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How to create and use the staging area

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Staging Site Overview

A staging site is an independent clone of your live production site that can be easily created to test plugins, themes, and custom code. You can also copy the staging site to the live site at any time after making changes. Besides, each install at WP Engine can have its own stating site.

There are a few important things to remember when working with staging sites:

  • There is no server side caching in place on staging sites
  • Only the current year’s /uploads and /blogs.dir are copied
  • There are some plugins that should not be used in the staging area

The plugins that might have issues are generally those connected to third-party services, and those which validate the license through their domain. If this is your case, you might need to purchase two licenses to ensure similar functionality between your live and staging sites, or add the [accountname].staging.wpengine.com domain to the license. You can also contact the author of your plugins for more information.

Creating a staging site

To create a staging environment, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your WordPress Dashboard (most likely at yourdomain.com/wp-admin ).
  2. Click on the WP Engine side bar located at the top left corner.
  3. Select the “Staging” tab.
  4. select_staging

  5. Click on “Copy site from LIVE to STAGING.”

Now your site is being copied to the staging environment and a green box will pop-up showing the status of the task. Please note that the duration of this process will depend on the size of your site. The larger the site, the longer it will take to copy.

When your live site has been copied into the staging environment, you will be given a link to access it.


If you already have a staging area created, clicking the “Copy site from LIVE to STAGING” button will override the currently existing staging area. Please be very careful when copying to staging as our Backup Points only cover the Live site.

Note: The url structure for every staging area is the same and looks like this: http://account_name.staging.wpengine.com

You can access the staging area by simply logging into the admin for your live site, i.e.: http://account_name.staging.wpengine.com/wp-admin

Your extra users will be also copied and everyone can log into the staging site with the same credentials used in the live site.

Access the staging site’s database

To access your staging site’s database, you can do so through your User Portal just as you would with your live site.  The only difference is that the staging site’s database is labeled ‘snapshot_account_name’.


Please read over this article for additional information on accessing your database:

Accessing your database

To access your staging site’s files via SFTP, you will use the same process as you would on your live site, except you’ll use the staging user credentials that are setup in the User Portal.


You can also edit any existing SFTP user’s settings and change the ‘Environment’ to ‘Staging’. For additional information on logging in via SFTP, please see this article:

Accessing SFTP for staging

Copying the staging site to your live site

If you’ve made changes to the staging site and now want to push those changes to your live site, you can do so very easily. Start by logging into your live site’s /wp-admin dashboard. Next click the WP Engine sidebar plugin and click the ‘Staging’ tab just like you did earlier when first creating the staging site.


You will now see a black button labeled “Copy site from STAGING to LIVE”. Simply click that button and your staging site will now be copied over to your live site.


This covers the essential functions of the staging site. If you need any additional support, please check our Support Garage for relevant articles or use the ‘Support’ button from within your User Portal to contact our technical support team.