What is Sandbox Mode, and Why is it Crucial in WooCommerce?

Developing an engaging WooCommerce website or store demands a significant amount of effort. A flawless user interface, compatible plugins, top-notch security, eye-catching themes, a reliable payment system, and a plethora of other elements come together to create an exceptional WooCommerce site.

Maintaining perfection across all these aspects can be an incredibly challenging task, often leaving WooCommerce developers overburdened. Despite their best efforts and due diligence, WooCommerce developers frequently struggle to keep everything in order.

This is where WordPress Sandbox comes to the rescue. It offers a much-needed respite for developers by allowing them to tinker with code, test plugins, assess theme compatibility, and explore various other facets of WooCommerce development without the worry of compromising security or disrupting the live site.

If you haven’t yet unlocked the full potential of sandbox mode in WooCommerce, why not give it a try today? Keep this post handy to delve deeper into the world of sandboxing and its vital role in WooCommerce development.

What is Sandbox Mode – Decoding The Basics

Picture this: 

You’re keen on integrating a fresh payment method into your existing live WooCommerce site or perhaps into one that’s still in the development phase. But can you risk deploying this plugin directly onto your main site? 

Not quite, because you don’t know how this newly chosen plugin will behave in real time.

Even if you opt for a trustworthy plugin, you’ll always have to contend with potential security and compatibility issues. An incompatible or insecure plugin could spell significant operational problems for your production site. So, what’s the remedy?

The best course of action in this scenario is to make use of a sandbox. 

Sandbox mode is a fully isolated environment where developers can easily test and experiment with WooCommerce development settings, features, plugins, themes, codes, and other components.

While they do so, they don’t have to interact with the actual production system as this mode is fully disconnected from the production site. This way, WooCommerce developers are allowed to do experiments without any fears and concerns.

Sandbox mode is part of leading hosting platforms, however, with limited features. To make things flawless, it is always better to go ahead with a reliable sandboxing tool like InstaWP.

Point to Ponder InstaWP Sandboxing has advanced PHP configurations, integrations with multiple tools, and even DB Editor, which is not available in standard sandboxing mode.

Importance of Sandbox Mode for WooCommerce Development

WooCommerce development, as mentioned above, is pretty complex. Undivided attention on multiple aspects is required. Using sandbox mode in WooCommerce, you can achieve perfection in WooCommerce development. And this is how this is going to happen.

It supports seamless payment testing 

Having a viable payment system is an essential part of WooCommerce development. Store owners need to have diverse and fully secured payment systems so that their users can make quick and seamless payments.  

To bring this aim into reality, WooCommerce store owners have to test multiple payment gateways like PayPal, Square, Stripe, and many more. This testing becomes accurate and hassle-free when you test such things in a staging environment

Thinking it is time-consuming?

Really not. You can have a copy of your live store in seconds using InstaWP. There, you can test payment processing, settings, and other features of a concerned payment gateway. You can even stimulate transactions without any real money.

This is a great way to understand how a payment method behaves in real time and what kind of user experience it’s going to deliver to your customers. 

You can test orders with full accuracy 

For any WooCommerce store, having seamless order processing matters the most. A product page that remains unresponsive, a payment page that takes too long to respond, and a lengthy checkout process are a few things that can make customers ditch your online store. 

This is why you need to test the entire order processing in a sandbox – away from your production site. 

As you will have a replica of your online store here, you can create test orders, add products to your cart, and go through the entire checkout process to see what your customers are going to experience when they are in your store. 

You can learn the bottlenecks in the process and make amends in the live store accordingly. This is invaluable for ensuring that your store functions correctly and provides a smooth customer experience.

Debug your store 

WooCommerce sandbox is of great help when it comes to debugging and resolving issues in your online store. You can experiment with various settings and features without the risk of causing any issues for your customers. You can learn which settings are perfect for optimizing your online store and which are making it slow. 

Choose Ideal/compatible plugins and themes for your Store 

Often, WooCommerce development requires customized themes and plugins. For such instances, sandbox mode is a great help as it allows WooCommerce developers to thoroughly test your code in a controlled environment. This ensures that your customizations work seamlessly with the WooCommerce plugin.

All in all, when you manage to use Sandbox perfectly in WooCommerce, you gain a superpower to perfect your store on multiple fronts. 

