of the admin bar that indicates you’re working on the staging site. 

Create WordPress Staging Site Bluehost

Now, you can go ahead and experiment with the new themes and plugins. 


2. Using Plugins to Create WordPress Staging Site

The second method to create a WordPress staging site is by installing a WordPress plugin. Again, there are so many staging plugins available in the market that choosing one might be overwhelming.

Don’t worry, we are here to help you with that as well. 

For this method, we are using the WP Staging plugin. With this plugin, you can create a staging site with a push of a button. Furthermore, if you use WP Staging, all the data of your site belongs to you and stays on your server. 

WP Staging WordPress Plugin

Now that we’ve mentioned the basics of the WP Staging plugin, let’s create a staging site using it.

Firstly, log in to the WordPress dashboard. From your WordPress dashboard, install and activate the plugin. 

Here’s an article with a full guide on how to install a WordPress plugin

Once the plugin is activated, navigate to the WP Staging tab from the menu located on the left. Next, click on the ‘Create New Staging Site’ button. 

WP Staging Create New WordPress Staging Site

Then, write the name of the staging site. For example, you can write ‘staging’ to make it recognizable. 

Besides, you can select all the files and databases or you can just choose the ones you want to clone. Now, simply click on the ‘Start Cloning’ button. 

Cloning

The cloning process might take a couple of minutes depending upon the size of your website. After the process is completed, you can see the successful message on the page.

Now, to open your staging site, you can simply click on the ‘Open Staging Site’ button. 

Open Staging Site

Then, it opens the next tab and you can see the login form. Enter your login credentials – username and password (same as your live site). 

Login Credentials

Later, you can type the URL HTTP://your domain name/staging/wp-admin. Then, enter your credentials and log in to your staging site. 

On your WordPress staging site, you can do experiments, install new themes, plugins, and add content without the fear of breaking your production site. 

Additionally, you can differentiate between your live site and staging site by looking at the color of the admin bar. The staging site always has an orange admin bar. 

WordPress Staging Site Admin Bar

Here are some other popular staging plugins you can use to create a WordPress staging site – 10 best WordPress staging sites.


3. Make a WordPress Staging Site Manually

The last method to make a WordPress staging site is manual. It’s important to note that this method is for advanced users and has a more complex process than the methods mentioned above. 

Now, here is a step-by-step guide on how you can create a WordPress staging site manually. 

Step I: Create a Subdomain Through cPanel 

First of all, log in to your cPanel. To login to your cPanel, type the URL HTTP://your domain name/cPanel on the browser. Next, enter your login credentials – username and password.

cPanel Login

Then, on your cPanel account under the ‘Domains’ section click on the ‘Subdomains’ option. 

Create WordPress Staging Site cPanel Subdomain

Now, go ahead and create a subdomain. You can name the subdomain something like ‘Staging’. Also, select your domain from the dropdown menu. The ‘document root’ is automatically filled as public_html/staging.

Finally, click on the ‘Create’ button.  

Create Subdomain

Step II: Add an FTP Account 

The next step is to create an FTP account for your staging site. You can find this option under the ‘Files’ section on your cPanel. 

Create WordPress Staging Site FTP Accounts

Fill up all the necessary information such as your domain, password, and make sure the Directory matches your subdomain directory (Document Root). After filling the form, click on the ‘Create FTP Account’ button. 

Create FTP Account

Step III: Upload Files to Staging Site

With the help of the FTP account, you can upload the files of your site. In order to run an FTP account and upload files, you need an FTP client.

One of the most popular FTP clients is FileZilla. Hence, you need to download and install FileZilla on your computer. 

After that, from the cPanel, navigate to Files >> FTP Accounts. You can see the FTP account (Staging) you just created.

Now, click on the ‘Configure FTP Client’ link. 

Configure FTP Client

Then, you can see the FTP Username, server, and port under the ‘Manual Settings’ option. Copy that information and save it for later use. 

The next thing you need to do is open FileZilla. You can see these textboxes at the top of the FileZilla account – Host, Username, Password, and Port. 

FileZilla

On the Host text box, enter your IP address. You can find your IP address on the right side of your cPanel.

Create WordPress Staging Site cPanel IP Address

Then on the Username text box, enter the FTP username you saved earlier. Similarly, enter the password of your FTP account, and enter 21 in the Port text box. Lastly, hit the ‘Quick Connect’ button.

Once you’re logged in, you can see the message ‘Status: Logged In’. 

On the left side is the local side where all the files from your desktop are stored. Similarly, the right side is server-side.

Now, download the latest version of WordPress from WordPress.org. After you’ve downloaded WordPress, you can see the file on the left side of FileZilla. Right-click on the WordPress file and select the ‘Upload’ option.  

Upload

Additionally, upload the following folders from your existing WordPress site to the staging site. 

  • ../wp-contents/uploads
  • ../wp-contents/themes
  • ../wp-contents/plugins

These files contain all the data, themes, and plugins of your live website. 


Step IV: Export/Import Database

Now, it’s time to export the database from your live website and import it to the staging site. Simply login to ‘phpMyAdmin’ from the ‘Databases’ section in your cPanel.

Databases

After logging in, click on the database of your live website, and click on the ‘Operation’ option in the menu that appears at the top. Now, on the text box named ‘Copy Database to’, enter the name of your staging database’s name. 

If you’ve not created a database for your staging site, you can click on the ‘Create Database before copying’ option.

Also, make sure you’ve ticked the ‘Structure and data’ option so that all data and structures are copied. Lastly, click on the ‘Go’ option located at the bottom right. 

Create WordPress Staging Site New Database

Once the new database is created you can see it on the left side. Besides that, you can see that all the database tables of your live site are copied to the database of your staging site. 


Step V: Edit wp-config.php file 

Finally, it’s time to edit the wp-config.php file on your staging site to use the new database details. 

From your cPanel navigate to Files >> File Manager. Click on the public_html file and search the folder ‘Staging’.

Next, search for the file wp-config.sample.php located on the right side. Download this file and make the necessary changes. 

For example, write the name of the database of the staging site you created earlier. Also, write the appropriate username and password.

Then, rewrite the file name from wp-config.sample.php to wp-config.php. Finally, upload it back to your server using an FTP account. 

Congratulations! You’ve successfully created a WordPress staging site using the manual method. If everything has gone right, you should be able to login to your staging site using the same username and password as your live site. 


Wrapping It Up!

And that’s all about how you can create a WordPress staging site. Above, we’ve mentioned 3 different easy ways to create a staging site for WordPress. 

The first method to create a WordPress staging site is by using Bluehost. Alternatively, you can also use the WP Staging plugin as another easy solution. The last method is to create a staging site manually. 

Comparatively, the first two methods are easier than the last one. Hence, if you don’t want to do extra work, you can choose between the first two methods. However, if you’re an advanced user, feel free to choose the last method. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned something new. While you’re here, you might also want to read up on how to backup your WordPress website and restore it from backup to prevent loss of vital data.

Lastly, share this article with your friends and family. Also, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for future updates. 

Disclaimer: Some of the links in the post may be affiliate links. So if you purchase anything using the link, we will earn affiliate commission.

Priyanka Panjiyar

An enthusiastic Technical Writer and a Blogger. She spends her free time painting, watching movies and series, and listening to music. You can also connect with her on Twitter @Priyanka9502 and LinkedIn @priyanka panjiyar

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