A staging website is a test site you can use to try 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.
Difference between staging a WordPress or DreamPress site
Don’t have DreamPress yet?
To upgrade your WordPress site to DreamPress, please visit the following article:
DreamPress already includes the ability to stage your website, so the instructions in this article are not necessary. See the following articles to learn more about using staging with DreamPress:
- How to stage a DreamPress site
- Copying your DreamPress site to Staging to test changes
- Publishing your changes from Staging to your live DreamPress site
With your standard DreamHost WordPress install, you'll need to manually create the staging site.
Creating the staging WordPress site
These instructions assume you've either installed WordPress manually or by using the DreamHost WordPress installer. This also assumes that your WordPress site is on Shared, VPS, or Dedicated Hosting.
For the rest of this guide, it's assumed your website is example.com and the staging site is example.dreamhosters.com.
To stage a WordPress site, you'll need to manually create a duplicate of it. Follow the steps below in order to create a copy of your site.
- Create a new dreamhosters.com subdomain. You can name it anything you like. This guide uses the name example.dreamhosters.com. It may take a few hours for the DNS to update, but once it does, you should see a 'Coming Soon' page.
- Copy the contents of example.com to example.dreamhosters.com. You can use the following article to accomplish this:
If you followed the steps in that article, your domain is not only copied to the new site, but the URLs in the database are also updated.
This is very important since every WordPress database has hardcoded URLs that need to match your website name.
- At this point, your example.dreamhosters.com site should be an exact copy of example.com. You can now install and test anything you like.
- When you've got your example.dreamhosters.com site set up exactly how you would like, it's time to move that data back to your live website at example.com.
Moving the staged site back to the live site
To move your staged site back to your live site, you can just repeat the step you previously took to copy the site:
The article above will show you how to import the data back into your live website and change the URLs in the database.
Once complete, your live website will be updated with the content from your staging site.