How To Activate Sandbox Mode in WooCommerce? 

Sandbox mode is your first step towards flawless development, and ignoring it is going to be your biggest mistake. So, go ahead and start using it. Sandbox mode is only available in WooCommerce 3.0 or higher. If you’re not using the above versions then you need to update the WooCommerce version to get the default sandbox mode. 

Here is how you can activate this mode in WooCommerce. 

  • Log into your WordPress site and access WooCommerce>Settings. 
  • Go to the General tab and scroll down. 
  • At the end of the page, you’ll be able to see ‘Enable Sandbox’ mode. 
  • Check the box next to it, and the mode is activated. 

After enabling the sandbox mode in your WooCommerce store, you need to set up the payment gateway so that the sandboxing mode operates just like the actual store. This is how it is possible. Access your PayPal account or any other payment gateway account. 

  • Go to Profile > My Selling Tools> API Access > Update.
  • On this page, you will be able to use the ‘View API Signature’ option. From here, you need to copy credentials like API Username, API Passwords, and Signature and paste these details into the corresponding fields of the WooCommerce setting page. 

If you follow these steps correctly, the sandbox mode will be all set for you in your WooCommerce testing endeavors.

Things to Keep in Mind While Using Sandbox Mode in WooCommerce

While sandbox mode can resolve tons of testing and development hassles for you, using it correctly matters the most to make the most of it. There are several important considerations to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and secure experience.

Before we talk about them, let us talk about how useful the default WooCommerce sandbox mode is.

If you read through the previous section, it is clearly not something ideal for full-fledged WooCommerce testing. You can test a few things (e.g. payment gateway integration, etc.), but it is better to go ahead with an advanced testing/staging environment like InstaWP when you want to impress your clients.

Keep the below-mentioned things in mind while selecting your sandboxing method for WooCommerce:

  • Don’t forget to keep the live production site and sandboxing site completely isolated from each other. 
  • Complete data separation measures should be in place so that data, customers, orders, or any other sensitive information is exchanged between sandbox and production instances.
  • Utmost attention should be given to the security of the sandbox mode. Try to pick sandboxing solutions that offer extra security measures like SSL encryption.
  • Test plugins and themes in the sandbox to ensure compatibility with the WooCommerce version you’re using. Incompatibilities can lead to errors and issues in the live environment.
  • If you’re testing payment gateways with sandbox mode, always use dummy credentials. In other words, use the sandbox or test credentials from the payment gateway provider.
  • Combine sandbox mode with a staging facility for more extensive testing. Use InstaWP Connect as your Staging plugin. A staging site is a copy of your live site and is a great resource for perfecting WooCommerce development.
  • Try taking regular backups of your sandbox environments so that you can have viable settings to use in the future. It also prevents data loss. In the case of InstaWP, you can save your site’s versions instead.

InstaWP – An Ideal Approach Towards Sandbox for WooCommerce

By now, you must have clarity about tons of things related to sandbox mode for WooCommerce. 

Limitations with the conventional WooCommerce sandboxing means are:

  • You have to do a lot of hard work in setting up a staging site
  • It might lack substantial security features
  • There won’t be many configurations to support great customizations
  • Hardly any integrations are offered here

When you seek perfect WooCommerce development, this customary and restricted sandboxing offering is not enough. This is why leaders of the WooCommerce industry always take the help of an advanced sandboxing resource, InstaWP. 

InstaWP is your WordPress development toolkit that allows WordPress developers to launch a WordPress staging site instantly and use it for sandboxing. They can use this site to test as many plugins, settings, themes, configurations, payment methods, and other components as they want.

If you’re a WordPress development agency or individual developers who’re working with WooCommerce every day, InstaWP is the all-inclusive sandbox for WooCommerce tools that they all can use to have a perfected WooCommerce development. Click here to know why InstaWP is an ideal choice to make. 

It provides an extensive wealth of resources that developers can use for sandboxing. Here is a quick overview of these resources.

Staging Sites

The users of InstaWP can use WordPress sites for their extensive testing purposes. These sites are available in multiple configurations and configurations like PHP configurations, WordPress configurations, preset configurations, and many more.


If you’re someone who performs testing extensively, InstaWP offers the template’s features. You can create a fully customized template or save any of the existing templates for future use. Using these templates, people can easily perform testing without creating new sites. Learn more about templates here. 


