Why You Need To Use A Staging Website When Developing A Website
Businesses are becoming more and more reliant on websites as a means to not only showcase their offerings but also as a means to transact with customers. Businesses spend large amounts of money on their websites and SEO, to ensure maximum visibility to portray their business in the best light possible. You’re probably asking yourself, what is a Staging Website?
Basically, a staging website or staging environment is an exact clone of your live website at any point in time. A staging environment allows you to add and test new features for your website without ever impacting the performance of your “live site”. Without a staging site, a slight error in code when making a change could bring down your entire website.
Staging sites, by design, are meant to be for internal use only. This means the general public is not able to access the staging environment, but key stakeholders in the development of the site can see its evolution and progress. As staging sites are also private, they are not ranked by Google.
When all new features have been added to the website, you can “PUSH” the changes from the “staging environment” to your “live site”. This is basically a fancy way of copying the changes you’ve made on one site and putting them on the other for everyone to see.
Some developers use a lot of jargon when describing this, and it even took me a while to come to grips with it. A Staging Environment or Staging Site is essentially the same thing, a clone of your live website where you can make edits without fear of your live site going down. The Live site or Production site is basically your main website which everyone can see, and is listed on Google.
ADVANTAGES OF STAGING ENVIRONMENTS
There are loads of benefits for developers, such as:
- Being able to develop in a safe environment
- Finding errors and bugs with code before without putting the site at risk
- Provides a mechanism to make changes, or redevelop website without impacting live site
- Ability to publish changes across easily once approved between both sites
DISADVANTAGES OF STAGING ENVIRONMENTS
As with everything, there are a few disadvantages too:
- It takes longer to make edits to your website
- Some web hosts charge more for this service
- Staging environment and live site have to be kept in sync manually.
While it may take longer to develop a website when using a staging environment, it is certainly best practice, as it allows for code revisions and alterations without ever putting your live website at risk.