It’s no secret that WordPress is one of the most popular site-building and content management systems (CMS) in the world. In fact, according to W3Techs, WordPress currently powers 34% of all websites on the internet. That’s a lot of websites! And it’s only growing more popular every day.
But with great popularity comes great responsibility. As a WordPress user, you need to be aware of the many dangers and security risks that come with using this platform. Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to protect your WordPress site, one of which is creating a staging site. The methods for creating a staging area vary from host to host.
In this article, we will cover methods for four WordPress hosting services, namely, the Bluehost, SiteGround, WP Engine, and Cloudways. Cut the learning curve with our step by step guide on how to migrate your WordPress site into a staging area!
Bluehost Staging Area Migration
Hi there, Bluehost users! Here’s your quick guide on how to establish your own Staging Area for your live site.
First, you need to login to your WordPress site’s admin area and click the ‘Bluehost’ button, then click the ‘Staging’ page. This will now bring you to the Bluehost’s staging site. The next you should do is to click on the ‘Create Staging Site’ button to continue.
Bluehost will now roll out the staging environment for your website. Once it’s done, the Blue host will send you a success message with a link to visit your staging site. (It appears that even your kid can do this staging stuff, huh?)
Next, click the ‘Go to the Staging Site’ button to continue.
You will now be brought to the admin area of your staging WordPress site. Look for the red button on top of the admin bar which informs you that you’re now operating in a staging environment.
You may now start and work with your “experiments” without affecting your live website on the other side.
Migrating your live site into a staging area might sound overly technical, but as you have seen with the Bluehost’s easy-peasy process, it only takes few clicks to make this stuff possible.
SiteGround Staging Area Migration
Here’s one for the SiteGround fans out there! This, too, rolls out as an easy step-by-step process if you’re considering making a staging area for your site.
First things first. Log in to your SiteGround cPanel dashboard. Next, scroll down your finger to ‘WordPress Tools’ section and click the ‘Staging’ icon.
It will now bring you to the staging sites page. From there, you now need to add your website to the staging site manager. When you’re done, you may now click the ‘Add WordPress’ button to continue.
On the next screen, select the URL where your website is installed.
Take note: If your WordPress site is installed in a sub-category, then you may add that in the field next to it and click on the ‘Add URL’ button to continue.
When the Staging Site manager detects your website, it will now add your website to the page. After this, you can now click on the ‘Create Staging Copy’ button to continue the process.
You will now see a pop up that allows you to input a Password Protect to your staging site (to prevent any unauthorized personnel from tweaking and ruining your staging site). Aside from preventing unauthorized access, it also prevents Google from indexing duplicate contents.
You can now provide a username/password and then click ‘Continue’.
SiteGround will set the stage for your website’s very own Staging Area. When it’s done, you will see the Staging Site Manager with links to the admin area of your Staging Site.
You’re now ready to rock ‘n roll (and tweak) with your Staging Area. Armed with plugins, themes, new code snippets, and more, you can now apply endless modifications until you reach your desired website output.
(Optional) Brag about how easy it is to make a SiteGround Staging Area!
WP Engine Staging Area Migration
How’s it going, WP Engine fans? Your waiting ends here with our (again) oh-so-simple process of migrating your WordPress site into a staging area. A powerful hosting service such as WP Engine makes it so easy for its loyal users to take advantage of operating a staging area. Let’s begin!
Just like with every first step, you need to log in, this time, to your WP Engine dashboard. Next, go to the sites page and choose your website by clicking on it. It will bring you to your website dashboard. You may now click the ‘Add Staging’ link from the left column.
On the next screen, enter a name for your Staging Site under the ‘Create New’ tab. Take note that it will also be the subdomain of your staging site.
Click on the ‘Create Environment’ button to continue.
It’s now time for WP Engine to create a staging site for you! This staging area is just an empty WordPress site without any content of your live website. But we can change this!
On the left column, click on the ‘Production’ to switch to your production environment. On the next screen, you must click on the ‘Copy’ button at the top right corner of the screen.
Click ‘Preview Copy Button’ to continue.
