How to Create a WordPress Test Site

Create WordPress testsiteTest sites are useful for a number of reasons. Perhaps you

  • Want to get familiar with WordPress before committing to using it
  • Want to try out a new theme/layout before you make it live.
  • Need to develop a site for a friend or client.
  • etc

What You Will Learn

  • How to Use a subdomain to build a test website
  • How to Install and use your own personal web server to build local WordPress test sites

There are two ways of creating a test site

Using A Sub Domain

The easiest way of creating a test site is to use a subdomain.

So if your main site web address is then you can have a test site at

Because most hosting providers allow for many subdomains you can create multiple test sites using this method.

However you will need an existing Hosting account like ( 1&1-UK) or Bluehost.that supports multiple domain hosting.

The procedure is as follows:

  • Create a new folder for the website
  • Create a new subdomain
  • Associate the sub domain with the folder.
  • Install your website files in to the folder

The subdomain in this case is called test.

In the following video I will show you how to create the subdomain and associate it with a sub folder using Cpanel on Bluehost.

You can copy the WordPress files to the sub folder or use a scripted install to install WordPress.

Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Easy to setup
  • No server and install files to manage as the host does that
  • Site is online and can be shared with others.
  • Can use hosting install scripts if available


  • You need a hosting account
  • Sites are visible on the Internet
  • Danger of interfering with existing site if you do any database procedures e.g. deleting databases use MYPHPAdmin

Installing and Using Your Own Personal Web Server

WordPress requires a web server with and php and MYSQL support.

You can use any spare PC running Windows,LInux or MAC and Install Apache, MYSQL.

There are however two development packages, XAMPP and WAMP (windows only) that have all the required files in a convenient package.



  • You don’t need a hosting account
  • Completely isolated from existing online sites
  • Private


  • Requires far greater technical ability than the sub domain method.
  • You will need to do a manual WordPress install
  • Required to install server files and manage server
  • Site is offline and cannot be shared with others

 Setting Up Local WordPress Test Websites

The fist step is to install and configure XAMPP on a Windows machine.

This tutorial covers this process and also the covers creating virtual hosts and  how you access the sites using a valid domain name by editing your local hosts file.

Note: WAMP (windows only), is an alternative to Xampp on Windows.

Installing WordPress on the Local Test Site

You will need to do a manual install. The general procedure is

  1. Create the database and assigning privileges
  2. Install the WordPress files and edit the config file
  3. Run the WordPress install script.

See Manual WordPress Install

Important WordPress Test Site Notes:

On all test sites regardless of where they are located you should.

  • Upgrade them at the current build level as you would a normal site
  • Block them from appearing in the search engines by going to Settings>Writing>Search Engine Visibility test-site search-engines
  • Disable the automatic ping update services Settings>Writing>Update Services


Resources and references:





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