Knowledge Base

How to stage a website with Plesk

This article describes how to use Plesk to stage a website.

About website staging

It is important to test a site's code and content before you publish it and make it available to the public. The easiest way to do this is by using a website staging environment. With just a few quick steps, Plesk enables you to easily configure a testing environment for your site.

Setting up the staging environment

You can host the staging environment in your current webspace on Plesk by creating a new domain or subdomain. For example, if your primary domain is example.com, you could create a staging.example.com subdomain to use as the testing environment.

For information about how to create a domain or subdomain in Plesk, please see this article.

Copying the website

After you configure the staging environment, you must copy everything from the existing production environment to the new staging environment. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to Plesk.
  2. In the left sidebar, click Websites & Domains.
  3. Locate the website you want to copy, and then click Website Copying:

    Plesk - Website Copying icon

    The Copy Files page appears:

    Plesk - Copy Files page

  4. Under Copy Destination, select Website in Plesk.
  5. In the Site name list box, select the destination domain.
  6. In the What to do with existing files section, select what you want to do with any files that may already exist on the destination domain.
  7. Click OK. Plesk copies the site to the destination domain.

Copying databases

If your website uses a database (or multiple databases), you should copy them to the staging environment also. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to Plesk.
  2. In the left sidebar, click Databases.
  3. Locate the database you want to copy, and then click Copy:

    Plesk - Databases copy icon

    The Copy Database page appears:

    Plesk - Copy Database page

  4. In the Destination database server list box, select localhost:3306.
  5. In the Destination database section, select Create database with name, and then type a name for the new database.
  6. Select the Create a full copy check box.
  7. Click OK. Plesk copies the database.

    After the database copy is complete, you should modify your site’s scripts in the website staging environment to connect to the newly copied database. For example, you may need to modify the connection string to use the new database name, username, and password.

Publishing the site

After you have tested the staging environment, you can “go live” and publish it. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to Plesk.
  2. In the left sidebar, click Websites & Domains.
  3. In the list of domains, locate your production site, and then click Hosting Settings:

    Plesk - Hosting Settings

  4. In the Document root text box, type the directory for the staging site environment.
  5. Click OK.

    If your site uses a database, don’t forget to adjust the database connection strings to connect to your live database!

More Information

For more information about Plesk, please visit https://www.plesk.com.