Regularly developing and maintaining your WordPress site is essential for many reasons. You’ll be able to see if your site is updated and working correctly. However, it can get quite tedious since many steps are involved.
Are you looking for a faster and easier way to develop and maintain a WordPress site, whether for yourself or for your clients? Good news, if you’ve already landed on this page, you don’t have to look far. InstaWP is your answer to this!
InstaWP is a powerful online tool that lets you create a WordPress sandbox environment in seconds, even if you don’t register or sign up for an account. See?
This sandbox can be a blank WordPress site or a copy of your live site, making the development or maintenance convenient for you. How?
Whether you sign up for an InstaWP account (recommended for more benefits) or not, read on to learn how to use InstaWP for better WordPress maintenance and development.
WordPress Website Development using InstaWP
As mentioned above, you can use InstaWP for the WordPress development of an entirely new site or a copy of your current site. Let’s take a look at both processes.
Development Of An Entirely New Site
Once you’ve signed up for an InstaWP account, you’ll be taken to the InstaWP Dashboard:
Click the Add New + or the + New Site Button for a blank WordPress site. This will pop up:
As you can see, there are plenty of options for the sandbox. You can choose from different configurations aside from the default, such as WooCommerce or DevStack. And if you go through the options on the left, you’ll see different plugins you can pre-install for this test site.
For example, if you click on Security, you’ll see these:
And for Page Builders:
Go through each option and select the plugins you want. After that, click the Create Site button. Instantly, you’ll see this next screen:
Hit the Magic Login button to go to your WordPress sandbox. After this appears:
You’ll be taken to your WordPress dashboard.
And if you go to your Plugins, you’ll see the ones you chose are already there:
And from here, you can start WordPress website development processes, such as:
- Choosing and installing an available theme from WordPress or uploading a custom theme
- Creating sample content such as blogs and pages
- Trying out plugins (we recommend these plugins!)
- Seeing if the website you’re making is responsive and mobile-friendly, no matter what device is used to view it
- Checking the security of the WordPress site and if it works well under the latest WordPress version
The great thing about having a sandbox or staging environment is that you can test EVERYTHING you want without fear of breaking any live sites. Install all the plugins and themes you want and activate them simultaneously to stress test your site.
You can even change the code if you want. We don’t recommend it, of course, and neither does WordPress:
Development Of Your Live Site
Development and maintenance are also possible with InstaWP. All you need to do is navigate to your Plugins menu, click Add New, and search for InstaWP. You should see InstaWP Connect, a plugin by the InstaWP team that will let you create a copy of your live site in a staging environment.
Press Install Now, then Activate. Go to your Installed Plugins, look for InstaWP Connect, then click on Create Site.
You will be taken to this menu:
To use this plugin, you’ll need to connect your InstaWP account to your WordPress site. That’s why you should sign up for an InstaWP account. You can go for the free plan for now, then upgrade later when you have more needs.
To go back, press the Connect button, and you’ll be taken to the InstaWP dashboard with this notice:
Press the Approve button, let InstaWP work for a bit, then you will be taken back to your WordPress site with a new menu:
Select the Full Staging option if you want to make an entire copy of your live WordPress site. Press the Next Step button for this window:
You can choose whether you want Active Plugins Only, Active Themes Only, or Skip Media Folder. You don’t have to select any of these if you want a true copy of your current site, which means even unused plugins and themes are included. Again, click Next Step, and this will appear for confirmation:
Press Create Staging to make your site. The site creation time will depend on how much data you have on your actual site.
When the staging site has been created, it will appear on your InstaWP dashboard:
You can now try the same development procedures on it without risking your actual live site.
Maintenance Of Your Current Site
This plugin also helps you to maintain your current site. Say you’re experiencing problems with your site and don’t know what’s wrong, whether it’s an installed plugin, a theme, or both. Do the steps above so you can make a copy of the site, which is what you’ll work on for maintenance.
For example, deactivate a plugin, then test if your website is better. If it didn’t do the trick, try something else. Proceed until you find out what’s going wrong on your sandbox site, then apply it to your actual site.
This way, you will find out what’s wrong without having to take down your site and won’t be afraid of permanently breaking your website. After all, you’re just tinkering with the copy.
What’s also great with InstaWP is that it has a Logs Viewer, so you can easily trace what you did for the test site. You can also make all the changes you want and then quickly push them to your live site after.
