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Cloudways Staging 2.0: Test Your Site Without a Hitch Before Taking it Live

August 5, 2021

3 Min Read

From the beginning, the Cloudways staging environment was designed to let you develop and test as many staging sites as you want without running the risk of breaking your live sites. Of course, good design counts for nothing without incorporating user feedback. At Cloudways, we’re committed to listening to your commentary and notes about the services we provide, and use this to constantly upgrade our feature set.

In that vein, we’re thrilled to unveil our Staging 2.0, with extended functionality and the ability to exclude files when syncing staging to live! Read on, for a rundown of what’s new and improved.

What Was Missing in the Old Staging Environment?

While the Cloudways staging has always been designed for flexibility and enhanced control, we recognized there were some aspects that could do with some fine-tuning, specifically with regards to the default push logic for web files.

Users could easily perform an incremental push from stage to live. So, say you create a staging environment to resolve a plugin issue. During the debug period, you find your client has uploaded some new files, which you’ll want to keep on the live site. All you have to do is an incremental push from stage to live, which you could easily execute in the old environment.

Where the old environment failed, however, was during complete overwrites. Changes made to the staging version would not manifest on the live site. This would often necessitate the end user having to repeat their optimization on the live site. Additionally, users would be unable to exclude specific files and folders from the push operation.

The latest update resolves these core issues.

How Staging 2.0 Improves Functionality

With the new staging environment, you have complete control over the overwrite function. Say you created a staging site for optimization, and removed outdated files and obsolete plugins in the staging environment. Once you’ve verified everything is working on the stage site, you can push the changes to the live site with all of your optimization intact if you wish. 

Similarly, if you want to do an incremental push, but exclude certain files and folders, you can now do so. Say you created a staging site to debug a plugin issue. Before you push the changes on the live site, you find that a client removed some documents on the live site while you were debugging. In the old version, if you pushed to the live site, those deleted documents would reappear. With Staging 2.0, you now have the option to exclude the deleted document folder from the push operation.

What You’ll See During an Overwrite

When users are pushing the web files, the default selector will be Overwrite; the destination site shall be overwritten by the source site by default. Here’s what it will look like to you:

What You’ll See During an Incremental Push

When users want an incremental push, just select the incremental push option. It’ll look like this:

 

When You Want an Incremental Push and Exclude Files/Folders as Well

In this case, select the incremental push option. Apply the check box on Exclude files/folders and specify the path to exclude files/folders. In this case, a customer can add as many exclude paths as they want. It’ll look like this:

  • To exclude folders, the user will add: wp-content/plugins/
  • To exclude files, the user will add: wp-content/object-cache.php

WooCommerce and Multisite Staging

The Cloudways user interface meshes great with WooCommerce users, with the staging functionality often cited as particularly handy. Staging 2.0 upgrades that functionality, so WooCommerce users can now successfully push changes to the live site without messing up any related WooCommerce tables, files or code. 

So say your WooCommerce live site has new orders, and uses incremental ID order. Any changes you make to the staging site can now be pushed to the live site without affecting the incremental ID on the database.

The same also applies to multisite staging.

To Conclude

Staging 2.0 enhances the functionality of the staging process on the Cloudways Platform, offering users increased flexibility and control over the sites they take live from staging. It minimizes chances of code conflict, and provides users an additional option to exclude files. To learn more about creating a staging environment with Cloudways, refer to this comprehensive guide.

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Manal Y

Manal works in digital marketing at Cloudways, where she shines up content primarily by torturing the Oxford comma. After hours, you can find her rambling about books, movies and music, and ranting about media and politics to anyone foolhardy enough to listen.

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