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— Cam Hart What They Say

How can I make big changes to my website without users seeing until I’m done?

Sometimes when you are building a new version of your website or just switching themes, you’ll want to do so on a temporary copy of your website. This is called staging. It buys you time and ensures visitors to the live website do not see anything under construction. Here are some different ways you can do this.

  • The easiest approach is to use your host’s staging feature if they have one. It’s common on managed WordPress hosting providers. The way it typically works is you click a button to make a copy of your site that you can edit. When done, you click a button to copy the new site over the live site. We have a staging feature in beta at WP Church Host.
  • Or, try the WP Staging plugin if your host doesn’t have their own staging feature.
  • Or, create a temporary site at yourname.com/new using the WordPress installer in your host’s control panel. Import the contents from your live site (or make a complete copy with the Duplicator plugin) then make your changes. Move the site back to yourname.com when you’re done (Duplicator can help with that too or see other methods). Backup both sites in their entirety before doing any moves to be safe.
  • Or, use the Local app or DesktopServer (both free) to do something similar on your own computer.

You can also switch your hosting to WP Church Host (a service we provide). We’ll copy your site to a temporary URL for free. You can make your changes in private there then we’ll help you point your domain to our hosting so that users see the new site when it’s ready. The old site on the old host will stay online while you make your changes.