How to manage WP staging site and overcome plugin conflicts?

Hi all, I recently launched a WP site with about 11 plugins. I usually build very basic content sites, but this one is more complex, since it has a QnA forum (Anspress), UserPro, WP RSS aggregator, Beaver builder, and more. I am using the Genesis framework.

I’d like to know what is the right way to manage the site, considering the many plugin updates I will need to keep performing. I’m worried about conflicts which can arise as and when I update them.

Some of the questions running through my head right now:

  • Should I build a staging site, with the same database, and keep it synced with the live site?
  • Should the staging be on my local machine, or on my server?
  • Should I update plugins immediately, or wait for a while and check their support sections first for complaints?
  • Are there any tools which can help me with this?

Please share your process. It will help me know what I need to do.

Thanks guys!

I would definitely use a staging site to test the updated plugins first, before updating the ones on the live site. And don’t update them all at once. If one plugin doesn’t work, you can revert back to the previous one using your backup.

I wouldn’t wait to update the plugins, just because most plugin updates are fixing security issues and you don’t really want to postpone that kind of a fix.

Thank you for your reply!

What about plugin license keys? I have mostly single use licenses for my paid plugins.

Is updating manually on the staging site, the only way to do it? Or is there a better way?

It’s usually safe to use the “Updates Area” of your dashboard to update the plugins automatically, just as long as you have a backup that you can use to revert the update if anything happens. Because it is a single use license, you would have to do the update on the live site. But be careful and only update one plugin at a time and test it before moving on. And make sure the update notice says that the plugin is certified as being compatible with the most current version of WordPress.

Your other option would be to check the home page of the individual plugin. Most paid plugins come with good documentation, including how to proceed with updating them.

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