Staging environments have become an essential tool for WordPress users who seek to enhance their website development process, minimise risks, and maintain a professional online presence. In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about accessing and using a staging environment in your WordPress website.


Understanding Staging Environments

In the world of web development, a staging environment serves as a critical component of the development and testing process. It's essentially a clone or replica of your live website, hosted on a separate server or directory, designed to facilitate a variety of tasks crucial to web development and maintenance.

Key Elements of Staging Environments

  • Replication: Staging environments replicate your live website, including all its files, databases, and configurations. This replication ensures that you're working with a precise copy of your website.
  • Isolation: The staging environment operates independently of your live site. This isolation is vital because it allows you to experiment with changes, test new features, or troubleshoot issues without affecting your live website's performance or functionality.
  • Testing Ground: Staging environments are essentially a safe and controlled testing ground. They allow you to make changes, install new plugins, update themes, or modify content in a risk-free environment. This process helps you identify and resolve issues before implementing changes on your live site.

Creating a Staging Environment in GHL WordPress

1. To create a staging environment, go to WordPress -> Dashboard -> Click on the Create Environment option under staging access

2. Once you click on it, your staging environment starts getting created. It will be ready in about 2-5 mins depending on the size of your WordPress Site. 

3. Once the staging environment is created, you can make all the necessary changes to your site and test it before publishing the changes to your live site.

4. After completing your modifications and testing, locate and click on the "Publish" button. A notification box will prompt you to confirm your decision. Upon confirming, your site will be published within the next 2 to 5 minutes.


5. Should you ever need to remove your existing staging environment and start afresh, simply click on the "Delete" button to initiate the process.

Best Practices for using the Staging Environment

  1. Regular Backups: Before making any significant changes in your staging environment, ensure you have recent backups of your live site. This precautionary measure allows you to restore your site if any issues arise during testing.
  2. Testing Checklist: Develop a testing checklist that outlines the specific elements, features, and functionalities you need to test. This checklist helps ensure comprehensive testing and prevents oversight.
  3. Content Review: Thoroughly review all content changes, including text, images, and multimedia elements, to ensure accuracy, consistency, and relevance.
  4. Reconciliation: Before publishing changes to the live site, reconcile any differences or conflicts between the staging and live environments. Ensure that all necessary updates have been synchronised.
  5. Cleanup: Regularly clean up your staging environment by removing outdated or unnecessary files, databases, and configurations. This helps maintain an efficient and clutter-free workspace.

    NOTE: Direct changes made in the live sites won’t get updated in Staging Environment site. 

Why Staging environments are essential for Web Development

  • Risk Mitigation: Web development often involves significant changes that could potentially disrupt your live site. Staging environments allow you to mitigate risks by thoroughly testing these changes before they go live.
  • Enhanced Workflow: Staging environments streamline your development workflow. They provide a dedicated space for testing and refining updates, ensuring that only polished and error-free changes make it to your live site.
  • Collaboration: For teams of developers, designers, and content creators, staging environments offer an efficient platform for collaborative work. Multiple team members can work on different aspects of the website simultaneously without interfering with one another's progress.
  • Quality Assurance: Staging environments are invaluable for quality assurance. They help you catch and rectify issues related to design, functionality, or content before your audience encounters them on the live site.

In summary, staging environments are a foundational element of web development. They provide a secure, controlled space for testing, experimenting, and refining website changes. By allowing you to isolate potential issues and assess the impact of changes, staging environments play a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth operation and continuous improvement of your online presence.