Staging a Managed WordPress Hosting Environment

One of the primary reasons why people opt for a managed WordPress hosting plan is to avoid the hassles associated with maintaining a WordPress server. While this might sound like an easy task to some, it is actually a quite challenging one. To ensure that your content is always accessible and to reduce the stress that comes with managing a full-blown web server, you need to carefully consider a number of things. In this article, we will discuss the process of creating a staging environment for a managed WordPress host.

What Is Staging?

Before we dive into the details, let’s briefly discuss what is staging and the difference between it and a production environment. A production environment is what you would normally think of when it comes to a website or an application – it is the live version of the product you are designing/developing. A staging environment, on the other hand, is a completely different kettle of fish. When you are staging a website or an application, what you are doing is you are taking the version that you have created and are testing it out to see how it looks, how it functions and whether or not it matches your expectations. Essentially, you are doing this to make sure the final product is as good as you think it is and that there are no major glitches before you put it out into the world – in other words, the final product is as good as it’s going to be.

Why Should You Stagger Your Development?

One of the absolute essentials for any serious web developer or business owner is a continuous integration and delivery process. This is where you put in place the systems and tools that allow you to review the changes that have been made to your codebase as soon as they have been committed to version control and to automatically deploy those changes to a live version of your product. If you have not yet implemented a CI/CD process, then you are seriously missing out! The advantage of having a CI/CD process in place is that it allows you to deploy your product often and more quickly while also ensuring that your product is constantly evolving and improving.

The importance of a staged environment cannot be stressed enough. If you are developing a product for public consumption, then you might want to consider paying for a reputable web hosting provider that offers a pre-configured solution (aka, a template) for a business or personal website. This is called “managed WordPress hosting” and it allows you to avoid the hassles associated with installing and configuring a WordPress server from scratch. The best part is that, as a consumer of their services, you don’t need to worry about security because they take care of all of that for you.

Managed WP Hosting: What Is It?

Managed WordPress hosting, also known as “WooCommerce” hosting or “Themeforest” hosting, is where you get access to a pre-built and fully-configured WordPress installation along with a suite of custom apps and plugins that can be used to create a functional and secure business or personal blog. In simpler terms, when you host your website on a managed WordPress hosting plan, you are renting out the equipment needed to run a WordPress server from a reputable web hosting provider.

You might be wondering what makes the difference between a managed WordPress hosting plan and a regular WordPress hosting plan. Well, in short, with a managed WordPress host you get access to a team of experts that monitor your site day and night to ensure that it stays running smoothly and that security is never an issue because they have taken care of all of that for you.

Now that you are equipped with the basics about staging and why you need it, let’s move on to the next step.

Create A Staging Environment On A VPS

For those of you that have a little bit of extra cash to spend, you might want to consider investing in a virtual private server (VPS). A VPS is essentially a dedicated server that is hosted on behalf of you by a reputable web host. The price for a VPS will vary depending on the provider and on what type of plan you opt for, but as a general rule of thumb, you will pay a bit more for this type of offering than you would for a standard shared hosting plan from the same provider.

Why should you opt for a VPS? A VPS is perfect for creating a staging environment because it allows you to start from a clean slate. This means that you can install any software/tool that you want on the server without having to worry about interfering with the working environment of the server or impeding on its performance. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, with a VPS you get the freedom to tweak whatever you want. You can install various software such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal and you are free to modify the settings of each one of those platforms as much as you want without having to ask permission from the provider. This is huge because the more you can do on your own terms, the happier you will be in the long run. Moreover, and in some cases, depending on the plan you pick, you might also get free backups as well as free domain privacy so you don’t have to worry about your personal information being revealed by any hackers that break into the website.

Install And Configure WordPress

Once you have your VPS up and running, the next step is to install and configure WordPress. This is a basic step and it is something that you should not have any trouble with. To do this, you will either need to use a tool called “wp-cli” or (if you are on a shared hosting plan) you will have to ask the hosting provider for assistance. For the former, wp-cli is a command-line interface for WordPress that makes administering a WordPress site much easier. For those of you that are new to WordPress, this will be a huge help because it will allow you to quickly and efficiently setup your site with the minimum amount of effort needed. In addition, and for those of you that are on a shared hosting plan, getting support from the hosting provider will be much easier because they will have the technical knowledge you need to get the job done. In either case, once you have WordPress installed, the next step is to configure your site to your liking.

Create A User Account

Now that you have WordPress installed and configured, you need to create a user account for yourself. This is an important step because it will allow you to use WordPress more easily by giving you access to the “wp-admin” area of the program. When you are in the wp-admin area, you will see a lot of areas of configuration to work with. In addition to this, creating a user account will also give you access to the WordPress codex (the manual that contains all of the answers you are looking for when it comes to using WordPress) via your WordPress dashboard. The advantage of this is that you don’t have to go digging through different websites to find the information you need. Instead, it is all right there in your dashboard.

Set Up Your VPS To Serve As A Proxy

Once you have created your user account, the next step is to set up your VPS to handle all of the requests that come in from the internet. To do this, you will need to go to the “network” area of the VPS control panel and scroll down to the “proxies” section.

What you are looking for here is a field called “HTTP Proxy”. What this does is it allows you to specify which website you would like to use as a proxy for all of the other sites that you visit. For example, let’s say you are trying to access Google from inside China and you do not want to be banned from searching the web there. What you can do in this case is you can set up your VPS to act as a proxy for all of your Google queries. In actuality, what you are doing is you are forwarding all of the requests made to your VPS to Google’s server so that it can reply back to the website that is making the request. In essence, this is similar to what Cloudflare is – however, instead of having to set up your own email server to use their service, you can use a free email service like Gmail to get filtered email forwarding and spam filtering from Google. As a result, you do not have to worry about your Gmail account getting inundated with spam messages because of this service. You also do not have to leave the comfort of your inbox to check your emails. Everything is handled for you by the service.

Now that you have set up your VPS to work as a proxy, you can test out different browsers and devices to see which ones work best for you.