How to Test a Client Site without Affecting the Live Site

Testing is an essential part of website development. Even more, testing in WordPress ensures that site development meets the standards of development and design that pass for a complete and functioning product.

It is important to note that testing is a serious undertaking waiting to go wrong if you don’t use best practices. Testing a client site should be done in a way that the live site does not break and remain accessible.

What is WordPress Testing?

Testing in WordPress refers to the process of verifying functions and performance of WordPress sites to ascertain their free of errors and bugs. In simpler terms, to ensure nothing is broken.

It is important to test WordPress sites if you want to ensure a smooth and reliable user experience. 

Testing is a crucial process in WordPress maintenance. Agencies who develop WordPress sites for clients are found to often maintain those sites to keep a watchful eye and regularly fight against bugs and errors.

When do you Need to Test a WordPress Site?

  • Upon making any major changes to the site;
  • Upon adding a plugin or them to it;
  • Upon modifying its core files;
  • Upon making design changes to your site;
  • Upon upgrading your site’s WordPress version.

Why Testing Is Important For Agencies

Testing is not merely a technical requirement but a strategic business practice for agencies developing and maintaining WordPress sites. 

1. Reputation: For business growth, an agency would consider offering testing as part of maintenance to clients. From this perspective, It directly impacts client satisfaction, agency reputation, cost-effectiveness, and overall success in the competitive web development market. Furthermore, it demonstrates professionalism, reliability, and a commitment to delivering top-notch websites to their clients.

2. Identify and Fix Issues Or Bugs: Part of the importance of testing for agencies is so they can collectively identify issues that may cause errors and eliminate those issues without blowing up the live site of their customers. 

3. Quality Assurance and Compliance: As an agency, you may be dealing with website development that need to comply with various regulations and standards (e.g., GDPR, ADA compliance). Testing will help ensure that their websites meet these requirements, reducing the risk of legal complications.

Website Security and Data Protection: Testing your client’s site helps prevent potential threats. This is especially important for websites that handle sensitive information such as e-commerce websites.

Disadvantages of Going live Without Testing

WordPress is the most popular content management system offering a user-friendly platform for creating and managing websites.

Individuals and businesses usually overlook the importance of testing before launching their website. That can be dangerous. Let’s see how going live without testing can be dangerous.

1. Vulnerability To Site Security: One of the issues that may arise from going live without first thoroughly testing your site is security vulnerability. By not checking and passing your site in a rigorous test, you are exposing the site to hackers who may gain unauthorized access, data breaches, and compromised user information, damaging your reputation and potentially causing legal issues.

2. Issue With Compatibility: WordPress sites work by combining themes and plugins. In many instances, these combinations don’t work according to plan. Skipping testing can result in compatibility issues, leading to broken features, distorted layouts, or even complete website crashes. So, it is always better to test a Theme or Plugin before adding it to a site.

3. Performance Issues and Poor User’s Experience: Poor performance can lead to the kind of experience that may make your website unattractive to users. If you neglect testing before going live, the site may run into usability issues like slow-loading pages, inconsistencies in design and layouts.

4. Loss Credibility and Reputation Damage: These two factors are important to agencies and business owners alike. If you care about profit, you will care about the permanent damage that negative reviews, comments, and social media complaints about your site can do to your business. So also is your credibility as a WordPress agency or a site owner.

How to Test a Client Site without Affecting the Live Site

There are different ways to test a client site without affecting the live site. Ranging from local development environment, version controlling to staging platforms. By employing best practices in testing client sites, you can ensure that the client’s website remains functional, secure, and free from any potential issues without affecting the live site.

If you have been looking for a way to test your client site without affecting the live site, settling down with a cloud-based WordPress sandboxing tool like InstaWP is the best idea. 

InstaWP is a valuable tool for agencies and developers seeking a reliable way to test client websites without causing disruptions to the live site. It lets you spin WordPress staging environment really quickly, offering several features and benefits that make it a go-to solution for safe and efficient testing.

