Create WordPress Staging Sites for Testing Features Before Live Deployment

by Mustaasam Saleem  August 2, 2017

For building a WordPress site, what you usually do? Build a localhost first then move WordPress from localhost to a server or build directly on your respective hosting provider? For instance, if your WordPress site is live but you want to update the current WordPress version or want to install new plugins/themes. In this situation, what will you do? Directly deploy changes on a live site? This is the first thought that comes to everyone’s mind.

Create WordPress Staging Sites

Well, this is not the best practice. Everyone is well aware of the fact that, it is always recommended not to deploy/test any changes to a live site. In fact, working on a staging site eliminates the chances of a negative impact of crashed site.

To overcome this issue, you need a hosting provider like Cloudways, that provides one click staging hosting to build an entire site before making it live.

What is a Staging Environment?

Staging environment also referred to as staging site or area. It is the clone of your complete live site. You first test changes on a staging site, if something goes wrong, you can fix it accordingly. Once everything works perfect, just deploy the changes on a live site.

How Cloudways Build a WordPress Staging Environment for You?

Every WordPress site launched on Cloudways comes with a staging environment where you can build a complete WordPress site. Once staging was done, point a domain and make your website live.

On Cloudways, the default staging URL of a WordPress site looks like:

If you want to install themes/plugins or use a custom code, then clone your WordPress application on the same or another server. Now, test the changes and if everything is fine; deploy it on a live site.

Clone WordPress Application

If you run a web agency or want to build WordPress sites for your clients, then cloning feature manages all your needs. Whenever your client requires modifications in the code, you just need to clone his WordPress application, test changes, and deploy it on a live site.

Let’s start the process of creating a clone of WordPress application.

I’m assuming you have already installed WordPress on Cloudways. Navigate to Applications tab from the top left menu bar and get into the WordPress application that you want to clone.

Applications List

Note: I named my WordPress application as “Breeze”.

Once you are in the application, hover on the bottom right orange button and select Clone App.

Clone Site on Cloudways

It will ask you to select the server in which you want to clone the WordPress application.

Select Server to Clone WordPress Site

Notification for Clone Done

And then, here you go!

Cloning process will take few minutes to clone the WordPress site. Once done, you will find the cloned WordPress site under Applications tab.

Cloned WordPress Site

Now, you are free to test anything for a live site.

Extend the Cloning Feature

Cloudways does not restrict you to clone applications only, but you can also clone, share or even transfer servers to another account on Cloudways.

  • Clone Server: Create a copy of an entire server within the same account.
  • Share Server: Share a server with another Cloudways user, the shared server will have a different server IP address.
  • Transfer Server: You can transfer a server to another Cloudways user containing the same server IP address.

The above features can be used as a staging server and are very useful if you own an agency and/or build sites for your clients.

If you are a developer and uses code editor to directly communicate with Git and deploy changes, then I would suggest you give a read to connect Sublime with Git and deploy changes to a live site.

To wrap up this tutorial, I would say that staging environment is the most important element in modern web development. If you have anything to ask regarding WordPress staging environment or creating a staging server, feel free to ask me in the comments section below.

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About Mustaasam Saleem

Mustaasam is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways – A Managed WordPress Hosting Platform, where he actively works and loves sharing his knowledge with the WordPress Community. When he is not working, you can find him playing squash with his friends, or defending in Football, and listening to music. You can email him at

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