A staging site is often used while building a new website, but it can also come in handy when updating and improving an existing site without impacting your existing site. By working in a staging environment, you ensure that the experience of your visitors isn’t disturbed as you make edits.
Here’s how to create a WordPress staging site manually:
Create a sub-domain on the main domain by logging into your cPanel. A sub-domain enables website owners to run their staging site in a separate folder, which leaves the main database and its contents unaffected. Click “sub-domains” under the “domains” section within your cPanel account.
Enter a name for your sub-domain, then use the drop-down menu to select your actual domain, so for example, use staging.maindomain.com. When you do so, the “document root” text box inside the cPanel should fill in automatically and show a location based on your sub-domain. For our example, it will be public_html/staging.
The next step is to create a dedicated FTP account for the staging site. It will only provide access to the staging environment to secure against accidental modifications to the live site. Go to “FTP Account” in cPanel and complete the fields in the “Add FTP Account” section. The “Directory” should be similar to the directory you selected while creating your sub-domain: public_html/staging.
Log into cPanel, select WordPress manager and complete the setup of WordPress on the new sub-domain. Once the WordPress manager completes the install of WordPress on the sub-domain you can begin to develop a new site with WordPress without affecting your existing site files.