Implementing a staging server can minimize disruptions to your website when software updates and changes are applied. When a staging server is employed, potentially detrimental changes are first made to a copy of the live website on the staging server so that any problems that arise can be identified and fixed before the copy is pushed live. This way, your live website should never experience any significant issues, and you can be spared heartache.
This cycle can be repeated every time software needs to be updated or you want to make a change to the website that you are worried may cause problems.
Where can I get a Staging Server?
For most webmasters, the most cost-effective way we’ve found to implement a staging server is via a hosting company that offers that feature. We have been impressed with the GoGeek hosting package ($14.95/month) from SiteGround, and are currently recommending it as the best option for the majority of our customers.
SiteGround will help laypeople move their sites to its hosting server at no charge, and its customer support is very good.
The advantages of using SiteGround hosting include:
- Server configurations that optimize the performance (speed) of WordPress websites
- Free migration of your website to their hosting server with no downtime for your website
- Free daily backups
- 24/7 support
- Free software updates to the copy of the site on the staging server
- Site security
A nonprofit organization recently contacted us for help because it was experiencing problems with its WordPress website. We took a look at the site and determined that the culprit was a custom theme that had not been updated recently by its author. Over time, as WordPress and various plugins were updated, they became incompatible with the site’s theme. Unfortunately, this is an all-to-common scenario.
The nonprofit didn’t have the money to redo its website, and it asked us for other options. We suggested that it consider migrating to a new hosting company that offered a staging server. For $179.40 per year, operational issues caused by software conflicts could be largely mitigated.
We told the prospective client that with SiteGround we thought it could handle most of the maintenance of its website without our help, and that it would only have to hire us when it got stuck. They seemed appreciate our advice and honesty.