Sites and Environments

At WP Engine, a “Site” refers to the grouping of three environments: Development, Staging, and Production. For example, the Staging and Development environments can be used in your workflow to develop or troubleshoot issues before deploying changes to your live Production website.


About Sites

A Site is an easy way to group several environments together under one name. This streamlines the process of organizing, deploying and transferring any relevant environments for a website.

Environments can be easily copied within a Site using the “Copy Environment” tool.

You can only add a custom domain to the Production environment in order to take it “live”. Staging and Development environments can be used for your development workflow, but cannot have a custom live domain mapped.


Create Site

When you open your WP Engine account, our system prompts you to fill in the name of your first Site. This name is used when creating both your first Site, and the first Production environment within that Site.

If your plan supports more than one site, you’ll need to add the second site yourself:

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Click Add Site at the top right
Add Site button on the Sites page within the WP Engine User Portal
  1. Select or fill in the following, as needed:
    • Make it transferable (Optional) – Select if you wish to transfer ownership of this Site to another WP Engine account before taking it live. Read more about Transferable Sites here.
    • Site name* (Required) – Can be anything you like. Does not need to be unique and can be changed any time.
    • Site Group (Optional) –  For organizational purposes only. Read more about Groups here.
  2. Click Add site
Fill in new Site options in the WP Engine User Portal

Edit Site Name

Sites, unlike environments, can have their names changed at any time. To change a Site’s name there are two options; Quick Actions and Overview. Both options function the exact same way, so use whichever is easier for you.

Quick Action Edit

  1. Locate the Site name on the “Sites” page
  2. Click the pencil icon next to the Site name to edit it

Overview Edit

Alternatively, the Site name can also be edited from the Overview page of any environment that is within that Site.

  1. Open the “Overview” page for the Site by clicking its name on the “Sites” page
  2. Locate the Site name in the top menu
  3. Expand the dropdown 3 dot menu icon ...
  4. Click Edit site name

Delete Site

Deleting a Site also deletes every environment (PRD, DEV, STG) within it. Be sure you have any backups or copies created before deleting a Site. There are two ways in which a Site can be deleted.

Only “Owner” level User Portal users can delete Sites.

NOTE: Environment names cannot be reused, even when the original environment has been deleted. (i.e. environmentname.wpengine.com)


Quick Action Delete

  1. Locate the Site you wish to delete on the Sites page
  2. To the right of the Site name, click the 3 dot menu icon: ...
  3. Select Delete site
  4. You will be asked to confirm deletion by typing the site name.
Delete a Site from the Quick Actions menu from the Sites page in the WP Engine User Portal

Overview Delete

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Click on the Site name listed on the Sites page
  3. Locate the Site name in the top menu
  4. Click the quick actions 3 dot ... menu icon
  5. Select Delete Site
  6. Confirm deletion by typing the name of the Site

About Environments

Environments are individual instances of WordPress. This means you can work on an environment independently and without impacting other environments. There are three types of “environments”: Production (PRD), Staging (STG) and Development (DEV).

You can add a total of three environments per Site with no additional charge, as your hosting account plan limits are per Site and not per environment.

Domains

They will all share the same default URL structure environmentname.wpengine.com using their respective unique environment name.

For shared hosting accounts (Startup, Growth, Scale) only the PRD environment can have a live/custom domain mapped to it. For dedicated and enterprise hosting accounts, any of the three environments can have a custom domain added to it.

It is standard for staging and development environments to use different domains than your production environment. If you are using a premium service that issues license based on domain, and require that to also be used on multiple environments, you may need to purchase additional licenses for each environment or inquire about staging services. Some premium services that authenticate based on domain will also offer a staging mode.

Server Configuration and Media

Each environment has the exact same default server configuration and caching, which make them useful for accurate testing and building. Be aware, however, that any custom redirect, cache exclusions or Nginx rules do not copy between these environments.

When using LargeFS, media is stored off-site which means these files cannot be copied by our server. A fall-back rule can be put in place by Support on any necessary STG/DEV environments, or media can be copied in Amazon S3.


Create Environment

When a Site is first created, you’ll be prompted to add a new environment to it automatically. Select Add Production, Add Staging or Add Development.

Fill in the environment options (detailed below) then click Create environment.

You will receive an email once the environment has completed the setup process. If you are copying from an existing environment, this process can take some time to complete.


Add Environment to Existing Site

If you already have an environment added to a Site, you can add additional environments using these steps.

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Click the site name listed on the Sites page
  3. Locate the dropdown containing the environment name at the top
  4. Click Add Production, Add Staging or Add Development from the menu

Fill in the environment options (detailed below) then click Create environment.

You will receive an email once the environment has completed the setup process. If you are copying from an existing environment, this process can take some time to complete.


Environment Creation Options

There are several options when creating a new environment that will help create the environment tailored to your needs.

Create New

Select this tab to create a new, blank installation of word press. For example, if you plan to build or migrate an existing site to WP Engine.

Create from Template

Create a new, blank WordPress environment with either HubSpot or LifterMS applications pre-installed and activated.

Copy from Existing

Create a new environment as a copy of any existing environment on your account.

The new environment will be created separately using a backup point chosen from another environment. You may need to first backup the environment you wish to copy to have an up-to-date version of it copied.

Move Existing

Relocates an existing environment from another site on your account into the selected Site.

If an environment name is greyed out and unavailable from the dropdown, then it currently has a custom domain mapped to it. Shared accounts cannot have domains mapped on Staging or Development environments and therefore the environment cannot be moved into the selected slot.

This includes live environments being moved into Transferable Sites, as Transferable Sites cannot have live domains mapped.

Remove any mapped domains from the environment to move it into another Site.


Environment Name

The environment name is a unique string given upon creation and will be used to form the temporary URL: environment.wpengine.com.

This is different from the environment type which refers to the designation of Production, Staging, or Development.

The environment name is how WP Engine Support will refer to the specific environment that you are working on when making an inquiry.

Environment names must be between 3 and 14 characters. Names must be unique and can never be reused across the WP Engine platform, even if the environment is deleted.

Environment names cannot be changed. If you wish to change an environment name you must create a new environment and copy your content to it. Bear in mind, once live on a custom domain, the environment name should never be visible to end-users, so changing it is typically not truly necessary.


Multisite

If your WP Engine hosting plan supports WordPress multisite, you will be able to check the box to create your new environment as a multisite network.

For more information on multisite at WP Engine, see our multisite guide.

We also recommend following specific development workflows when deploying a multisite. See our multisite workflow guide.


Delete Environment

If you need to delete an environment, this can be done in two ways. Deleting an environment will not impact any other environments on your account or within the Site. Before deleting environments, be sure to download a backup point if necessary.

Only Owner level users can delete environments.

NOTE: Environment names cannot be reused, even when the original environment has been deleted. (i.e. environmentname.wpengine.com)


Quick Action Delete

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Locate the environment name listed on the Sites page
  3. Click the 3 dot quick actions menu ... to the right of the environment name
  4. Select Delete Environment
  5. Confirm deletion by typing the name of the environment

Overview Delete

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Click on the environment name listed on the Sites page
  3. On the far right, locate and click Delete environment
  4. Confirm deletion by typing the name of the environment

NEXT STEP: Learn how to copy an environment

One install, numerous sites

With WordPress Multisite, you can build and manage more than one WordPress site per install. Save your time and energy by managing similar sites from the same backend.