The staging environment is perfect for testing updates, and experimenting on your store without impacting your live one. See the help article Update your WooCommerce store for a quick step-by-step process.
For the purpose of this article, let's define the two store versions:
- Live Store (live/production environment): the store that is on your domain, customer-facing, and taking orders.
- Staging Store (staging/testing environment): a clone of your store in a separate environment, isolated from your live store. It is on a separate staging subdomain, and customers or search engines do not have access to it.
The staging environment is a perfect copy which means however the store behaves on staging, it will behave the same on the live environment.
Important Notes for Staging Use
- The staging store is considered the source of data except for orders, customers, and products. Do not use staging to edit orders, customers, and products. Do not edit posts, pages, or settings on the live store when staging is running.
- Create a new staging every time you want to do changes or updates. We do not recommend running it for longer than 3 days.
- Do not publish immediately after making updates as some background processes might still be running. Give it an hour or so before proceeding.
- Delete staging after Publish to Live. The staging is archived after Publish and cannot be reused (it will be automatically deleted after a day).
- If you have plugins that require data download from the live store to staging, learn more in Plugin data sync for Staging.
Create a Staging Store
When you click Create Staging on the Overview, WooCart automatically creates a new backup and builds a staging environment from it.
You can also create staging from any old backup by clicking Stage Backup.
Creating a staging environment can take up to an hour for large stores. Once it's done, it'll show under your store in the left drawer menu. The sidebar menu is colored yellow so you can clearly differ between staging and live.
Some features are not available on staging, like Addons and Backups. You can only run one staging store at a time.
Transactional Emails are automatically configured to Shared Transactional Emails and work out-of-box.
Download Data from Live
At any time you can download the changes made on the live store (orders, customers, and products) to staging. If there was an order made on the live store it will be added to the staging store. Click Download Data to start the process.
Publish Staging to Live
When you're happy with the changes to your store, you can publish them to live. The live store will be taken offline, download data will be run automatically, and then the staging store will be put online.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, do not publish immediately after making updates as some background processes might still be running. Give it an hour or so before proceeding.
Publishing might take several minutes, and in the meantime, the live store shows Scheduled Maintenance notification.
The staging store is automatically archived after publishing. We recommend you delete it after you confirm everything is correct on the live store. You cannot use the same version of staging for publishing changes twice.
If something went seriously wrong after publishing and you want to go back to the previous live version, you can click Revert Staging. You have 24 hours to revert back to the previous store version.
Note: if you Revert Staging, the data from the current live store will be lost. Do this only in extreme cases.
Plugins Making Changes Automatically on the Live Store
Your store might have plugins that automatically do changes on the live store. Our staging can support these plugins but it needs to be implemented individually. Read more about Plugin data sync for Staging.
Example: eBay Lister synchronizes bids, customers, and sales with eBay. This can happen while the staging store is running, and would be lost if it was not downloaded from the live store.
About Premium Theme and Plugin licenses
WordPress understands staging environments and most themes and plugins do as well. Contact us if you see a license was not copied over to and from staging.