How to Create a Sandbox Environment to Test Your WordPress Designs
You can create a test environment for your WordPress designs in several ways, and everyone’s mileage will vary on how they prefer to create one. Here are the steps you can take to create a sandbox environment:
Find out whether your hosting provider lets you create subdomains.
Generally, most hosting providers give you this option.
A subdomain is the second level of your current domain that can handle unique content separately from content in your main domain. Subdomains operate underneath your main domain and can function as a wholly different section of your site, independent from your existing domain name.
In Steps 3 and 4, the domain, ewebscapes.com, is used to create the subdomain http://testing.ewebscapes.com. The prefix testing in that web address (or URL) is a subdomain that branches off ewebscapes.com that, when set up, handles completely different content from what’s currently installed on the main domain.
Log in to cPanel (or the hosting account manager tool provided to you).
If you’re using a management tool other than cPanel, the steps will likely be different from what you see here. Please refer to your web-hosting provider’s documentation for assistance with the tool you’re using.
Locate and then click the Subdomains icon in the cPanel interface.
The arrangement of icons on the cPanel interface varies from hosting provider to hosting provider.
The Subdomains page within cPanel appears.
Type the name of your subdomain in the Subdomain text box.
For the purposes of making this straightforward and easy, type testing in the text box.
From the drop-down list, choose the name of the domain on which you want to add the subdomain.
The drop-down list shows the domain ewebscapes.com. In this example, you’re creating the subdomain on this domain, so the new subdomain is http://testing.ewebscapes.com.
A unique folder name for your new subdomain appears in the Document Root text box. Don’t alter this text because this tells your web server where to install the necessary WordPress files.
Click the Create button.
After a few seconds, the page refreshes and displays a message that the new subdomain has been created.
Now that you have a subdomain set up on your hosting account, you can install WordPress into the folder that was created when you added the subdomain. For example, if you created a testing subdomain, you’ll install WordPress into the /testing folder.
With your new subdomain created, you can work on your new WordPress website design and development without disrupting anything on the live site (or the intended domain where the website will eventually be after it’s completed).
You can use the Members Only WordPress plugin to lock down your sandbox environment and keep it away from prying eyes and search engines. The Members Only plugin lets you show the website to only those people whom you give access to by providing them with a username and password to log in to the sandbox test site. You can find the Members Only plugin on the Plugin Directory page.