Best way to setup a development test site

I searched the blog and came across this article -

Seemed to be exactly what I was looking for as I'm developing a MU network so DeployMint seemed like a good fit until I saw that the developer isn't supporting it anymore.

How are the good'ol folks here testing out plugins and themes on a WPMU installation before setting them live?


  • James Dunn
    • The Crimson Coder

    Goodday Jeff (@kauffey19).

    Pardon my bluntness here, but domains are cheap ($9.99 and sometimes even less). If you already have hosting available, pick up a couple of extra domains and use them as sandbox domains. I own about 70 or so domains and have about eight or so that are used for nothing more than just testing and building.

    Plus, on one of my domains, I've set up about eight websites by using subdirectories (not subdomains). These are single WP installations, but the subdirectory option works great for testing little things (and big things) to see how they behave.

    Once a website is built or the plugin is tested, then I know it's robust enough to release into the wild.

    Finally, I'll usually build a client's new website on one of my domains so that they can continue to use their existing website on their existing domain and also get to visit my work (when I tell them to and publish it) to get feedback.

    BTW, when building for a client, you don't want them to see all the build work as it happens. Always remember the scene from Doc Hollywood when the Doc walks into the garage and they've got his car torn into a thousand pieces. The mechanic says something like, "Now Doc, what if I walked in while you were in the middle of some guys hernia operation with his guts all pulled out and scattered everywhere." They don't need to see the operation in progress - they only need to see the results when you want them to see them.

    James Dunn
    Athens, GA USA

  • Jeff
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor


    Appreciate your advice. My question with regards to setting up a separate domain is having the ability to move updates seamlessly between the testing environment and the intended site. I assume you are doing this in some capacity to keep from duplicating work.

    @PC which ones have you used when testing a WPMU installation?

  • James Dunn
    • The Crimson Coder

    Goodday @Jeff

    Actually, I use one of my cloning tools that I bought to move from the test site to the actual site - usually takes very little time and I can do it for the most part unattended.

    However, you can easily do this manually by backup and restoring the database and copying all the other files over via FTP.

    Personally, I rarely do it that way; I usually use one of my backup and cloning tools. But, I had a client recently that let one of their domains expire and they couldn't get it back, so the only way to move their site to one of their other active domains was to do it manually. It wasn't hard and really not too tedious. You just gotta know where to make all the changes that reference the original domain. My backup and cloning tools do that without me having to intervene, so I'm still partial to them.

    I'm too lazy to duplicate work. :wink: If there's an easier way, I've either found it or I'm still looking for it. My Dad used to say I would work harder trying to find an easier way than the work it took to do the job. But, the point he never really got was that if we did the job ten times a year, then the "easy" was then duplicated ten times over.

    James Dunn
    Athens, GA USA

  • Jonathan
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    This very in-depth tutorial covers everything you need to know on setting up a development / staging / production environment using mamp/git/and dropbox :wink:

    Sidenote: I personally like xampp as I don't use mac anymore.
    My prefered system is

    originally published on devpress, but posts were removed.

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