Web hosting staging

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Working with a webhosting or WordPress staging website on Plesk Onyx

If you own a production website and are planning major changes to the website, then you should consider setting up a staging website. This is a separate location on the server where you can import updates to a copy of a web page and test it before using it as a production Web site.

Our recommendation if you only have one domain without a separate development domain: staging.yourdomain.tld

We recommend that you work with a staging site as follows:

  1. Think about where you want to host the development copy and prepare the development environment. You can host the copy in the same web space, in a separate web space on the same server, or you can upload it to an FTP account on another server.

    If you select the same web space, you must first set up a new web page by adding a domain or subdomain.

  2. (Optional step) If you are setting up your development environment under your account in Plesk and using APS applications through Plesk (in the section applications) for your production website, you must install the desired website applications in your development environment in the same subdirectory as you use for your production website. This step is optional. However, doing so saves you having to manually change database connection settings in the application scripts.
  3. Make a copy of the web page and place it in the staging environment.
  4. Make copies of the databases used by the website and deploy them in the staging environment.
  5. Change the database connection settings in the scripts to point to the databases in the staging environment.
  6. (Optional step) Finish the setup of the APS applications. Go to the section applications for your development website, look for the application in the list of installed applications, open the window settings and save the parameters again. As a result of this process, the APS scripts should no longer point to the production database and the application should reconnect to the database copy. This step is necessary if APS applications have been installed via Plesk in your production website and you have completed step 2 of this guide.
  7. Make the necessary changes to the web page copy in the staging environment and test the web page to make sure everything is working as intended.
  8. Publish the updated website. For this purpose, the document root of the production website must point to the location of the staging website.

To set up a staging webpage for testing purposes:

  1. Go to Web Sites & Domains.
  2. Click either Add a domain or Add subdomain.

    We recommend that you use a subdomain for staging purposes.

  3. Follow the instructions below Add domains or Add subdomains in front.

If you do not want your staging site to be available to internet users, you should not register the newly added domain name or subdomain name with a domain name registrar, or one .htaccessFile (for Linux hosting) to restrict access.

To create a copy of Web page files:

  1. Go to Web Sites & Domains and find the name of the web page you want to copy.
  2. click on Copy website.
  3. To copy the Web page files to the root directory for documents on an existing Web page, follow these steps:
    1. Select the option Website in Plesk out.
    2. Select the destination web page in the menu Name of the website out.
    3. Specify what should happen to the files that already exist in the target directory.
  4. To copy the Web page files to an FTP account located on this or another server, you must do the following:
    1. Select the option FTP memory out.
    2. Specify the host name of the server and the credentials for connecting to the FTP account.
    3. In the field FTP connection method keep the selection of the option Active mode at. If Plesk can not connect to the external FTP account, select the option here Passive mode out.
  5. click on OK.

If the Web page uses scripts that reference a database, copy the database to the staging environment:

  • If the database is hosted on the same server (managed by Plesk) then copy as described below.
  • If the database is hosted on a different (non-Plesk managed) server, use the utility mysqldumpto export the database. Then move the data dump file to the staging environment and drop it there. Edit the web page scripts in the staging environment so that they connect to the copied database.

To copy a database from Plesk managed server:

  1. Go to Web Sites & Domains > databases.
  2. In the database listing, click next to the database you want to copy Copy.
  3. Specify the following:
    • Target database server, You can select the same Plesk managed database server or a database server located elsewhere. For an external database server, specify the host name or IP address and credentials for access: that is, the username and password of a system user who has database authority and can therefore create databases and database tables.
    • Target database, You can either create a database or copy the data to an existing database.
    • Make a complete copy, Leave this option selected if you want to copy the database structure and all data.
  4. click on OK.

    The database copy is deployed on the destination server.

  5. Edit the web page scripts in the staging environment so that they connect to the copied database.

Once the web page copy has been updated in the staging environment and is ready to be put online, you can publish it. To do this, follow the steps below.

To publish the updated Web page in the production environment:

  1. Go to Web Sites & Domains.
  2. In the list of domain names, search for the address of your production website and click on its link.
  3. in The Field documents master specify the root of the staging webpage.
  4. click on OK.

Now, the updated web page copy, which is located in the Staging Web site directory, is available to visitors who access the Internet address of your production Web site.

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