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Solve Every Website Admin Headache with WPEngine – Part 13 – How to Use the Staging Server to Test Upgrades

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You saw how easy it was to backup the site in WPEngine. Now I want to show you how easy it is to use a staging server to test upgrades.

Remove Unnecessary Plugins

First, I’m going to delete that Better Search Replace now since that’s the kind of plugin you only need once and don’t need to leave in your system once you’ve used it. I don’t like to keep anything in the system that I don’t need. I’m going to deactivate it and we’ll activate that back again and then we’ll delete.

Create a New Backup

Now that that’s done I want to create another snapshot. So I’m just going to come back over here to there, dennistoman, we go to his Installs, we’re going to come over to Backup Points. We’re going to back it up again and it’s going to be “migration complete”.

Create the Staging Server

So then come back over to my hosting and let’s just come back to Barking Chihuahua for a moment. I want to show you how easy it is to create the staging server. We’ll create a staging copy of this.

Here I am up under WPEngine. I go back to the top choice, WPEngine and in order to create a staging I come over to the Staging Tag here. Copy the site from live to staging. It says it can take a long time especially for large sites but I can tell you that we should be able to access it right now. We just need to know its name.

And Barking Chihuahua staging is called.. staging.barking.wpengine.com. Let’s go back here. I’m going to get an email that says the staging thing was created. I don’t have my staging email yet so maybe it isn’t completed.

We’ll give it a second for the staging email to come through. While I’m waiting for that I’m going to answer a couple of questions here.

Ways to Use the Staging Server

Dennis asked the question, “Once live should I be making content and CSS plugin changes live or instead use the WPEngine staging features?” Well, on BYOBWebsite I’m using my staging for my redesign and reprogramming.

So what I do is I take a backup of BYOBWebsite and then I upgrade. If I have a problem I just restore the backup. So I don’t actually use the staging server to make changes and then upload.

I use the staging server as a development server for BYOBWebsite but on a site like yours you could very well use staging. I know my buddy Pete of London Translations, he never upgrades anything on his site without doing it in staging first and then he just pushes it live once that’s completed.

Updating in the Staging Site

Status is ready. Now that it’s done it says barking.staging.wpengine.com and I can come over there and log in. Now I’ve got updates so I’m going to update those, click to finish and then I’ve got some plugins that want to be updated. I’ll update all of those plugins. It is still showing me that I have to update my themes so I’ll do that.

Copy the Site from Staging to Live

Now I think I’m entirely finished with all updates. I am. So now we can go make sure the site is actually working. It is or it appears to be. Yes, it’s working just fine.

So with that done then I can now copy the site from staging to live which is just this and it says Move No Tables but I’m going to go ahead move all tables. Well, let’s see let’s select the tables to move. Yes, wp_options is going to move, that’s the only thing that’s changed really is wp_options so we’ll go ahead and submit that.

As soon as this is done that would have been switched across. Okay, we’re in the barkingchihuahuacafe. It tells me I can reload and it’s telling me I have one thing that needs to be updated. Okay, for some reason or another that didn’t appear to come across properly. Then I can just come back over here to my site and now barkingchihuahua is working with everything working. Like I said, as a practical matter what I do instead is I go into my site.

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