WP Engine Support Garage

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 easily copy the staging site back over the live site once you’re happy with the changes. Each install at WP Engine can have it’s own staging 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

Regarding plugins in Staging: We do not have a list at this time. The plugins that may have issues are generally those that are connecting to third party services and validate a license via the domain. It may be necessary to purchase two licenses to ensure functionality between Live and Staging is similar. You should validate this with the Plugin Author if you have any questions.

Create staging site

To create the staging area, log in to your site’s /wp-admin dashboard and click on the WP Engine side bar plugin at the top left corner.  You’ll see two tabs across the top, click the ‘Staging’ tab.

select_staging

From this screen click on the blue button that says “Copy site from LIVE to STAGING”. This will begin making a copy of your site as it is at that very moment. This process can take a little extra time if you have a larger site. You can check the status in the green box that appears.

staging_copy_push

Note:

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.

Access the staging site

When your staging site creation finishes you will be presented with a link to access it as shown in the previous screenshot.

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

The admin for the staging area can be accessed just like logging into the admin for your live site. ie: http://account_name.staging.wpengine.com/wp-admin

All of your users will be copied over so you can use the exact same credentials from your live site to log into staging.

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’.

database

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.

sftp_user2

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.

select_staging

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.

staging_copy_live

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.