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A Conversation About Developing a Client Site on a Development Server vs Developing on a Live Server

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In this session, we explain that it would be best to work on a development server first and then clone the site when it’s ready before placing it on the live server.

Video Transcript

Rachel:  Hi.

Rick:  Good morning, Rachel. How are you doing?

Rachel:  Good, how are you?

Rick:  I’m doing great. So what are we working on?

Rachel:  Nothing yet. But I just wanted to know for the future when I do work on it, how I should go about doing that.

Rick:  And so you’ve got…

Rachel:  For instance, the Tim McFadden glass I was working on…

Rick:  Yup.

Rachel:  I was fortunate enough that he happened to have that site that was unused or that domain name that was unused so I used that to work on what I’m doing now. But after, I’m going to eventually move it over to mcfaddenartglass.com. But I guess, in that case, I could have just worked on it while keeping his site live.

Rick:  You could have. Although it’s way cleaner to just work on a development server and then once you have it finished on your development server, to clone it and then place that clone on the real server.

Rachel:  Okay.

Rick:  That is, without question, the cleanest, easiest way to do it.

Rachel:  Okay.

Rick:  And for my money, the easiest way to clone is to use BackupBuddy. Now I do have videos showing you how to clone your site manually and showing you how to clone your site with BackupBuddy. But really, BackupBuddy is just so easy to do. Unless you’re only doing this one time in your entire life, it doesn’t make any sense now to spend the $50 or $80 or whatever it is to buy BackupBuddy because it is literally is so simple to make a clone. And then the only thing you have to change… BackupBuddy handles all of the URL changing except perhaps, for some hard URLs you may have inserted in place.

Rachel:  That I put in.

Rick:  Yeah. So if you… for example, in your custom CSS file, if you have hard URLs to background images, you’ll have to fix those. But besides that, it’s very easy. It copies absolutely everything. So you don’t have a WordPress installation at all. You just have blank directory or you have this directory that you’re going to put it in. You move the BackupBuddy files into it and you run the import routine. And it creates the database, unzips all the files, migrates the database information and changes all the relevant database information that needs to point to the new domain name. I mean, it just does absolutely everything for you, including bringing on all the plugins, all of your files, everything.

Rachel:  For that McFadden Art Glass site that I was talking about…

Rick:  Yup.

Rachel:  He has… I’m pretty sure… I guess I should move his host because right now, he’s got like eBiz web pages or something hosting it and he’s running it on there too. They’re designing it on there or whatever, however it is. So I probably can’t install WordPress on there, right?

Rick:  I don’t now who they are or what their capabilities are.

Rachel:  Yeah. You know, it’s for people that just want to try design or web page and…

Rick:  Absolutely. The trick will be to make sure that the URL points to the right place. And so if he’s got McFadden Art Glass or McFadden Glass… what was the name of the URL?

Rachel:  McFadden Art Glass.

Rick:  Okay so McFadden Art Glass is the real one then the easiest thing probably… does eBiz own or are they the registrar of his domain name?

Rachel:  Yeah, I think he did everything through them.

Rick:  Okay so the first thing you’d want to do would be to transfer the domain registration from them to whoever your host is going to be. Who’s currently hosting the Tim McFadden Art Glass?

Rachel:  That, I think, is… I’m not sure because my… I didn’t set up Tim McFadden Art Glass. It’s my mother in law who set it up and Tim set up to whoever he uses. Although, I can check.

Rick:  Well, if you’re going to create a new host anyway…

Rachel:  Yeah, I might just use… I mean, I use HostGator so I’m like comfortable with them.

Rick:  Absolutely. And HostGator will take your domain registration you know, from the old site to the new. So you transfer the domain from the eBiz place to HostGator and then you would import the Tim McFadden to McFadden at HostGator.

Rachel:  So would I have to move the Tim McFadden to HostGator too, or not?

Rick:  No. I mean, you could decide to do that if there was going to have some lag time. But does he have pages that are important?

Rachel:  On the Tim McFadden Art Glass?

Rick:  No, on the McFadden one, on the existing one.

Rachel:  That he wants to keep?

Rick:  Well, that have significant SEO value.

Rachel:  I don’t think so.

Rick:  If he does then you want to create 301 redirects for those pages but that’s all you’d have to do.

Rachel:  I see what you’re saying. Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think we’re just going to probably start from scratch but will it mess up his SEO at all?

Rick:  Sure. If you don’t do the 301 redirects, it will mess up his SEO because those pages… let’s just say he’s got you know, mycoolglass.html on this site. Well, that page isn’t going to exist on the new site. And so if that page is a popular page or if Google you know, if it has a decent page rank or lots of people link to it then that should get a 301 redirect. So you would redirect it to whatever appropriate page on the new site would be.

Rachel:  Gotcha. So… but could I just go through his site or go through Google to find out what pages are popular or what things are being linked to?

Rick:  The easiest thing to do in that case would be to set up a Google Webmaster Tools account for the existing site and then let Google Webmaster Tools tell you how many sites link to what pages.

Rachel:  Okay, that’s good.

Rick:  There may be other tools that you can use but I just use Webmaster Tools. It’ll tell you… as far as it’s concerned, what sites link to those pages and if Google doesn’t know of any sites linking to the pages then it probably doesn’t matter.

Rachel:  Okay. I suspect that most sites… most links are going to this one page.

Rick:  And in that case, it also doesn’t matter because the homepage obviously happens. So it’s the internal pages that are the issue.

Rachel:  Okay. Yeah because his… I mean, I know he’s got a lot of links to his site but I’m quite sure that they’re just links that he’s built directly to his own page.

Rick:  Okay well, links to his homepage will not be messed with at all.

Rachel:  Okay. I don’t want to mess up his SEO.  He’s got a decent you know, page rank right now for not having done as much.

Rick:  Well, and as long as that decent page rank is because of his homepage or because of links to his homepage then there’s nothing you need to worry about. If it is instead, decent because he’s got some internal pages that get linked to then you just want to do the 301 redirect when you make the transfer. That solves the problem entirely and it’s actually quite simple to do.

Rachel:  Yeah, yeah. I’ve done that before.

Rick:  Okay. But if you need your memory refreshed, I have a series on 301 redirects on the site so…

Rachel:  Okay. And then the videos that you sent me, I haven’t had a chance to watch. So what were the two videos that you said were relevant? Are those about the BackupBuddy?

Rick:  Oh yeah. I just… right. Those were just videos on how to use BackupBuddy.

Rachel:  Okay.

Rick:  But if you simply take my advice and go buy a developer’s version of BackupBuddy and then watch the video, you’ll see why. But you can certainly watch one of those because in the one, I show exactly you know, what it takes to do it, how long it takes to do it. It’s how I create all my tutorial sites and it’s what I do when I create a client’s site. I build the client’s site on development server and then I clone it using BackupBuddy, put it on their server, takes you know, 15 minutes or so to make that change. It’s very fast.

Rachel:  Okay, cool. Alright, well that’s great. Sorry, my son’s playing in the background.

Rick:  It’s okay.

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