Did you know WordPress powers 34% of the internet, which is 4% more than how it was in 2018? WordPress hosts 37.5 million websites, and among them, The New Yorker, TechCrunch, Variety, TED, and People might be some websites you already know.
While setting your WordPress website, some mistakes will be made when you try to change anything. But you don’t have to be discouraged so quickly. With the growing popularity of WordPress, many developers discover themselves operating on bigger websites that demand plenty of maintenance work. Develop a website is easy but it’s very difficult to make it SEO friendly especially if you want to rank your article on Google. By following these WordPress SEO Tips, you can boost your ranking in Google Search Engine. If a mistake occurs, you would have to start from scratch and if you already have traffic, your visitors won’t be happy to see the page not working when they need it the most. If you are guilty of doing this, then you need a better workflow.
The Three Versions
Each website you manage should at least have a Local, a Staging (for client review and questions/answers) and a Live version. Your work should flow through these alternatives in order as you proceed through the cycle of project development. Everything from attaching the latest widget to recreating the whole website should be done in this sequence.
Step 1: Local WordPress Development
Previously, several developers choose the command line for local development employing tools such as XAMPP, Vagrant, and VVV. While these tools are useful for workflow development, real user interfaces like Gutenberg are better to finish this job. This is where you can use Local by FlyWheel. Local lets you design WordPress installations straight on the computer with only a few clicks. You can also back your live website and pull it inside the Local window, to begin with, the accurate copy. You can also push and put your whole website with one click. It is that easy.
When you are done with this step, you will have a local site on your hand. This site is not accessed by anyone but you. Here, you can do any modifications you’d want.
Once you have a local working WordPress website copy, it is time to start the work. Custom PHP changes are now straightforward for you. With a local website, you can change the file for themes and see the modifications in real-time minus the need to extend through Git or transmit them back to your server through FTP. Instead, you will have the capability to check everything on the local URL straightaway.
But you might ask, why go all this way if you are only modifying something in the dashboard on WordPress? Well, to begin with, you will never run into the problem of disrupting your live website with a critical modification because your local website works entirely autonomously from your live site. You can disrupt it as many times as you have to and you don’t need to worry about what you are doing. Just head over there and figure out what is not working. Your website viewers will never know anything has been modified until the thoroughly tested version has been used.
Step 2: Staging
Staging websites are the middle ground between live and local. It is where you will ensure that your modifications behave with the site’s server and show the changes to a client before making them live. For this purpose, it is crucial to ensure that your staging site is based on the same server as the live site. Diversity in the server ecosystem between live and staging can lead you to some unexpected problems. For instance, something that is fine with PHP 5 may not behave very well with PHP 7. The PHP of your staging website has to match that of your live website.
Compatibility is important during this stage. If you don’t pay attention to it, you might have to start again. The same goes for all the extra bits you add to the site as well as themes, plugins, media, and so on.
So, how to migrate your local modifications to the staging website? There are several ways: you can create a complete backup of the local site and then import it to a staging server, or you can do it in installments.
Plugins are usually third-party and thus, do not require any version management from your side. For this purpose, you can opt to push all latest plugins to the staging website via FTP. While they upload, you can move on to the other steps without a worry.
If you are working with a customized theme from WordPress, you should be monitoring changes utilizing Git. Employing a tool like DeployHQ, you can deploy changes from your Bitbucket or Github container easily to both your live and staging website.
If you are employing a third-party theme, you should not be changing the base theme files, so push that on to the staging server through FTP. If you are making modifications to a child theme, you can use version control and an extension method, or upload your changed child theme to the FTP-server.
● Databases and Media
These are separate entities, but the reason why they are grouped is simple. The plugin you can employ for database migration is Migrate DB Pro by Delicious Brains, and this plugin also manages media files. Any changed media file can be pulled or pushed from one WordPress base to another along with the database with a single click.
Step 3: Go Live
Once you have entirely tested your modifications on the staging website, it is time to go live. Providers for hosting that have in-built staging ecosystems usually have a one-click point to make this possible. If you do not have that choice, replicate the migrating process from local version to staging version, but now you do it from staging version to live version. And you are finally done after that.
Locally installing your WordPress is helpful, and it allows you to make website modifications, operating updates, check plugins and themes, and more in a hazard-free ecosystem. It may feel awkward if you’re a beginner, but local WordPress development will become second nature once you pick it up. For hosting a WordPress website, you could choose Shared Hosting. Opting for Shared Hosting, especially during the initial stage when you’re still figuring things out is economical, as server maintenance can be managed more easily. However, once you are well-versed you can move to WordPress Hosting as it caters specifically to WordPress websites and has more benefits for your website.