WordPress Theme or Plugin Development using InstaWP
Do you know what else is excellent about InstaWP? You can also use it for WordPress plugin development and theme development!
Now yes, the process of making plugins differs from the one used to make themes, but do you know what’s shared between the two processes? A WordPress development environment must house your files and test them afterward. So again, you can test these plugins or themes on blank WordPress sites or a copy of your site without worrying about destroying anything.
Use InstaWP To Make Plugin and Theme Demos
InstaWP isn’t just for you to test your plugin and/or theme. You can incrementally develop and maintain your WordPress product using this tool.
You can also use InstaWP to build a demo site for your end users. There’s a whole documentation on how to do this, but here are the basic steps after you’re done testing and your plugin and/or theme is in the WordPress sandbox already.
Go to the Templates section of your InstaWP dashboard, then press + Add Template.
Your sandbox name will appear. Assuming you only have one sandbox, there will only be one option. Press Next.
Fill up the name of the template and the description. And see the Private and Shared words? Make sure you have toggled that to the Shared. Press Save when you’re done.
Your template will now appear in your Templates Dashboard.
Now, to share this to possible clients, click the “Shared” green button, and you’ll get this notification that the link has been copied.
That is a link to the template you have created, which you can share with anyone. Try pasting the link to your browser, and you’ll arrive here:
It contains the title of your template, the description, and the Launch Demo button. And when you click the button:
Your visitor will be asked for an email address, but they don’t have to enter anything. They can just press Proceed, and installation will occur:
And finally, they can try out your template once they press the Magic Login button.
This demo will expire four hours after they open the link, but at least they’ll know how your plugin/theme works!
If you want to customize the template further, such as sending an email with your branding, you can—but it’s limited to accounts with paid options.
Benefits of Developing a WordPress Site or Product with InstaWP
It’s been established: the safest thing you can do as a WordPress website, plugin, or theme developer is to do everything in a WordPress sandbox. But why use InstaWP? Here are a few reasons:
- It’s super simple to use. As we mentioned in this article, sandboxing is already a challenge. Make your life easy with InstaWP’s one-click website creation.
- The problem with some sandboxes is that they’re offline, which means they depend on their device. What if something happens to your laptop? You won’t be able to do any website maintenance or product development. Since InstaWP is online, you can access your demo or development site anytime, as long as you have internet access.
- As demonstrated above, it’s easy to create a demo site to show off your theme/plugin/both. No need to make another WordPress site for the sake of the demo.
- If you’re developing and maintaining within a team, you can just share the magic login details so they can log in and continue your work. The Logs Viewer makes it easy for them to trace where you started.
- It’s easy to make multiple copies of your site with just one click.
- InstaWP also has multiple integrations with tools like Slack, Git, and has built-in tools like Code and Database Editors.
- It will be easy for you to push your InstaWP Live to different servers.
WordPress Site Maintenance Tips from InstaWP Experts
When doing your WordP maintenance, here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Update everything: the WordPress version, your current theme, and your plugins. This ensures that you get the latest versions, which means bugs get fixed, and you have a more secure website overall.
- Always back up your website to protect your data and content. Even with a sandbox, you’ll always want to be safe than sorry, agree?
- Monitor the site speed and performance all the time. You’ll want to ensure your visitors get the best user experience possible. Optimize media files for better loading speeds.
- Check if all your links are working. That way, you can maintain your site’s credibility and improve your ranking in Google and other search engines.
- Make sure your website is secure against all potential threats. Update passwords and install possible security plugins. Remove old themes and plugins, especially those that haven’t been updated.
- Always check your site’s responsiveness. No matter what update or plugin/theme you install, your site should work in all browsers.
- Use InstaWP to maintain different versions of your site. It is recommended for every change you make, take a version snapshot. If anything goes wrong, you can return to any version you need.
And probably the most crucial? If you’re doing WordPress maintenance on your test site, make sure to push the changes to your live site when you’re done! That way, all your hard work won’t go to waste.
Developing and maintaining a WordPress site is vital to keep it working smoothly and growing your or clients’ businesses. InstaWP offers a safe place to experiment and make changes without risking your live site. It even allows you to create plugin and theme demonstrations, giving you peace of mind and setting you up for success in the long run.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for an InstaWP account today.