Staging sites

As part of our Managed WordPress Hosting package, you can have access to a clone of your site as needed. These are designed to be short-term tools to help you experiment with new features or for our developers to showcase some work before it goes on to the live site.

These sites are called all sorts of things! We’re going to use two different terms for clones of your site, depending on how you intend to use them: staging deploy site and staging sandbox site.

1. Staging deploy site

If we are doing some development work on your site, and it’s quite technical or needs to be approved before launch, we will create a staging deploy site. That is, we create a clone of your site, make changes to the clone, then push those changes to the live site.

The staging site becomes the new True Site and is designed to completely overwrite the existing live site. This can create complications with a busy e-commerce or publisher site, where there are new transactions, content, and user interactions (like comments). 

It’s not as easy as copying data from one to the other, as every change on each site creates a unique and potentially overlapping change number. The longer a site is in staging, the larger the discrepancy between the two sites becomes.

Note that overwriting the live site is the standard for all staging sites, but if you are working with Performance Foundry developers, your deployment strategy may differ.

If you are making changes to a staging site, it’s important to keep in mind:

  • A staging site is designed to completely replace the live site.
  • The staging site becomes the new truth for what the website will look like, completely overwriting the current content.
  • While you have a staging site, it’s best to limit the amount of changes to the live site. Avoid publishing new content and freeze user interactions if possible.
  • It's in your best interest to have a staging site for the shortest amount of time possible, because any changes made to your live site will be lost.

If you would like a staging deploy site, we can do that as part of a development package. It's not included in your hosting package because deploying a staging site to live requires a fair amount of a developer's time! 

We usually suggest you pick up a half-day block of time, to cover creation of a clone of your site, some help with fixes on the staging site, deployment of your staging site to live, and post-launch troubleshooting. However, we can also put together a personalised quote for you.

2. Staging sandbox site

If you want to play around with changes to your site — perhaps see how some different fonts look — you might want a staging sandbox site. We create a clone in the same way we create a staging deploy site, but we never intend to push those changes to the live site.

You can make as many changes as you like to the sandbox site; it’s there to play around in. If you find a change you would like to make to your actual site, you can make it directly on the live site.

If you are making changes to a sandbox site, it’s important to keep in mind:

  • Any changes you want made the live site need to be manually copied over to your live site.
  • Staging sandbox sites are temporary only, they are not designed to be open for more than about two weeks. When we set one up, we schedule it to be deleted after a certain amount of time -- usually two weeks. We'll let you know before we delete it, but it's best to know exactly what you plan to do with the site and have time scheduled to do it before asking us to set one up for you.

By default, Performance Foundry will:

  • Ask search engines not to index the sandbox site.
  • Deactivate outgoing email.
  • Scrub user email data from the staging site.

If you want a staging sandbox site, we can set that up for you as part of your hosting package!

Fill in this form to get started

Whichever kind of staging site you'd like, please fill in this form to get started!

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