Test WordPress Designs in a Sandbox Environment
A sandbox is a neutral environment in which a designer can test different web layouts and content delivery designs before launching a WordPress website live on a client’s hosted domain.
After a client gives final approval on the overall website design and layout, the designer can transfer the site from the sandbox domain to the client’s live domain within a matter of minutes.
Your first step is to find out whether your hosting provider lets you create subdomains.
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.
For example, if you had a main domain ewebscapes.com, you might create the subdomain http://testing.ewebscapes.com to test a website's layout and content delivery. 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 than what’s currently installed on the main domain.
Generally, most hosting providers give you the option of establishing subdomains. Your hosting account may then offer you cPanel hosting account manager to create the subdomains, or a different management tool, such as NetAdmin or Plesk.
Log in to cPanel (or the hosting account manager tool provided to you).
Locate and then click the Subdomains icon in the cPanel interface.
The Subdomains page within cPanel appears. The arrangement of icons on the cPanel interface will vary from hosting provider to hosting provider.
Type the name of your subdomain in the Subdomain text box.
For example, you might type testing in the Subdomain text box.
From the drop-drop list, choose the name of the domain on which you want to add the subdomain.
Here, 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.
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).
To go one step further, 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 only to those people whom you give access to by providing them with a username and password to log in to the sandbox test site.