A staging website is a test site you can use to test out changes you'd like to see on your live website. For example, you could test new themes, plugins, and upgrades to see if anything negatively affects your site's functionality. This allows you to work on the staging site while not affecting the live website.
How do I create a staging site?
You have two options to duplicate your live site into a staging website.
Option #1 — Copy your DreamPress site to a staging website
This option copies your DreamPress site into a staging website that can either be on a DreamPress plan or a Shared plan. If you want to copy to a site on your Shared hosting plan, that WordPress site must have been installed using the One-Click Installer. View the following article for instructions on how to copy your site:
Option #2 — Import your DreamPress site into a staging website
This option imports content from your DreamPress site into a staging site that is also on a DreamPress Pro plan. For this to work, the staging website must be on a DreamPress plan. View the following article for instructions on how to import your site:
Password protecting your staging site
Search engines will penalize your site for duplicate content, so it's important to password protect your staging site so you do not lose SEO ranking.
Adding an SSL certificate
Depending on the type of plan you're copying to, you may need to add an SSL Certificate:
- Shared hosting — the One-Click Install of WordPress does not automatically include an SSL certificate, so you must manually add one.
- DreamPress — an SSL certificate is automatically generated for all DreamPress sites.
As stated in the 'How do I password protect my site?' article, it's important that your site uses and SSL certificate to protect the password login prompt. View the following article for instructions on how to add a 'Let's Encrypt' certificate to your WordPress site on Shared hosting.
Transferring changes to your live site
Be careful when you copy from your staging site to your live site: you could potentially lose/overwrite any changes on your live site you've made since you started working on the staging site.
If you do choose to copy from the staging site, make sure to backup your live site just to be safe.