01 Jul

Five reasons we recommend having a staging version of your website

What is a staging site?

While your website is being built, before it’s launched onto your proper domain, it lives in a space where only you and your developers can see it. This is a staging version of your site. Once you’re happy with your new website, it gets copied to the live domain.

What happens to your staging site after your website goes live?

It might feel like a website gets launched, as though a button is pressed and a setting changes from staging to live; but that’s not the case. Another perception is that the website gets moved from staging to live; but that doesn’t happen either. It stays right where it is. 

What actually happens is it gets copied. Like a very complicated copy & paste, your developers ctrl+c copy your staging site and ctrl+v paste it onto the live server. 

This leaves you with two websites.

– Staging. The unedited, brand-new, version of your website only you and your team can see. So, its private from customers and search engines

– Live. This is the version of your website everyone can see. This is where you’ll now do most of your work. 

But don’t delete staging just yet. There are some good reasons to keep it running.


Reasons to keep staging running

  1. Its a basic back up

We’d always recommend regular (daily) back-ups so you can restore your website if something goes wrong. But, those back ups have all the edits and changes you’ve made since the website went live. Your staging site is pristine clean, a ‘the day it was born’ version of your website. This can be really helpful if something has changed (in a bad way) and you don’t know who has changed it or how it changed. With a staging website, you can copy over a setting or layout you know works.

  1. It helps with troubleshooting

If your website isn’t behaving in the way you expect, it’s normally because something in the outside world has changed like browser versions or social feeds. Their settings change slightly, leaving your website out of sync with their service. That means you have to change something at your end to bring it back into line. Having a staging site means you can try out new tools and settings without it affecting your live site and disrupting your customers’ experience.

  1. You can experiment with new layouts

Something doesn’t have to go wrong for you to try new things. You can keep your website fresh by shuffling the order of your content or trying new layouts; like upgrading bullet points to a gallery; or leading with an important question rather than the traditional welcome message. An average DS.Emotion built website has over 600 content combinations, so there’s plenty of options; but not all of them will work for you. A staging site lets you experiment with new layouts, new navigations, new settings and whole user-journeys without impacting your customers.

  1. Or try new features

The worst thing about the internet is also the best; it’s always changing. This means there’s always new rules to remember or different settings to stick to. But it also means people are always creating new tools that improve your customer experience or find a better way to do business.  Adding something big like a new plugin, might seem like it can improve your website, but the idea of adding a plugin to a live-site without testing would send most good developers into a cold sweat. Having a staging site means all that trial and error is for your eyes only. 

  1. It’s a risk free training ground

We could all do with an extra hand, right? So whether you’re training someone tomorrow or you’d like some help in the future, you’ll need to consider how you’re going to teach them to use your system. Or, perhaps much more importantly, you’ll need to think about where they will practice.  PLEASE DO NOT let them learn and practice on your live website. Your staging site gives you a safe space to teach people how to run your website; and a risk-free way for them to practice what they’ve learned without a very real fear of making mistakes.


So, you don’t have to keep your staging site, and it may even come at a small extra cost, but we think it’s worth investing in a risk free space to learn, develop and troubleshoot.