Changes are inevitable, and there is always the risk of something going wrong, especially on WordPress. Thus, testing changes on a live site is not advisable since it can negatively affect how everything works. Fortunately, there is a fix for this issue. You may create a staging environment to try out new plugins, content tweaks, or even whole website redesigns. This is much better than recklessly deploying updates on your main website. Due to this reason, it is best to know some WordPress Staging Plugins for test driving WordPress.
Eight WordPress Staging Plugins To Use
WordPress staging is an act of duplicating a live website to test any updates or big new features that you intend to introduce in a secure setting. This process is perfect to avoid the public from seeing the possible errors you may encounter while doing changes.
Usually, your host will determine how you set up your staging environment. It is best to check your provider’s knowledge base or contact support for guidance. If your plan supports ‘one-click’ staging, activating your development area with a single click from your account will be easier. However, there are instances when a server does not offer staging, or a local test site is insufficient. Thus, installing a WordPress staging plugin is advisable.
1. WP StageCoach
It is one of the most common WordPress staging plugins as well as one of the best staging plugins developers use. WP StageCoach saves your staging site on its own server, not on the server of your live site. Therefore, you don’t have to be concerned about the staging site using resources on your live site, or worst, slowing it down. It is a paid plugin that is compatible with most web hosts.
The most impressive part about WP StageCoach is its ability to integrate your staging site’s databases with the live one. You are merging the database, not overwriting it. Thus, you don’t have to worry about new subscribers, contact information, or basket items getting lost on your live site.
2. WP Staging
Second on the list is also powered by WordPress, which is easy and free to use. However, it’s only best to use it for minor changes. When you need a free staging site to test out plugins or basic upgrades, WP Staging is a great tool to use. You can quickly establish a staging site with a click of a button without having to fiddle with domain settings or extra WordPress installs.
However, a few significant issues with this plugin prevent any further development. The same setup that produces the primary WordPress site also produces the staging sites. It stores its own tables in the main database itself and alters dbprefix to do this. WordPress permits this, but it’s not a good idea to do it. Additionally, it keeps every file in a subfolder on the main website. This is not a practical decision in the long term and might ruin a website’s cleanliness.
3. WP Time Capsule
Third on the list is an excellent backup plugin with built-in staging capabilities. WP Time Capsule can handle huge websites with ease. It disassembles the website and assembles all elements to build a staging site to guarantee that nothing is left behind. It is a relatively new backup-focused plugin with staging capabilities. It performs a backup of your complete website and then produces a staging site with the backup copy.
However, this WordPress staging plugin is only available in pro version. Also, the staging files and databases are saved in your own storage accounts, such as Google Drive and Dropbox.
4. BlogVault Staging
BlogVault offers a variety of WordPress-related services. It features free staging as well as administration capabilities for experts, in addition to making site backups. Thus, it is an excellent option for most users. The best part of creating a WordPress staging environment with BlogVault is that it’s only one click.
That being said, it takes a few seconds to set up everything. Additionally, to guarantee that your live site is fully unaffected, a staging site is built on a separate server from your live site. This WordPress staging plugin functions with every web host because the staging site is kept on BlogVault servers.
This is one of the WordPress staging plugins that makes it simple to migrate a WordPress site to a new server or domain. BackupBuddy’s WordPress migration tool is extremely popular among WordPress developers. This is perfect if you are one of those who construct bespoke sites for customers locally or on a temporary domain before migrating the complete site to a real domain. It backs up your whole WordPress installation, ensuring you have a copy of all the files that make up your WordPress website.
However, setting up a staging site using BackupBuddy is challenging. You must be familiar with editing the wp-config file, a crucial file that is best left alone. The file’s tiniest error might result in the collapse of your website.
Although BoldGrid is not a staging plugin, one of its key features is staging. While most staging plugins offer selective merging choices, this one offers selective staging options. Hence, you have the option of staging the full site or only a portion of it. This is useful if your live site is a big one.
Nevertheless, setting up a staging site using Boldgrid is a challenging task. Way too many steps are involved. It’s just tedious and time-consuming; it’s not actually challenging. However, the plugin has some positive aspects and a responsive support team.
Duplicator is a widely used migration tool. It does not provide staging but may absolutely be used to stage a site.
You must first download a duplicate of your website. After that, upload it to a staging location using the plugin to build a staging site. However, the disadvantage of this WordPress staging plugin is that you must first set up this staging site before utilizing this workaround. The website could be hosted locally, on a subdomain, or even on a completely different server.
8. All-in-One WP Migration
The All-in-One WP Migration plugin focuses on migration. It’s a very popular plugin, and you can construct a staging site with it like you do with Duplicator. Download a duplicate of your website, upload it to a staging location that has been prepared, and test it. And then back again after you’re through.
All-in-One WP Migration is a great free plugin, but if your website is larger than 512MB, you’ll need to upgrade to the premium plan. However, let’s be realistic: your website is far bigger than 512 MB.
WordPress Staging Plugins: A Few Takeaways
A WordPress staging site has several advantages. Specifically, you must be able to deliver the finest depiction of your brand to your target audience. Therefore, keep in mind that you should also carefully pick which WordPress staging plugin to use.
However, regardless of your chosen plugin, we highly recommend having a staging site. This is to safeguard your brand’s image while optimizing your website design for a smooth user experience.
We know that business owners and managers don’t have much spare time for different projects. For this reason, 465-Media.com manages the entire website development process for you. Speak to a web specialist immediately by calling 603-505-8033, or send us a brief message, and we’ll get back to you!