Creating a staging environment for a WordPress site is a smart way to test changes without affecting the live website. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set up a staging environment:

1. Choose a Staging Environment Option

Option 1: Web Hosting Provider

Many web hosting providers offer built-in tools to create a staging environment. For example, hosts like SiteGround, WP Engine, and Bluehost provide one-click staging solutions.

Option 2: WordPress Plugin

If your host doesn’t offer a staging feature, you can use a WordPress plugin. Popular choices include WP Staging, Duplicator, and All-in-One WP Migration.

Option 3: Manual Setup

Set up a subdomain and manually install WordPress, duplicating your live site’s content.

2. Create the Staging Site

Using a Web Host Tool:

  • Log into your hosting control panel.
  • Navigate to the staging site tools section and follow the prompts to create a staging copy of your site.

Using a Plugin:

  • Install the plugin on your live WordPress site.
  • Follow the plugin’s instructions to clone your site to a staging environment. This usually involves clicking a button to create and manage your staging site.

Manual Setup:

  • Create a subdomain (e.g., through your hosting control panel.
  • Install WordPress on the subdomain.
  • Copy the database and files from your live site to the staging site using FTP for files and phpMyAdmin for the database.

3. Configure the Staging Environment

  • Update the wp-config.php file on the staging site to ensure it connects to the correct database.
  • Set up appropriate redirections and ensure that the staging site is not indexed by search engines. This can be managed in the WordPress settings under Settings > Reading by discouraging search engine indexing.

4. Sync Changes

  • Regularly sync the latest content and changes between the live and staging environments if they are to remain consistent. This may require repeating the copying process or using a synchronization tool, depending on your setup.

5. Testing

  • Test all changes on the staging site, including new plugins, updates, and code changes. Ensure everything works as expected before applying to the live site.

6. Push to Live

  • Once testing is complete and you’re satisfied with the results, use your staging tool or manual methods to push changes from the staging to the live environment.


  • Always backup both your live and staging sites before making significant changes.
  • Regularly update and maintain your staging environment to mirror the live site closely for effective testing.

Setting up a staging environment can initially seem complex, but it’s an invaluable part of a professional WordPress workflow, ensuring updates and changes don’t negatively impact your live site.