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Pushing Staging to Production

After several years of discussion and careful thought, SlickStack decided to not provide any function or script for developers to push staging sites live to the production site. The reasons for this are several…

Firstly, we believe that staging sites should be for temporary testing of new features, and not for long-term redesign work (that’s what dev sites are for). And if we embrace this philosophy, it doesn’t really make sense to encourage users to push staging to production. Why? Because under this philosophy, the staging site should only be narrowly different that the production site’s database and filebase. Therefore, more risk is involved by pushing staging to production vs. simply testing new features in staging, confirming they work fine, and then replicating those new changes directly in production.

Oh no, manual work! Your brain might be thinking. Yes, we do believe that simple, reliable manual work often makes more sense than automation. That’s arguably one of the bigger underlying concepts behind the SlickStack project, in fact.

It’s one thing to push an entire dev site to production, because you are overwriting absolutely everything without any prejudice. But pushing staging to production can result in all kinds of data loss, confusion, or other unknown problems, esp. on sites with dynamic user data such as WooCommerce websites. Creating a bash script to accomplish this is rather out of the question, we would need to have an PHP-based script inside WP Admin where users can choose which database tables they want to overwrite (or not) during every push from staging to production… at least, if we are being a responsible project (many staging tools are not). And that’s a lot of extra code for SlickStack to maintain, and a lot more liability to our community if something goes wrong.

Instead, we’ve decided in late 2023 that we will not be offering any bash script or PHP script or otherwise for pushing staging to production. Instead, for users who love using staging sites, and want all those bells and whistles of pushing staging to production, we suggest using an established WordPress plugin or third party staging service which are dedicated to improving their code and features on a regular basis such as WP Staging, WP Stagecoach, and many others.

For most users, we suggest NOT using staging sites, at least, beyond simply testing new features briefly. For completely new redesign projects, we instead recommend using the development site feature in SlickStack, which is a standalone database/filebase.

About the Author

Jesse Nickles

Jesse is the lead developer for the SlickStack project and also for HoverCraft, the accompanying free WordPress theme. He has been customizing WordPress for both personal websites and SEO clients for over 15+ years, with a focus on simplicity and longevity.

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