After clicking it, a warning pop up will be displayed, which informs you that you are copying the source website to the staging environment. Click on the ‘Copy Environment’ button to proceed. WP Engine will now scan and copy your live website to the staging environment. You will now receive an email notification when the process is done.
After the confirmation, you can now log in to your staging website using the same admin password you are using for your live website.
Cloudways Staging Area Migration
Last but not the least, let's move on to Cloudways! We'll show you how to easily create a WordPress staging site with Cloudways Hosting. Let’s get started!
Log in to the Clouways platform. If you don’t have a Cloudways account yet on this hosting provider, you can sign up for a free trial. The first thing you need to do is log in to the Cloudways Platform.
Create a staging application. Once you’re logged in, go to the Applications tab and choose the WordPress website you need to create a staging environment for. Then click on the three vertical dots beside the picked application and choose clone app/create staging tag.
Select a server for the staging application. You can either select an existing server or create a new server from the drop-down menu. Then checkmark the create as staging option and click ‘Continue’.
However, it takes time to provision the server. So, you can select an existing server and create a staging application on it. The overall process will be completed in minutes.
Copy data from Cloudways staging to live website. As soon as the staging application is created, you need to copy data from it to your live WordPress site. For this, go to the Staging application and select Staging Management.
From here you'll see three options:
To copy the data from the WP Staging site to Live, select the Push option. You’ll see a warning message asking you to confirm your action. Click on the Confirm button to proceed.
Restore your application. In case you don’t like the changes made on your live application, you can always roll back by restoring your application from a backup. To do this, go to your live WordPress site and select ‘Backup and Restore’ from the vertical dots menu. Then click on ‘Restore application now’.
This will take you to the Cloudways Platform where you can select the backup you want to restore. Once you’ve selected the backup, click on the ‘Restore button’. You’ll see a warning message asking you to confirm your action. Click on the ‘Confirm’ button to proceed.
One way to migrate your WordPress site into a staging environment is through WordPress Staging Plugins. Here are the top plugins you need to take a look at if you want to migrate your WordPress site to a staging area but your host doesn't have anything built in:
Top WordPress Staging Plugins
WP Staging’s straightforward name says it all. This staging plugin allows you to create a secure and private WordPress staging environment. It is for people who don’t want any unauthorized access to their staging site as well as for those who hate it when crawlers index make a mess out of their SEO.
This plugin is designed with a smooth, hassle-free stage migration in mind. Just take a look at its key features:
Even though it comes with a free version, one of its limitations is it doesn’t allow you migrate the changes you’ve made into your live site.
The free version is good if you all want to do is to test your various ideas. To take advantage of all the features listed above, you may want to try out WP Staging Pro, which starts at $98 per year.
WP Stage Coach
WP Stage Coach (we love how it’s named) is specifically made for individual site owners, professional developers, maintenance providers, and hosting companies who want to provide staging options for their customers.
Take note that the staging sites you create using WP Stage Coach are meant to be temporary. After accomplishing all the necessary testing, updates, and other changes you want to put it into your live site, it will then recommend you to delete your staging environment and create a new one the next time it’s needed. It has the key features of usual premium staging plugins like multiple push-to-live options, simplified set up, and, most of important of all, security.
Here’s a detailed look of its main capabilities:
WP Time Capsule
WP Time Capsule fills up not only your staging needs, but your backup needs as well. What’s amazing about this plugin is, aside from providing the latest copy for your website, it also saves space for for you at the same time.
To access its staging capability, navigate to WP Time Capsule, go to ‘Staging’ and click on the ‘Start Staging’ button. Here are the things you can enjoy with WP Time Capsule’s staging capabilities:
Blog Vault can provides basic capabilities that would do well for bloggers, freelance developers, business owners, and even agencies. Don’t belittle the word ‘basic,’ as it can provide site back-ups, free staging, and management tools for professionals.
The best part is it can multitask so you can leave it for a while and focus on some other stuff. Also, you can conveniently monitor all your progress on your BlogVault dashboard.
Let BlogVault impress you with these solid and reliable features: