This usage guide explains the features in the Staging tool available with your WPMU DEV hosting account. Learn how to use Staging to simply pull a Production site to a Staging environment for safely developing and testing updates to plugins, themes, or your server and pushing your changes live.

Quickly navigate this usage guidance from the index.

If you haven’t set up your WPMU DEV hosting account yet, visit the hosting page, where you can explore the features, see pricing packages, and start a free trial.

NOTE

Already a member? Visit your hosting dashboard to get started. More on getting started with WPMU DEV hosting can be found here.

8.1 Setting up a staging site

Link to chapter 1

You can create a Staging site by visiting the Staging tab of your Hosting Hub. Simply follow the prompts there to create and access your new Staging site, which is a full copy of your live site. Perfect for trying out new plugins or themes, proofing content changes, and other development work.

To move a website to Staging for the first time, visit the Staging module and click the Start button.

This will generate a copy of your live site with a modified URL, such as: yoursitename.staging.wpmu.host. When the Staging environment is created, a hotlink to the Staging environment will be available under the Domain field.

IMPORTANT

Staging sites do not have backups and can not be recovered after resyncing with Production. If you are working on a rewrite or long-term design project, consider local development or working from a password-protected Production environment with regular backups. For Production sites hosted with WPMU DEV, use managed backups. For sites hosted with a 3rd-party, use Snapshot.

8.2 Staging Options

Link to chapter 2

This section covers the three options available in the Staging module. Options include:

  • Move Staging to Production
  • Reset Staging
  • Delete Staging

8.2.1 Move Staging to Production

Link to chapter 2

When you are ready to make the contents of your Staging site live, move them to Production. This will replace your live, or Production site, with the contents of the staging site.

To move your Staging site to Production, click the Go button.

This will open a module where you can select to move the Staging Files or Files & Database to Production.

  • Production Files – Your site’s framework without the content, including your WordPress installation files, themes, and plugins.
  • Production Database – The content and settings you add or apply to the framework stored in your Production Files.

Use the dropdown to select whether you wish to replace only your site files, or both the files and database. Click Next Step to continue.

By moving either the Files or Files & Database from the Staging environment to Production all of the current Production changes will be lost. As a precaution, a pre-staging backup of the live site is created each time staging is moved to production.

Enter your WPMU DEV password to confirm and click Push to Production to push your Staging website live.

8.2.2 Reset Staging

Link to chapter 2

This option will replace the current Staging environment with a fresh copy of Production. All of the Staging files and database will be overwritten.

Click Reset to open the Reset module.

Clicking Continue will automatically reset your Staging environment. Click cancel to close the module without resetting your Staging environment.

8.2.3 Delete Staging

Link to chapter 2

This option will delete the current Staging environment completely. All of the Staging files and database will be lost.

Click Continue to immediately delete the Staging environment or cancel to close without resetting.

8.3 Settings

Link to chapter 3

To the right of the Staging Options module, you will find information about your Staging site, configuration options, and settings.

Domain

The domain is the URL created for accessing your Staging site. The domain section will display the URL and is hotlinked so you can quickly access the site.

WordPress

The current version of WordPress being run by your staging site is displayed here. If you are testing an update to core on your Staging site, and push to a different version, use the Refresh button next to the version number to verify the changes.

If you are running a different version of WordPress core on your Staging site when pushing back to your Production site, your Production site will be overwritten.

Last Sync

The Last Sync field is the date and time your Staging and Production sites were synced. This can be valuable if you are developing on a Staging site over a long period of time before syncing to Production and don’t want to lose changes in your Production environment.

PHP Version

The PHP Version is the version of PHP being used for your Staging site. This can be used to test your site when Upgrading or Downgrading your PHP version.

Click the pencil icon to switch between the list of supported versions of PHP.

NOTE:

We recommend using the latest available version of PHP on Production sites when possible for the fastest, most secure site.

Click Apply to save your changes or click the X or Cancel to close the PHP module without switching your PHP.

Password Protection

Password Protection is required for all Staging sites to help ensure that Staging sites aren’t indexed by search engines and that your Staging site is not visited by the public. The password is not the same as any WordPress user account and can be set from your Hosting Hub.

  • Username — The Username filed lists the current Username. By default, this will be your admin Username. You can change the Username by clicking the pencil icon next to your Username.

Click the Change button to save your new Username or Cancel to close without making any changes.

  • Password — A strong password is generated when the Staging site is setup. Click the copy button for storing the password to your clipboard for pasting in. Use the pencil icon to customize or change your password.

Click the Change button to save your new Username or Cancel to close without making any changes.

Manage Database

Get access to make changes to your Staging websites database. Click the Manage link to open the phpMyAdmin manager for your Staging site. This will not make changes to your Production site unless it is pushed live.

Detailed documentation for using phpMyAdmin can be found on the phpMyAdmin site.

8.4 Troubleshooting & Notes

Link to chapter 4
  • Object Cache is not enabled on Staging sites. This will make Staging sites a bit slower than your Production sites but helps make development easier.
  • You can sync a new copy of your Production site to your Staging site at any time.
  • When you push a copy of the Staging site to your Production site, we will automatically make a backup of your Production site first. This helps with fast recovery should you need it.
  • Staging uses an incremental clone of your Production filesystem. This means that it normally uses very little of your storage space. Only new/changed files on Staging or deleted files on Production will increase the amount of storage used by Staging and doing a fresh sync from Production will reset that to zero again.
  • Staging is given limited server resources to prevent it from adversely affecting your Production site. This can make Staging run slightly slower, and in rare cases cause errors with some plugins that demand lots of resources.