Back in 2018, in response to the overwhelming user requirements, we enhanced the staging feature and the response was very encouraging.
The ability to test changes in the codebase, new extensions, plugins, and themes without breaking the live sites gives a lot of power to the users who could now better integrate Cloudways into their business processes- and development workflows.
Here’s How Our Staging Feature Works
In order to better highlight the current update, it is important to highlight how the staging feature works. I will present a bird’s eye view of the process and urge you to launch a Cloudways managed server and experience the staging feature for yourself.
When a staging application is created, the codebase and the database of the original application is cloned to a new application. In technical terms, this is known as “pulling” the code. The staging application is independent of the original application and could be modified to fit the test cases.
The staging application allows you full control so that you can easily edit code, create posts and pages, add/update new plugins, change themes and other website settings. Once the user is satisfied with the staging application, the codebase and database can be “pushed” to the live server.
Users Requested More…
About a year after the (re)introduction, we started receiving user feedback that while the staging is a productive feature, websites with huge datasets or multiple databases (or databases with a large number of tables) were not able to use the feature to the fullest.
Since the Push/Pull functionality was applied to the entire database, these users were seeing several challenges in syncing databases between the staging and live applications.
The problem had two overlapping aspects. Because the operation was applied to the entire database, critical information in tables of the live database was being missed out during the staging operation.
This was a limitation for applications such as ecommerce stores, membership sites, and mission-critical databases where information is being continuously updated. As a result, when the data was “pushed” from staging to live server, the information in the database was overwritten.replaced by the older version.
Here’s how one user worded the issue:
Presenting the Improved Cloudways Staging
With the recent improvements, users now have control over the database tables and the sync process. Now while creating the staging, users can select the tables to be synced with the staging. With this check, the users can exclude the tables that they consider mission-critical for the business.
Ecommerce stores can now exclude tables such as order details that continue to receive important data and need to be protected. When pushing data from staging, these tables can be excluded and thus would not be overwritten on the live store.
Share Your Thoughts
As always, we listen to our users and enhance the Platform features so that the users can better utilize them and see Cloudways as an essential part of their business processes.
We ask you to give the improved staging feature a try and let us have your thoughts on how it fits into your processes and what should we work on next.
For more information on how to create your staging environment, read our documentation here.