In this article We’ll guide you through the steps on how to use InstaWP to test client sites without affecting the live site. 

Create an account with InstaWP

  • Go to InstaWP and create an account. In InstaWP you will be able to set up your website in a few clicks. If you already have an account click on the login page to sign in to your existing account. 
  • Choose your preferred configuration and launch an instant site.
  • In your user dashboard, you will find the sites you have created in the dashboard. 

Create A Staging For Your live Sites

You can also test a client site without affecting the live site by duplicating the existing live site in your InstaWP staging environment. This means that you have to connect your existing live site to InstaWP staging environment. Here is how it works.

  • Go to your WordPress site dashboard and navigate to “Plugins”. Click on “Add New” 
  • Use the search bar to search for “InstaWP Connect” plugin.
  • Click on the “Install Now” button. This will install the plugin. You will also need to activate the plugin for it to work.
  • Having successfully installed and activated the plugin, go to “User” in your WordPress dashboard and click on “InstaWP”
  • Next step is to connect your live site to InstaWP so that you can create a staging copy for that site. Go ahead and click on the “Connect” button.
  • Continue the connection to InstaWP by following the next prompt by clicking on the “Approval” button.
  • Click to select the staging type you want. Typically you would want to choose the “Full Staging” option and click on the “Next Step” button.
  • Next step will take you to more customization options.

In the next step , you can exclude some files you don’t want to end up in the staging environment.

  • Click on the “Next Step” button if you are satisfied with the customize options. 
  • Click on the “Create Staging”. The process of creating the staging site will depend on the speed of your internet and how large your site is. But you will see the creation progress while you wait.

Go to your InstaWP dashboard. In the site menu you will see the list of the site that you either created directly on InstaWP or a live site duplicate created with the InstaWP plugin.

Test Your site In InstaWP

Having successfully created a staging of your live site, you are ready to start testing without affecting your live site. Consider testing:

Test the site Functions

This is called functional testing. Here you are ensuring that all interactive features such as forms, buttons, navigation menus, and contact forms. You can go further by function correctly and as expected testing any custom functionalities or scripts that have been implemented.

Test the Theme and Plugins

Plugins and themes update can cause a lot of trouble for your live site. That is why you need an InstaWP staging environment. If updates are available apply them first in your staging environment and confirm everything is good before pushing the updates to your live website. Pay special attention to any customizations or features that may have been affected by the updates.

Test the Design

When testing the design, you have the freedom to dive into various design components, such as selecting captivating colors that evoke emotions and align with your brand’s identity. You can also choose fonts that give your website a distinct personality while ensuring readability.

You can also structure your web pages in a way that enhances the site overall experience.

Test the Content

If the client has requested content updates, make the necessary changes within the staging environment. Update text, images, videos, or any other content elements as required. This may also include updating product descriptions, adding new blog posts, or changing the copy on your homepage.

Test Site Performance

Use performance testing tools such as GTmetrix, PageSpeed Insights, or InstaWP’s integrated performance testing features to evaluate the site speed and loading time. Sites can get really conky when they are big, so detect and rectify any hindrances to performance, tardy loading pages, or resource-intensive components.

Employ analysis and optimization techniques to enhance the website’s performance, encompassing the reduction of page load durations, improvement of website speed, and fortification of website security. These will all help you solve any performance issue without affecting the live site.

Test Compatibility

This is a crucial test you have to do. Imagine a scenario where your website appears fine in chrome but break is safari. Verify that the site displays and functions properly on various web browsers (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Internet Explorer) and across different devices (desktop, tablet, mobile). By doing this you would have addressed any responsive design issue that may arise.

Testing the Security

When testing, you’ll be able to check for various issues that could compromise your site’s security. This includes searching for outdated software components that may have known security vulnerabilities. By keeping your software up to date, you can ensure that you have the latest security patches in place.