To make the life of a WooCommerce developer easier than before, InstaWP offers multiple tools that can help you manage and organize your staging sites effectively. For instance, you have a DB Editor that allows you to edit the database instantly.

With the help of View Logs, you can view multiple types of logs easily. Code Editor allows you to write or edit source code files without much of a mess. Then, you have Protect Site, Site Usage, Install Plugins, and many other resources.


To grant you unmatched flexibility as and when you sandbox WooCommerce, InstaWP offers a myriad of third-party integration services like Mailchimp, Atarim, Mailtrap, ActiveCompaign, and many more.

All in all, InstaWP is here to resolve your sandboxing-related concerns effectively so that you can go ahead and make a move towards perfected WooCommerce development.

How To Get Started With InstaWP?

If you have plans to experience new highs in the WordPress sandbox with InstaWP, you need to follow the below-mentioned steps to get started. 

Create A New Account 

 If this is your first time with InstaWP, follow these steps to set up a new account. 

  1. Sign up with InstaWP
  1. In the pop-up window, enter the details like name, address, and many more. 
  1. Once all the details are entered perfectly, click on the ‘Terms & Conditions’. 
  1. Finish the new account set-up by completing the email verification. 

You also have to verify the email in your InstaWP account. For this, sign in to your InstaWP account and click on the ‘Verify Your Email with InstaWP’ option that will pop up as soon as you sign in. 

That’s it! You will be now able to access your InstaWP dashboard, which you can use to create new sites. 

To Your InstaWP Account 

Now that you have an account, log in to it and proceed to the next step.

How To Create/Stage WooCommerce Sites With InstaWP?

Now that you know how to get started with InstaWP, it’s time to learn how to create engaging and impressive staging sites that you can use for WordPress sandboxing. 

The best part about creating staging sites with InstaWP is that you can use multiple configurations without damaging or making any changes to the live site.  You can create multiple staging sites for different sandboxing games.  

InstaWP allows you to create staging sites as a registered user or a guest user. We’re going to explain the process for both means. 

Create a New WooCommerce Site

Once you’ve successfully logged in to your InstaWP account, access the dashboard and do as we’re going to say next to you for creating a new WooCommerce site from scratch. 

  1. Click on the ‘New Site’ option that is present in the middle of the user interface. You can also click on the ‘Add New’ option. 
  1. A new window will pop with three options, From Scratch, From Templates, and From Store. 

If you select the ‘From Scratch’ option, you can create a blank site with customized settings and configurations. 

If you select the ‘From Template’ option, you have a chance to create a staging site using new or pre-built templates. These templates are the easiest way to create staging sites as they save time and effort.  

The last option, Store, allows you to create a staging site using paid/free InstaWP templates from the store. You can select the desired template and click on ‘Create Site’ to get started. 

  • If you are creating a site from scratch, make sure to choose your configuration as WooCommerce. You can also make significant changes to the site based on your preferences. For instance, you can change the site name/label, PHP versions, and other aspects.
  • Hit the ‘Create Site’ button once you are done with modifying site settings, and your site will be ready.
  • Use the Magic Logic button to log in to this site. It will have the WooCommerce pre-installed. So, you just need to add your preferred plugins, themes, and data to this site and begin WooCommerce testing.

Create a Staging Site for a Live eCommerce Store

WooCommerce developers who want to experiment with their ideas, compare plugins/themes to choose from for their clients, develop eCommerce sites, or build product demos should create sites from scratch using InstaWP.

However, creating a staging of your live site is highly recommended when you are working with a client site that is already live.

Guess what?

You can use the 1-click staging plugin InstaWP Connect to replicate your or your client’s live site in the InstaWP’s sandboxing environment. With this (and the 2-way sync facility), you won’t have to worry about following a lengthy testing and development process. 

Final Say 

Your first step towards flawless WooCommerce development is using Sandbox for WooCommerce, as this one technique can help you fix multiple bottlenecks that can stop your WooCommerce store from growing. 

To get rid of the hassles involved in the process, InstaWP offers an extensive WordPress sandbox ecosystem that you can use for your WooCommerce store as well. Give it a try and learn what you’re missing.

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Mahdi Surname
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