Real Staging-Environment for Cloudways?

A solid staging environment needs the ability to push-pull certain aspects of the site. If you are working on an e-commerce site, you can’t make a staging copy and then go live several days (or even hours) later with the copy because you’ll loose all of your orders that have happened in that time. So you need to be able to push just certain tables and certain folders over.

This plugin does it for the database:

BackupBuddy has this functionality but I have trouble getting it to work. Too many errors.

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The plugin solution looks pretty good as a workaround, but is pretty expensive.

I’d like to urge Cloudways to make it a priority to develop a world-class staging solution.
But I’d settle for an adequate one!

I couldn’t agree more, this is becoming increasingly frustrating trying to manage a staging environment on cloudways. If anyone from the dev team is listening, please make this a priority.


Hey @support3,
thank you for share your solution.
Your recommended plugin could be a workaround for the still promised but until now not redeemed possibilities of Cloudways, If the world would consist of Wordpress only :thinking:.

Nonetheless our agency is certainly (or at least I hope so) not the only one at Cloudways, whose world is not only made up of Wordpress.:upside_down_face:

Obviously you are right, no matter which CMS is used: some applications require a fine adjustment of what tables and folders should be synced. So, of course, it would be more than welcome to get a fine-tuned staging tool.

But in the current situation we would be happy to use a rudimentary real staging tool (at least).
A staging tool that supports basic “real staging”-features and does a little justice to the name.
Not the cloning feature, which is simply beautified with a new name and advertised twice.

Anything additional would be most welcome!

Hi Martin,

Here is the message re-pasted again :slight_smile:

Both sites are on Cloudways - test and live.

The test has a different IP and is not ‘live’. So, no DNS resolves to the IP.

What you use is host switcher for Windows (PC):

Hosts Switcher

This small tray icon utility takes care about your host files, so developer can easily switch between QA, production and local environment.

Hosts Switcher
This small tray icon utility takes care about your host files, so developer can easily switch between QA, production and local environment.

This little program allows you to switch host files. So, you create two host files. one file points at your live IP and the other at your test:

For example,

filename: TestHost
test IP


filename: hosts (default)
live IP

You then simply switch host files using this tool. Use incognito mode in chrome to access the site, making sure the correct IP is resolved on your test site. Also to view changes you make. Make sure no caching is used on your test server too.

The problem, I have is the SSL certificate on the test server. It needs to be added by Cloudways support because, you cannot add an SSL to the test server - so I have been told by support.

The test server is the lowest cost server I can use on Cloudways.

Hope that helps

Hi @admin8,
thank you for re-post.
I don’t know why our two messages were deleted.
Hope maybe your shared approach with Hosts Switcher can help others :+1:!

  • cheers Martin

I’ve been waiting for a real staging environment as well. So far I’ve spent the last year developing the site so this has not been a problem yet. Cloning and switching live e-commerce sites is not a workflow that works. Period. I’ve still got a couple of months left until we go live. If this solution remains at that time, we’re moving away from Cloundway. As much as I don’t really want to, I see no other viable solution at this stage.

Has there been any progress on this? Is Cloudways making it a priority?
I’m developing a site for someone else and wanted to use cloudways, but the lack of staging features made it impractical. We were forced to use a different host.

Hi @paul.raphaelson

Can you drop your feedback over here about what you are looking for?

What is the process the other host is using for the staging environment?


Sure. Here are some examples:

WP Engine Staging environment:
A blog post on this feature:
Kinsta staging environment:
SiteGround staging environment:
A 3rd Party (expensive) solution called StageCoach:

What all these solutions seem to have in common is that they sync in both directions. They don’t just provide a clone of your live site, but they allow you to selectively sync your changes back to the live site after testing, often with a merge feature that keeps you from overwriting new database entries. The better ones include tools that specifically prevent problems with SSL conflicts, caching, etc.

None of them requires you to replace your production site and point your DNS to the new site, or perform other clunky workarounds.


