Any online business needs to have a robust web application. The application has to have high availability, fast response to user commands, seamless integration with server and database, and a secure transaction capability. These features are quite complex to build and maintain. Moreover, as the business grows and traffic increases, you might want to make some changes and improvements in your web application.
You can also get more information on Cloudways Staging by reading our detailed Cloudways Review.
However, making changes directly on a live website is a recipe for disaster and confusion as to the changes and unfinished products that will be visible to the end-user during the development phase. It is a good practice in the industry to make the required modifications outside the live environment and then go live after the changes are completely developed and tested. This is where the requirement of Staging comes into the picture. Staging separates the new application or features under testing from the live application which can be accessed by end-users.
There are several ways to create a dedicated environment where you can develop or change your application outside public reach. One such way is to create a local server like XAMPP or WAMPP which emulates a server within your local computer and enables you to develop a local web application. A second way is to utilize a development server. In both cases, it is recommended that you do an adequate amount of testing before deployment. One such environment is available for testing your web application before deployment is called Staging Site. We will discuss more staging and in particular, Cloudways Staging in this article.
There are various ways in which you can develop, test, and deploy your web application. Some of the possible routes are:
- Local Server: This method of development is usually used by small websites and businesses with very little traffic. In this method, the development team creates a small local server within the local computer by the use of tools like XAMPP or WAMPP. This server emulates a real web server and allows you to develop your web application using tools like WordPress and PHP. Development and testing of the web application are carried out in this local environment in this method.
However, once the local development and testing of the web application are complete, taking the application or its new features live for the end user takes a lot of effort and time with this development route. Most of this is done manually and is prone to error and takes a lot of time. You have to procure hosting service, migrate the front end and backend or the changes to the hosting server space, retest the application for any issues and several such steps are involved in going live.
- Using a Development Server: In this philosophy, the business maintains a separate development server which is only for applications under development and testing phase. The live applications are on a separate server and this segregation allows you to develop and test your application and new features independent of your live application usage.
The development server can only be accessed by the development and testing team members and is not accessible to end-users. Only after all required features of the application are developed and the application is tested and found to be proper are the application or changes migrated to a live server for access to end-users.
- Staging Site: Staging is a dedicated space for your web application on the cloud server. Only people who have explicit access to the staging site can access the web application at this location allowing you to review the website and its features before deployment. It allows you to catch any remaining flaws, bugs, and performance issues. All new features added by developers after the initial version of the application goes live is first kept in the staging area to test it out before deployment in the live application.
Staging uses a dedicated server space and hence there are no issues in migration from a local server as in the case of local website development. Staging also saves you the hassles of maintaining different servers for each phase and then migrating between them. Staging services allow you to manage changes and go live at the click of a button thereby reducing the time and effort drastically.
The staging site is merely a clone of your application but with the new features which are still under testing and still not available on the live version. By having your web application in a staging area, you can evaluate the performance of the application and try out its full functionality along with the new features being rolled-out to ensure it meets your requirements. There is a chance that your team will miss something or that the application will end up with bugs or poor performance if you go directly from development and testing to going live. Staging the website allows you one final look at the application to catch any remaining issues before deployment.
What is Cloudways Staging?
Cloudways CDN platform allows you to create a staging area for your web application with the click of a few buttons. It is a dedicated space on your cloud server for testing of your web application before deployment which is inaccessible to end-users. By running your app in the staging area, you can see the full functionality of the application without the risk of doing it in the live version. It is a good tool for adding new features or rolling out new versions of your website.
Cloudways CDN platform offers you a very convenient mechanism of staging your website. The Cloudways staging is free and you can create a staging area on the same server with the click of a button. With the user-friendly interface and ability to integrate with Git, Cloudways CDN allows you to move through development, testing, staging, and deployment with the click of a button. This ability of the Cloudways platform to manage all the heavy lifting on its own enables you to focus on website development and building a robust application.
Cloudways staging offers free access to a dedicated space on your server resource where you can stage your web applications before deployment. There are no additional charges and it is bundled with your Cloudways CDN subscription in the Pay-As-You-Go model of pricing. Cloudways, CDN provides you a reliable platform for all phases of your website development and Cloudways Staging is a vital part of this process.
