How to create a WordPress staging site with cPanel

Do you have a live WordPress website? If yes, try to avoid any actions that could ruin your public-facing website. It is necessary to update and edit your income-generating WordPress site. The problem arises when you try to apply major edits without testing them first. Web visitors may quickly move to your rivals’ websites if they cannot explore yours. To avoid this, we would advise you to create a WordPress staging website with cPanel.

What does the term WordPress Staging Website Mean?

A staging website is a mirror image of your live eCommerce WordPress website. It is its clone, meaning that it has similar features. It is also called a testing site or a development site. The public cannot view it because it stays in a separate sub-domain that only you can access. If you make edits to it, the changes will not appear on the live WordPress site unless you want them there. The behavior of the staging site is the same as that of the public-facing site. So it will be easy to use. Use a development site if:

• You have a new landing page you want to test before showing it to customers.
• You want to check if updates are compatible
• There is a need to alter the website code to allow the addition of a new function
• You intend to develop a new theme or improve an existing one.

Easy steps to help you create a WordPress staging site with cPanel

To find your cPanel, you may need to log in to your web hosting account and find it. Control panels are different just as web hosts are different. We are assuming that you already have an active WordPress website. So you have a domain name and URL. Follow these steps:

Step one: Make a subdomain using cPanel

• The subdomain will host your staging website. So, log in to the cPanel and locate Subdomains.
• Note that the cPanels dashboards look different. Depending on yours, check where Subdomains is.
• Create your subdomain and give it a relevant name.

Step Two: Make an FTP account

• The reason why you need a new FTP account is to keep the new subdomain separately.
• Again, depending on the cPanel you are using, locate the FTP Accounts button and click it.

• Type the new account details, including the directory of your subdomain.

Step 3: Add your WordPress file data to the new Testing site

• The new FTP account you have just made will let you place files on the new staging site
• If you are not using the latest WordPress version, make sure you download it first. Then upload files. You can use the cPanel’s File Manager to upload larger files. Otherwise, use FTP throughout if you can wait.

Step Four: Add your live WordPress site’s database

• Now you should transfer the live website’s database to the new staging website.
• First, you need to install and activate a plugin that will help you export and import database data. The best one is Migrate DB.
• Once you install it, use the plugin to export data. In the empty fields, enter the directory path and URL link for your subdomain correctly.

• Create a new database for the testing site. This is where you will keep the data you have exported. Use MySQL Databases option to make the new database.

• Create a new database user and add them to the new database.

• To view the new database, visit PHPMyAdmin.

• Then click Import and select the file you exported above. Finish by clicking on Go.

Step Five: Modify the wp-config.php

• Edit the wp-config.php file on the new testing site. You want it to use the details on the new database and the username.
• Check the active WordPress website to know its prefix. Make sure you are using the same one in the database. Finally, use your FTP application to upload the edited file to the server again.
• Access your new staging website by logging in with your username and password. These should be the same login details you use when opening your active website.

Step 6: Restrict Access

Stop the search engines from visiting and indexing your staging website. Go to Settings, Reading, and then click on Discourage search engines from indexing this site.


We have explained the entire process of creating a WordPress development website using the cPanel. It is an easy and quick exercise if you know how to use the cPanel. Once you follow the steps above, the rest should be easy. When you create a brand new staging website, you can make changes without risking your main WordPress website. It needs to stay live to keep your clients happy and to prevent them from moving to your competitors. Once you verify your edits, you can add them to the live website without affecting its performance. The cloned testing site does not face the public, so you can tweak it as often as you like.