We have been in the process of moving our hosted WordPress websites over to WP-Engine, and with that comes a few added benefits that were not available in our legacy system. One of these new features is the ability to create your own staging environment for your website. The staging environment is basically a clone of your website that you can use to test changes/updates/etc., before actually putting them out there on your live website for the world to see.
How It Works:
Log-in to your WordPress back-end and click on the WP Engine section (first link in the left sidebar).
Click the Staging tab. From this tab you will see the current staging status, a link to the staging environment (if it exists), and buttons to “Copy site from live to staging” and to “Copy site from staging to live” (the second option only appears if a staging environment exists).
Click the “Copy Site from LIVE to STAGING” button. This will make a copy of your site in it’s current state into a staging environment.
Refresh this page to check on the status of your staging environment. Once the new staging environment is finished being setup, the status will change to “Ready!”, and the link to your staging environment will be displayed (http://yoursite.staging.wpengine.com).
Visit your staging environment and make/test your changes.
Now it’s time to you copy your changes back to the live site. If your site does not contain any E-Commerce or user-driven content, usually it is safe to move the changes live using the “Copy site from STAGING to LIVE” button from the WP-Engine section once your changes are completed.
If you have a website with user-driven content (or if you have updated it yourself), between the time you created the staging-environment and when your finished updating your staging environment, copying from the STAGING to LIVE will revert any changes that may have happened on your live site in the meantime (orders, blog posts, comments, etc.). So depending on the change, it may be a better idea to re-do the change on the live version of the site (once you have tested everything on the staging environment and know that your changes are going to go through smoothly).