Each WordPress install at Kinsta can have its own staging environment, which is completely separate from your live production site. This is great for testing new WordPress versions, plugins, code, and general development work. Create a dev site in a matter of minutes and share it with your team.

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Create WordPress Staging Environment

We’ve made creating a staging site as easy as possible. In your MyKinsta dashboard, click on Sites in the left navigation. You’ll see a list of your sites/installs. Select the site you want to create a staging environment for, click on the Change Environment drop-down menu in the top right, and select Staging Environment.

Change to your WordPress staging environment in MyKinsta.

Change to your WordPress staging environment in MyKinsta.

On the next screen, click on the Create a Staging Environment button to start the process.

Create a Kinsta staging environment.

Create a Kinsta staging environment.

Accessing Your Staging Environment

Please wait 10-15 minutes until the staging is created and DNS propagates. You will then have a separate control panel with your connection information, DNS, backups, tools, and plugins for your staging environment.

The URL structure of your staging environment follows this format:
https://staging-sitename.kinsta.cloud

If you have an older staging site, your URL may look like this instead:
https://staging-sitename.kinsta.com. 

If you have SSL enabled on your live site, SSL will also be enabled on your staging site.

You can launch phpMyAdmin from right within the dashboard. The URL structure for phpMyAdmin staging will appear as follows: https://mysqleditor-staging-sitename.kinsta.cloud.

Kinsta staging environment in MyKinsta.

Kinsta staging environment in MyKinsta.

Delete and Refresh Staging Environment

If you need to remove your staging site, in MyKinsta, go to Sites > Info and click Delete Staging Environment. When deleting a staging site all of its data will be completely removed, including the databases, files, and staging backups. To delete this environment, type the site name, followed by a dash and the word “staging” (SITENAME-staging) in the field provided, then click the Delete This Environment button.

To refresh your staging environment, delete it and create a new one. This newly created staging environment will contain the most recent version of your production database and files for testing. Alternatively, you can restore a backup from your production site to staging.

Delete a staging environment in MyKinsta.

Delete a staging environment in MyKinsta.

Push Staging to Live

To overwrite your live site with your staging site, you can utilize the push staging to live feature.

Important

Pshing from staging to live will overwrite your live site completely, including the files and database.

Restore a WordPress Backup to Staging

You can also restore your WordPress site from a backup and push it directly to your staging environment. Check out how to restore a WordPress backup to staging. Note: When restoring a live backup to staging, all staging backups will remain intact.

Restart Staging Environment

In certain situations, we may stop a staging environment as part of a server troubleshooting process. If you notice your staging environment has been stopped and see a 501 not implemented or 502 error when visiting your site, you can restart the staging environment in MyKinsta by going to your site’s Info page and clicking Start Staging Environment.

Restart your staging environment in MyKinsta.

Restart your staging environment in MyKinsta.

If you are unable to restart your staging environment or don’t see the button in MyKinsta, please reach out to our support team for further assistance.

Important Notes Regarding Staging

When you use the staging environment there are a couple important things to be aware of.

1. Page Cache Settings for Staging Sites

Because staging environments are for development purposes, debugging, and testing, Kinsta’s full page caching and OPcache are disabled by default. If you run website speed tests, you will see higher than average load times since the pages aren’t being served from cache. If you want to enable caching on a staging site, click on the Enable Cache button on the Tools page of your site’s staging environment. When caching is enabled on a staging site, the Clear Cache button will be enabled and can be used to clear the cache.

Enable caching for a staging environment.

Enable caching for a staging environment.

2. Staging Environment Credentials

Because the staging environment is a copy of your production site, your WordPress admin login credentials will be the same for both your live site and staging site, unless you change them after creating your staging environment.

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3. SEO

Staging sites by default will have indexing turned off so that they don’t harm the SEO on your live production site. You can check this by going to Settings > Reading in your staging site’s WordPress dashboard. The option to discourage search engines from indexing the site is checked beside Search Engine Visibility. This settings adds the following HTTP header onto your WordPress site. x-robots-tag:noindex, nofollow, nosnippet, noarchive

Search engine indexing disabled on staging site.

Search engine indexing disabled on staging site.

Kinsta temporary URLs (including staging URLs) also have a robot-restricting X-Robots-Tag: noindex, nofollow, nosnippet, noarchive HTTP header, meaning the staging-sitename.kinsta.com URL’s won’t be indexed by the search engines.

4. Plugins

If you use social scheduling plugins such as CoSchedule or Social Networks Auto Poster, it is recommended that you deactivate these plugins on your staging site. Otherwise, they might start sharing to social networks using your staging URL: https://staging-sitename.temp312.kinsta.cloud. This could then skew your analytics. The Jetpack plugin will automatically run in staging mode on Kinsta staging environments. You will see a message: “You are running Jetpack on a staging server.” While in Staging Mode, your staging site will act like your production site in virtually all ways except no data is passed up to WordPress.com and you cannot disconnect the staging site (to prevent an issue that would lead to problems with your production site).

5. Make Note of Your Login URL

If you’re using a WordPress plugin that changes your default login URL, the custom part of the URL will get copied over to the staging site. Example: http://staging-sitename.temp312.kinsta.cloud/yourcustomlogin

6. Staging Should Be Used For Development/Testing Only

The staging environment should be used for development and testing only. Staging isn’t designed to be used as live production sites, and there will be things that don’t function correctly. Kinsta is not responsible if you try to use staging environment for a live site.

7. Disk Space Excluded From Plan Total

To give you as much space as possible, staging sites are excluded from our reporting when calculating your total disk space usage. Only live sites count against your disk space usage.

8. Multisite

If you’re running a WordPress multisite network, depending on how your multisite is set up, it may or may not work with our staging environment.

  • If it’s a subdirectory multisite (example.com, example.com/subsite1, example.com/subsite2) it will work fine with our staging environment.
  • If it’s a subdomain multisite (example.com, subsite1.example.com, subsite2.example.com), it will work fine, provided the subsites don’t require HTTPS.
  • If it’s a domain-mapped multisite (loads different subsites at completely different domains, i.e. example.com, example1.com, example2.com), it won’t work without significant manual setup.
    • Option 1: Turn off domain mapping and go back to the standard subdirectory/subdomain setup. Do a search and replace in the database manually.
    • Option 2: Set up staging subdomains for each live domain, add all those to the staging site, and run a search and replace in the database manually.

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