Video Length: 6:42

Set up a dev site

A devsite, or development site, is useful when your site is not yet in the final place where it’s going to rest.

For example:

1. You’re building a site for a client. It’s good practice to build the site on your own hosting so you can make sure you get paid before you take it live.

2. You already have a site that’s live and you’re building a new one to replace that. You don’t want to take the old one down yet.

3. You have not registered your domain name yet, or you’re in the process of buying a premium domain name. You can carry on with the project of building your new website in a development environment.

We’re going to create a subdomain

The first things we’ll do is set up a subdomain. You need a host with cPanel to follow these instructions.

An important distinction about how I do this is that I set up my subdomain outside of public_html.

A lot of people put subdomains and addon domains inside public_html but it’s bad practice for 3 reasons.

1. If your main site gets infected with malware it’s easier for your other sites to also become infected if they’re inside the same folder.

2. When you backup your main site you have to be careful to exclude the extra sites if they’re inside the other folder. If you don’t, you’ll be creating very big backup files.

3. It’s easier to manage your development sites when they’re outside public_html. They’re ordered in a logical and easy to understand fashion, much like the folders on your computer.

I go through the process of creating a subdomain in the video (from about the 2:50 mark).

In case you prefer written notes, here they are:

Step 1 – Create the subdomain folder

Log into your cPanel

Click on File Manager

Click on New Folder

Name the folder. I call mine publicsubs_devsiteXXX, where XXX is the name of the project.

Leave the ‘New folder will be created in’ box blank

Create New Folder

You’ll notice your folder is now visible on the left. If not, close the File Manager window and launch File Manager again. Some hosts need this step, some don’t.

Step 2 – Add the subdomain

Go back to your cPanel dashboard

Find and click on Subdomains

Put in a name at the subdomain box. I call mine devsiteXXX, where XXX is the name of the project.

At document root, type in publicsubs_devsiteXXX, where XXX is the name of the project. You will notice it will autofill after you type the first few letters.

Create

Success!

What Next?

In the next video I’ll talk about how to clone and migrate a ‘gold standard’ site using the Duplicator plugin.

Then the development site is ready to go.