WordPress Development Site

What is the best solution to build a WordPress website on a development server, so when the site is ready we can easily move the site to the Live server?

Would we have to reinstall/configure WordPress, Plugins, move DB tables/content, images, etc…?

Is it better to develop on the server that the live site will be on? Like in a folder off the root… domain.com/wordpress

How do you handle this type of situation? Any advice is more appreciated! Thanks!

  • Barry
    • DEV MAN’s Mascot

    @jackson – I usually set the hosts file on my development computer (laptop) so that the domain name the site is going to use actually points to my test server – then i can set it up as though i am actually working on the real domain, but not touch that.

    Then when i’m ready to go I can either back everything up and move it to the live server, or switch the live domains ip address to my dev server (and remove the entry from the hosts file so i’m looking at the real sit again).

  • idevguy
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    There are a lot of ways you can go about this, you could develop in a subfolder and manually change the paths in the database when you are ready to go live and pop the site into the root folder. You can develop on a different location entirely and do the same thing as well… the main thing you keep in mind with this is that you have to locate and replace all the references to the location of the site.. so if you are developing it at blahblah.com/dev/customerssite/ you will want to search for and replace every instance of that.. it would be something like home/accountname/public_html/dev/customersite etc.

    or there is a plugin available that handles this automatically as well, I haven’t tried it personally but have heard from other that its very handy. http://pluginbuddy.com/purchase/backupbuddy/

  • Mason
    • DEV MAN’s Sidekick

    Are you wanting to setup a development server on the same area of a shared server as a live site?

    I’d recommend against that. If you’re just developing a single WordPress site, you could setup a subdirectory on your site for wordpress and do some development there.

    WordPress Multi-site really works best at the root of your domain though – so that’s really the best option. As Barry mentioned, testing locally and/or editing your local hosts file is the easiest way to go about it.

    Hope this helps. Thanks!

  • arch
    • New Recruit

    I’m very interested in this topic as well. Initial deployment actually seems relatively straightforward compared to the task of maintaining the site afterwards. If I want to fix bugs and develop new plugins, themes, etc. once the site is launched, how do I test things on my dev server and then update the live server with just the components I’m interested in? I’m using Multisite.

  • igallery
    • Flash Drive

    What is the best testing environment setup for a multisite installation with other Premium themes installed? What does one need to test for when a new version of WordPress comes out and I want to upgrade the whole system? How do I insure that my paying customers’ sites won’t break?

  • Erik
    • Flash Drive

    I use ServerPress and work on my laptop (it implements XAMMP). But I have two problems that I hope someone can suggest an answer to:

    1) When dealing with clients, they want to test out the not-live site. I can’t have them do that if the .dev site is on my laptop unless they’re sitting next to me.

    2) Sometimes a 3rd party developer says they can help with their plug-in, theme, etc. but only if they can log in to my dashboard, which of course they can’t because it’s on my computer.


  • khawaja1971
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Unfortunately in wordpress even some of the most popular plugins / themes sometimes end up using fixed file paths. This makes hands free deployment between dev and production servers very difficult.

    You could use subdomains on the same server and keep track of the files that use fixed addresses ie beta.xyz.com.

    A version control system with dev and prod forks can help.

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