Cloudways Staging site provides you a dedicated space to clone your web application and test new features that are still not available in the live version accessible to end-users. By doing this, you can test the new features of your application away from the reach of end users and ensure that it is good enough to be released in the live version. The entire process of cloning, transferring data from one space to another, and going live after testing can be achieved with a few clicks with the Cloudways CDN platform.
Why use Cloudways Staging?
Creating a Staging Site with Cloudways platform
Cloudways platform provides a very convenient user interface to create a staging site. You can create a staging instance of an application with the below steps easily.
- After logging into the Cloudways platform click on ‘Application’ in the top navbar. This will show a list of applications as per the image below:
- Click on the pop-up menu against the application you want to stage and select ‘Clone App/Create Staging’ option to create your first staging application. The below screenshot shows the details.
- Staging an application is also possible from the Application Management menu. Click on ‘Clone App/Create Staging’ to do this. It is the button to the right side of the screen as shown in the below screenshot.
- A menu will ask you to choose the location for hosting the staging site. You can opt for the ‘Same Server’ option to avail of the staging site at no extra charge. This creates a dedicated space within your cloud server for a staging site.
- After you complete this process, the staging site will be created and it will be available under the applications page in the navbar.
You can now start using this staging area to test your application and new features before deployment. You can drag and drop data from staging to life application and vice versa. You can also deploy the application and its new features with a single click of a button from the staging area.
Pros & Cons
Cloudways services are offered in a Pay-As-You-Go model where you pay only for what you use. The charges can be calculated every month or on an hourly basis for the Cloudways platform. However, the Cloudways Staging tool is included in the platform at no extra charge. By creating a staging site at your cloud server, you can reserve dedicated space for testing your applications.
This feature comes practically free of cost along with your Cloudways subscription. Cloudways pricing is designed to offer more value for your money. It is specifically tailed for growing business needs and offers the benefits of scalability and reliability at minimum CAPEX which is the biggest advantage of cloud systems.
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👉Why do I need Website Staging?
Staging your website is an important part of your overall development process before deployment as it captures any remaining bugs and issues. It prevents a poor tool from reaching the end-user and saves you loss of reputation, customer complaints, and rework. The staging site is a dedicated location on the server which only your team members can access to review the web application in its full form and address any remaining issues. Going from development and testing directly to live deployment without staging can result in some bugs and issues in the web application reaching the end-user.
👉What is the cost of Cloudways staging?
Cloudways staging comes bundled with your Cloudways subscription and does not cost you any extra money apart from your normal Cloudways subscription charges. However, staging does require Server space and cloud resources and the resources required for staging will be separated for staging purposes from your Cloudways resource bundle.
👉Who should use Cloudways Staging?
Cloudways Staging is a module for reviewing the web application before deployment. Staging also provides a separate space for testing out new features before incorporating these on the live application. Cloudways Staging should be used by the following category of people: 1. Developers 2. QA Testers and Reviewers 3. A business owner or Client
Conclusion: How to Use Cloudways Staging
Cloudways Staging provides you a convenient dedicated space in the cloud server to test your application and manage new features before deployment. It comes with a friendly user interface to manage the transition and improve efficiency while reducing and trapping bugs on your website. A robust digital business needs a robust web application and Cloudways platform provides a staging tool to achieve just that.
The Cloudways staging tool is a great feature that is included in the overall Cloudways platform. Here you can monitor and control the changes, filter out unwanted issues and bugs, and ensure that only the very best is released to the end-user. It saves you the troubles of bug fixes and patch updates on a live application and disruption of your business. Cloudways Staging also provides a dedicated space for testing and rolling out new features. By separating the testing environment from that of the live application, you can roll out updates and new features with minimum disturbance to your live application.
Considering the fact that many hosting services do not provide a staging capability and a simplified user interface and those that do it charge a hefty premium, Cloudways platform strikes the right balance to provide the most value for your money. It offers the most bang for your buck and has been trusted and recommended by a vast number of happy customers. Try out Cloudways CDN platform and its staging features right away and you will not have to look any further for your web hosting.