Joomla! Staging Site

I am going to put up a new Joomla! site on DH. I did it once before, over 2 years ago, and it was very confusing for me primarily because of my lack of understanding many of the terms that were out there to help me.

I have been studying the DH Wiki and find myself back to confusion…

I would like to make a staging site to play around with the design, etc., before going public. I would like this to be a one-click install so that I can one-click update, too.

I can’t figure out how to make the staging site in order to do the one-click install and upgrade capability.

I found rlparker’s response to a prvious thread helpful (no surprise there) at in which he says:

"My “staging” routime goes like this:

  1. Create a subdomain on DreamHost to hold the development site. This can be a “free” subdomain ( or a subdomain of the site being deployed (dev1.yournewdomain.tld), or a subdomain or one of your existing domains (newsitedev.yourexistingdomain.tld), etc.

  2. Create a database, and a host, to hold the data fro the Joomla! site being developed. You can also use an preciously existing db, as Joomla! allows you to define a prefix for it’s tables to avoid conflicts with other tables in a pre-existing database), but since you can have an unlimited number of databases at no additional cost on DreamHost, unless you have a reason to want to put “many sites in one database” for ease of backup or some other reason, I see no reason not to keep it simple and just create a new one.

  3. Install Joomla! in that subdomain. Either manually or via the “one-click” installer - either way is fine. I prefer to install Joomla! via the shell using wget and tar because it is really quick and easy. Installing the Joomla! code that will (later) become the “live” site directly opn the server avoid the common problem reliably uploading the ginormous number of files that comprise Joomla! via FTP without error, and assures all your permissions are accurately set for Joomla! operation on DreamHost! (you might want to check out a related thread for more information on that issue).

  4. Optionally, protect the “dev” Joomla! installation from public viewing before you are ready via apache authentication and .htaccess

  5. Build the site on the server!

Now, when the site is ready to launch, it’s a five-minute process (or less!) to rename the dev subdomain directory to the name of the “live” site’s web directory, edit a couple of variables in the configuration file, and go “live”. No incompatible environment issues, no FTP issues, and you can see the site actually operating as the visitors to the live site will see it before you even launch."

There are a few details skipped over. In my earlier crack at installing Joomla I had a foo – and a lot of help from this forum – with the .htaccess file, etc.

Is there any place I can get some detailed instructions? The Joomla forum does not cover the DH specifics, of course.


Stan Hirson (my first Joomla site)

This would pretty much be it, since the One-Click process is unique to DreamHost. Your routine is most of what I’d do:

  1. Create your dev Joomla site and dev database
  2. Do all your work there
  3. Create live domain and One-Click production Joomla and production database.
  4. Rename live domain as domain.old and as
    *5) Drop all tables in production database (via MySQL) and migrate dev database to prod. database:

That database migration is my own added step to completely migrate dev to production. If you get started and hit a snag, post details here and someone will help you along.


Since I just did this recently I figure I’ll share what I did…

I had an existing Joomla site running the 1.0.x version of Joomla which was originally installed via the OneClick, and then was manually patched with the subsequent 1.0.x security updates after the OneClick installer switched to 1.5 versions, since 1.5 was a major upgrade and I didn’t have time to play with doing all my templates over. Recently, the time became available, but I didn’t want to have the live website in a “construction mode” while redoing the templates.

What I did was:

  1. Create a separate subdomain for a staging site
  2. Use the one-click installer to install the current 1.5.x version of Joomla on the new staging site with a new database.
  3. Use mysqldump and mysql from the shell to delete the contents of the freshly-created database and replace it with a copy of the contents of the database from the live site.
  4. Deleted the newly-created site directory in the shell with ‘rm -rf stagingsite’
  5. Copied the entire live website to the new directory on the shell using ‘cp -rp livesite stagingsite’
  6. Edited the config file for the staging site to point at the staging database and the new URL and site directory.
  7. Contacted support and had them change the “last upgrade date” on the Joomla installation on the staging domain to match the one on the live domain, thus making the OneClick installer think it was the older version again.
  8. After support made the change from step 7, I used OneClick to upgrade the site to version 1.5.x.

After getting all of the templates squared away on the staging site, I could then use the OneClick on the live site to upgrade it, and then copy all of the templates over from the staging site right away to avoid the site looking broken for very long.

Good points. Thanks.

I decided not to go for a staging site but to go “live”. I feel that not enough people are going to find the site while it is being constructed to embarrass me…

I have a local site that I am using for screwing around and getting familiar with 1.5 and I’m hoping that I can be up and running soon enough. This seemed the easiest and surest for One-click install.