Additionally, you can reinforce your website’s security by evaluating the strength of your passwords. Weak passwords are a common entry point for attackers. You can use this opportunity to strengthen your login credentials and implement best practices for password security.

Test With Users

Engage actual users or members of your team to conduct user testing on the staging site. Collect feedback on the user experience, navigation, and overall level of satisfaction. Utilize this feedback to effectuate enhancements.

Expert Tips on WordPress Site Testing

  1. Create a staging environment with InstaWP to duplicate your live site. This integrated environment is essential for testing changes without affecting the live site. With this you keep the staging environment separate from the live site to prevent any accidental deployment of untested changes.
  1. Test everything about the site before going live. Ensure testing and compactibility of WordPress version, themes and plugins.
  • Verify that your website looks and functions correctly across various devices and browsers. This guarantees a seamless user experience.
  • Optimize for faster loading times to improve user experience and SEO with tools like GMetrix.
  • Regularly conduct security scans within the staging environment to identify and address vulnerabilities. Check for outdated software, weak passwords, and suspicious access attempts.
  1. Scan Regularly. Regularly conduct security scans within the staging environment to identify and address vulnerabilities. Check for outdated software, weak passwords, and suspicious access attempts. Be on a safer side before going live.
  1. Site Maintenance. After deploying changes or updates to the live site, ongoing monitoring ensures that everything functions as intended and that potential issues are identified and addressed promptly.

Always Create a Staging of your Live Site for Testing

Creating a staging environment for the purpose of testing is a fundamental practice in the realm of website management, particularly when dealing with a website that is currently live.Here is why;

  • Avoid Risking The live Site

Perhaps the most compelling reason to create a staging environment in InstaWP for your live site is to avoid breaking the live site. Making changes or updates directly on a live website can be incredibly risky. Even seemingly minor alterations can lead to unexpected issues, causing downtime or functionality problems that can negatively impact your visitors and business.

  • Ensure Continuity of Live Site

InstaWP acts as a safety net for your live site. It allows you to test changes without disrupting the user experience on the primary website. This continuity is especially critical for businesses that rely on their websites for revenue generation or customer engagement.

  • To Ensure Consistent User Experience

InstaWP Staging environment gives  the opportunity to concentrate on enhancing the user experience without the worry of  interruptions of interruption or malfunctions. One can refine layouts, assess responsiveness, and optimize page loading times to furnish a seamless browsing experience.

  • Roll Back Easily

In the event that issues are discovered during testing, a staging environment like InstaWP makes it easy to roll back to a stable state. This is far simpler and less disruptive than trying to reverse changes made directly on the live site.


What is testing in WordPress?

Testing in WordPress is verifying all the aspects of a website. These aspects include functionalities, performance, design, and various components to ensure the site works as intended.

How to test a WordPress site before going live?

To test a WordPress site before going live, create a staging environment in InstaWP, thoroughly test site elements like functions, design performance, responsiveness, even to security issues.

Do I need to buy hosting to test a WordPress website?

No. You do not need to buy hosting to test a WordPress website. With InstaWP, you can easily launch a website in a staging environment that allows you to make desired changes to your site before going live.

How to set up a WordPress test site that my clients can also see?

you don’t need to purchase hosting. Instead, you can utilize InstaWP, a staging environment platform. InstaWP enables you to create a staging site where you can make and showcase desired changes to your website without affecting the live version. Share the staging site’s URL with your clients to gather feedback and ensure they can preview the updates before they go live.

How to make a copy of a production site to a test subdomain?

Use InstaWP , a staging environment platform, to replicate your production site in a secure testing environment. This allows you to make changes and test modifications on the subdomain without impacting the live site.

How to migrate my staging site from InstaWP to a live URL after testing?

Create a template of your staging site, then from the template new template, create a new site. From the site menu options choose Migrate V2, follow the prompt and migrate your staging site from InstaWP to a live URL after testing.

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