Staging Website
User Guide

Staging Website: A Key to Success for Magento Website Owners

A lot of our Magento clients report problems they face with the installation and upgrade of 3rd party extensions, themes and SE core causing damage to their reputation because of their live website going down, or due to the bugs coming on their live website after installation of a new theme or a plugin or adding a new custom feature.

To help you overcome this challenge, Team MageCube recommends you to build a Staging Website (also known as a Development Website) to test everything before it goes live. After reading this blog, you will get to know:

➤  What is a Staging Website?

In simple terms, a staging website is a replica of the live site and is used for testing features, exploring settings, adding or removing an extension, switching themes, integrating custom code or while making significant changes to the website. A staging website is essentially a clone of the website, having same settings, same software and same hardware as your live website but is actually independent from your live website. This staging website can be thought of as a demo site that can be altered and worked upon for any purpose without having any effect on your live site.

Staging websites are used to ensure that each and every feature or functionality works properly before it is made live for your website visitors. Also, the staging website can be used for troubleshooting the issues found on the live site without interfering with the visitors online or breaking even more functionality.

Ideally, any issue found on the live site must be replicable on the staging website as well. Some of the very common troubleshooting steps like deactivating/reactivating extensions and temporarily switching themes, having a staging website enable you to track down the issue without putting your live site in maintenance mode or removing expected functionality for testing. After rigorous testing, once you are satisfied with the changes made on your website, the staging site can be pushed live easily with help of our support team.

➤  Why is Website Staging Important for me?

Staging website is a must for any website owner who has live audience and visitors on their website, as it allows you to make changes to your staging website first without interfering with the live website. This guarantees no downtime while making changes to your website so you can keep on engaging your visitors and selling products to them. This also ensures that your website won’t take a hit on the SEO ranking because search engines won’t be indexing the staging website. To know how you can stop search engines from indexing your staging website for free, contact our digital marketing experts.

Having a staging website is important to keep your website operational all the time, but also to test out the site changes before making them live. Installing new theme, extension or developing a custom feature, or trying out changes in settings? That’s a perfect time to test these on the staging website. Making routine updates for your Magento and MageCube themes or extensions? Another great scenario to use your staging website. Including a staging website as a part of your website maintenance is one of the best practice that will pay dividend in long run.

Another added advantage of website staging is the capability to do site redesigns on the go without any interruption on the live website. Developers and designer should create a clone of the live website in the staging area and make all the necessary changes without going through the arduous process of downloading and installing all the files, extensions, themes, etc. By creating a clone the developers can save precious hours. With a staging site, you can make changes in a matter of minutes onto the live website. Once development and designing work is complete, and you’re satisfied with the changes in the look and features developed, you can simply push the staging site to be live for your customers.

➤  How do I set up a staging site?

Before we proceed with the setup, let’s clear up a few things about staging websites.

▶ A staging site is not a special kind of site that requires a different installation or configuration approach than your live site. It’s just another Magento install that is set up just like your live install.

▶ Your add-ons require development licenses. However, these development licenses do not restrict functionality and are offered by MageCube free of cost to you. They are simply gateways to support and dashboard updates. So, yes, you absolutely can activate extensions on both your staging site as well as your live websites. Just configure licenses for your development (staging) site by simply clicking for its icon in the “Files” section of your MageCube Client Area.

▶ Staging sites concentrate mainly on the features and functionalities and not on the content on your website.

The point here is that a staging site does not require a whole new level of thinking and efforts. It’s just the website you’ve already created, copying it to create one more without much of an effort but plethora of benefits.

Let’s get on to learn how you can setup a staging website absolutely free.

➤  How can I set-up the development (staging) site for FREE on AWS?

Website staging is a key feature in any great hosting package offered by most of the hosting providers, don’t worry if your hosting providers do not provide these services for free.

You can use Amazon Web Services (AWS) Free Tier to set up your staging website absolutely FREE for one year. Explore the range of free products and services from AWS by simply clicking here.

Use MageCube for Magento Setup and Installation on Amazon Cloud (AWS) service to get started and set up your staging website in no time.

➤  Few points to remember

There are few points which should be kept in mind about staging websites. Which are listed below.

▶  You have to conform to the license terms. This means your staging site must be in a development or dev subdomain or subfolder of your main domain. Otherwise, you need to purchase a separate license for it.

▶  Your staging site must either be in Maintenance mode or in a password protected directory as it cannot be publicly accessible.

▶  Check with third-party experts you use to verify whether they allow another install on a staging environment.

▶  Magento allows only ONE development site. Any more require more licenses.

➤  Conclusion

Having a staging website for any website owner is of utmost importance, as it not only helps you keep your live website up and running 24 X 7 but also test new features, extensions, themes, etc. and avoid any disruption on your live website. It is highly recommended to have a staging website in place for better user engagement and gaining trust from your users. Contact our expert support team for Magento to get started with setup of your staging website for your Magento Store at the earliest.

This powerful extension can be used in multiple ways; you can add photos in the listings. Users can create and add listings of their interests. And these listings can be further, rated and reviewed by editors and users which in turn leads to enhanced user engagement and enables site owners to build up a robust and useful system.

Note: This post originally appeared on SocialEngineAddOns