Hi, I am quite frustrated at the lack of a true staging solution as well. Are there any progress on this front?


same here.
I want a real staging site feature.

Hello all,

We always value our customers’ feedback, the work has been started.

Keep submitting the feedback.


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@mustaasam.saleem, this is great news. Is there any expected timeline for the rollout of the staging feature?

Hi @evanstj, I can’t commit the deadline :slight_smile:


Hello all,

Thanks for your valuable feedback, after a lot of hard work, testing, and public beta, we are pleased to announce our enhanced staging environment where one can create a staging application, test changes and then push and/or pull changes to & from a live site/application.

Here is how it works along with the important notes:

Looking forward to your feedback.

First of all I appreciate the effort from Cloudways to create this. However it still has a long way to go before it is a reliable staging environment such as the one I used to use when I was on WPEngine.

I have two sites hosted on Cloudways. One of them is a very simple WordPress site whose only purpose is to run a survey plugin so I can get feedback from my users. This one worked beautifully when I created a staging site.

However my main site didn’t work, it suffered the exact same problem as it always did in my two previous attempts to clone it - the site redirects back to the main site when you try and load the staging site. I’m pretty sure that this is because I have hardcoded the URL in several files in my child theme. I do this for performance and make no apologies for it, it is wasteful to call the database every time you need the sites name or title tag or other info provided by the WordPress Get_bloginfo() command.

What the staging environment should do is go through all of the files and change the URL accordingly, I assume it doesn’t do that right now.

I know that if I open a support ticket you guys will fix this and I may do that soon - I did it both times when I made the clone sites and it got fixed. But both times it took a few hours and every time I asked for feedback I just got a “please wait we are working on it” response. I don’t have time today to do that. Also both times when it finally got fixed I asked what the problem was so I didn’t have to bother you guys (i.e didn’t have time to wait for you to fix it) but I never got a clear response - the “fix” from the first attempt was to delete a caching file that didn’t even exist on my second attempt. I may also just SSH to the clone suite and try to see if I can just replace the hard coded text. But again I am far too busy today to do this.

So that’s my feedback. I like the direction this is taking and once it woks as well as the one I used to use on WPEngine I’l be a happy camper!

This so-called staging environment is a joke.

As Dronebot_Workshop mentioned, without swapping out the original URL with the staging application’s URL it’s just a pile of crap.

So I’ll ask again…

When do you expect to have this half-baked solution fixed so that it’s a REAL staging system?

Why even release it without this CRITICAL feature?

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Actually in all fairness to Cloudways I just took the time to check the files in the staging site and my initial suspicion was incorrect - they did indeed change the hard coded URL’s in the files to match the staging site URL.

Checked the database too and they seemed to change them in the native WordPress tables. Some of the plugin tables however still contain entries for the original URL.

But it still doesn’t work, it redirects back to the original site. Same as whenever I’ve cloned it in the past.

I will have to bite the bullet and open a support chat. I am in need of a staging site as a new feature I just added to the production site is killing my response time and I need to fix it without incurring any downtime. Which is what a staging site is for after all.

I REALLY wish this could be resolved, both for the staging and for the cloning operation. I can take small comfort in that I see from the forum that others have experienced the same problem with their clone sites redirecting back to the original.

Follow up to all of this:

I got onto the live chat support and worked with the support tech to try and resolve this, however he was unable to fix it and opened a support ticket on the problem.

Got a note back from support on the ticket, the problem is resolved. It was the Redis cache, clearing it apparently resolved the issue (which makes sense, wish I’d thought of it earlier).

So all is good now, thank you Cloudways. If Redis is indeed the issue I suggest that the staging process should clear all the caches (Redis and Breeze) as part of the procedure.

One amusing part of the online chat was when the tech asked me to clear the Breeze cache on the new staging server. I had to remind him that since I couldn’t access the staging site as it kept redirecting there was no way for me to do that!

I haven’t tried pushing changes from staging to the live site yet, I’ll find out later today if that works too.