What are best practices to maintain a test site like your live site?

What are best practices to maintain a test site like your live site? I understand the need to maintain a test site but how to do it effectively escapes me since I can not backup my site and move to another location in order to have an exact duplicate of it for testing purposes. Thanks for your help.

  • HamRadioDude

    I use a Spare domain just for that. and I keep maintenance Mode Plugin on it so no one logs in.
    I also use a Local server I install on my computer when site speed and testing of it is not a issue yet.
    For the local server there is an easy to install packages available here is a few First one is the one I use

    http://www.wampserver.com/en/
    http://winlamp.sourceforge.net/
    http://www.easyphp.org/

    I hope I have answered your question and have helped you
    Mitch

  • Brian Purkiss

    Fantastic question. One that I am very curious to see if other members of the Community have any tips or tricks on doing this.

    Something I've done in the past was to copy the entire mySQL database and set up a different test site with that.

    The tricky part is whenever you make a change on the main site, that change isn't reflected on the test site without making the same changes twice.

    For the most part, it seems like the common technique is to copy the latest version of your live site over to your test site whenever you're making major changes.

    As far as I can tell, the most common technique is as simple as copying over the WordPress files, so you have all the plugins, themes, and image files, and doing an export/import of your WordPress instal.

  • Jack Kitterhing

    Hi there @janlfox

    I personally always keep a domain spare and use that on the same hosting account, I never actually copy anything across, When developing I will install and configure a plugin on the test site, check it works, if it does, I'll open up my other web browser and install it on the live site, same with themes etc.
    One of the hosts I use is WPengine and it's quite handy, as you get a staging area as standard.

    @Christopher Rice Always taking risks :wink:

    Thanks!

    Kind Regards
    Jack (Coding-Monkey).

  • Jan

    Thanks everyone for the feedback!

    @HamRadioDude - I have thought about using a local server and actually had one several years back but my computer is getting full so don't want to load it down. I have extra domains and have mulitsite installed but didn't know if there was a better way to test everything except for manually installing everything twice and trying to be sure to have the same settings.

    @Brian - I'm not experienced with mySQL so will have to research that one. Do you know if there are instructions pertaining to doing this w/multisite?

    Something I've done in the past was to copy the entire mySQL database and set up a different test site with that.

    On the second suggestion, I don't understand how to copy the latest version of my live site over to my test site...I thought that because of multisite inner workings that you can't take a backup and reinstall with another domain name unless you are talking about a local server situation.

    For the most part, it seems like the common technique is to copy the latest version of your live site over to your test site whenever you're making major changes.

    Is the last comment tied to the one above? Would this be export/import to a live test domain not a local server? I'm a little confused (okay, a lot!), just wanting to clarify.

    As far as I can tell, the most common technique is as simple as copying over the WordPress files, so you have all the plugins, themes, and image files, and doing an export/import of your WordPress instal.

    @Christopher - LOL, as tempting as that is, I'd freak if I had a problem and could have prevented it by testing. I may do that on single WP installs but I have BackupBuddy and can restore in a matter of minutes...not the case w/multsite.

    @coding-monkey - That is what I was thinking I would have to do to have a duplicate (as close as possible) of the live site. Will take a look at WPengine.

    This gives me a lot of good information to explore for setting up a test environment.

    Thanks again everyone.

Thank NAME, for their help.

Let NAME know exactly why they deserved these points.

Gift a custom amount of points.