Should you have a test environment?

testing-imgMany of our customers run highly customized versions of WordPress and also WooCommerce (an ecommerce plugin for WordPress).  As customers enjoy their sites, plugins are routinely updated with bug fixes, new functionality and other changes.  Some of these plugins can pretty easily be updated by making a backup of the site, applying the update and then testing.  However some of our customers site’s are too large, complex or critical to do any real-time updates and we encourage these customers to maintain a duplicate site that is an exact match of their production/live site for testing purposes.  With hosting costs so low, many of our customers do not need to change their hosting plan to accommodate this option.

When setting up a test site, customers can test new plugin or functionality, WordPress updates, shopping cart add ons or hosting environment changes such as going from PHP version 5.3 to version 5.4 without the possibility of affecting your production site.  If something does break in the test site, it would simply be rolled back to its live state before the change was made or could be debugged in a broken state without the need to rush through the process to restore the live sites functionality.