Site development - site hosting process

Hello,
I am an amateur beginner level web designer. I start to work on a small commercial site based on Wordpress with MySQL database. I am going to develop the site on my computer and after it is done - to transfer it to a professional commercial hosting.
I would like to configure the relationship between Wordpress based static pages and the MySQL database properly from the very beginning so that not to discover after half a year of work that I need to change some links or configurations in multiple places or rewrite something. I would like to place the components of the site (Wordpress static pages, MySQL database, PHP scripts, etc.) in the proper locations to be available to be transferred to commercial hosting in one click of FTP (I am not sure this is possible but this is the ultimate goal).
My modest experience with the subject is learning PHP and MySQL with Kevin Yank’s book “Build your own database driven site using PHP and MySQL”. Then I performed a Windows manual installation (not WAMP) of all the needed components (Apache, MySQL, PHP). I knew all the locations of the components and correspondingly configured the PHP configuration file. All was on my computer and wasn’t intended to be transferred to public available hosting.
Now I am starting an operational site and would like to follow the most correct and good practice of local development – transfer to commercial hosting procedure. I would very appreciate expanded and competent help on the subject.
The apparent questions that can arise around the subject are:

  1. Should keep my learning environment and only add the new operation database to it or shouls I erase it completely and install a new environment from the scratch. If yes, should I use WAMP installation instead of manual?
  2. Should I take care of some specific absolute and relative to one another locations of the different components of the environment and the site? Or is it completely free and only the matter of proper configuration of corresponding configuration files to keep all the components talking to each another at development environment and after that at the operational hosting?
  3. Before I make my final site visible at my hosting server I would like to have it been extensively tested by me in its operational environment. I won’t like any potential customer find it by chance before I made all the due diligence. How can I make it not visible to any random visitor, when it is already installed at the hosting?

This is not necessarily a best practice, but it is what I do.

On my server that I will be using for the site, I setup a sub directory and a database for the site. After I have done all my development, I move a copy of the site and a copy of the database to the operational area of the site, and I backup the site/database on my local machine.

Since it is already on the server, there are no surprises about what kind of environment the site will operate in.

So, my personal tastes would be:

  1. neither-- develop on a sandbox on a server

  2. You should be developing in a way that is relative to your sites root directory, so moving from one directory to another should not break the site.

3)it really isn’t likely that someone is going to try and guess their way into a path on your testing server, so I wouldn’t worry about people gaining access.

Those, of course, are my tastes, and not necessarily the best/safest things in the world.

Thank you, TexasBob.
So, I understand you propose to develop on final destination - the commercial hosting server. What do you mean by sandbox? What if someone discovers my buggy half-finished site through context Google search?

What do you mean by sandbox?

That I SEO term.
Try this link
http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=2061294

Thank you.
Another question. How can I develop the site located at commercial hosting? If it is some out of shelve framework (like Wordpress template) or site built with the commercial hosting provided builder (like Yahoo small business) it is understandable.
But I need some custom design. I mean I’ll need to build the MySQL database, to edit HTML and PHP files.
All this is familiar for me with the tools available on my computer (WEB authoring tools, phpAdmin, etc).
How can all this be done to files that are located remotely?

If you are using commercial hosting then you can move your whole database to the server which you have purchased then you can work on it accordingly.

My whole last question was about the essence of this “accordingly”. Accordingly how? With what tools can I work with remotely located files? The same phpAdmin and WEB authoring tools? Is it common practice to do - to edit remotely located files?

“What do you mean by sandbox?”

I just mean a directory that is distinct from your production site, the live site that people will see. IMO, you don’t really have to worry too much about people finding a subdirectory in your site with no links in it, though it could happen it is not likely. It is better to make big changes to your complex site in a plce where people aren’t going to be looking at it, before making them on the actual site.

"But I need some custom design. I mean I’ll need to build the MySQL database, to edit HTML and PHP files.

All this is familiar for me with the tools available on my computer (WEB authoring tools, phpAdmin, etc).

How can all this be done to files that are located remotely?“”

As far as how to go about developing your site, all of the local tools (phpMyadmin, cpanel, FTP) are things that are available thought your host. You just upload the install files for wordpress or whatever to the site and create the database/user through your host’s interface. You can work on your site locally using whatever tools you have been suing, then upload files to the server via FTP, and see how the site outputs pages into your browser.

It isn’t any different than working on your local machine.

Yes. You download the file via FTP, edit it, and then upload it. Very easy.