This article describes how to use Softaculous and cPanel to stage a website.
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, Softaculous enables you to easily configure a testing environment for your site.
Softaculous staging is not a catchall solution for every site. Unfortunately, staging will not work with some licensing and plugins.
In order to create a staging environment in Softaculous, you must first create either a subdomain or addon domain to conduct staging on. You can host the staging environment in your current web space on cPanel with either option:
Create a Subdomain: The first option for creating an area for staging is to create a subdomain for your site in cPanel for the sole purpose of staging. For example, if your primary domain is example.com, you could create a staging.example.com subdomain to use as the testing environment.
It is absolutely critical that you’ve previously backed up your site before staging. While Softaculous does offer automatic backups of the site, it is inherently risky to trust one application with all of your site’s data. cPanel backups are easy to create and quick. You can also create manual or automatic backups for shared hosting or reseller accounts.
The following procedure uses WordPress for the sample installation. A staging copy of the WordPress installation is created in a subdirectory named staging. To do this, follow these steps:
Click the Create Staging icon for the selected installation:
The Create Staging page appears with both the live installation details and a form requiring details about the staging copy you want to create. Complete the staging installation details, such as Choose Protocol, Choose Domain (this would be the staging subdomain you’ve previously created in step one,) the In Directory, and the Database Name:
You can now use this staging installation to test updates, develop a new version of the site, or any other changes you may want to test before pushing changes to the live site.
The following procedure uses WordPress for the sample installation:
Click on the Push to Live icon next to the corresponding staging application you wish to push to live:
On the Push to Live page, choose Default Options or Customize:
Custom Push: To create a custom push, click the Customize tab. On the Customize tab you can select to Push the Files, push Full Database changes (which includes structure changes as well as rows in the tables,) only push some of the Database Structure Changes, or push only Data Changes in Tables. This option is useful when you are working with a sample database, or if portions of the live site have been also been updated at the same time as the staging site: