WP Stagecoach has been in beta for the past few months and the team behind it is busy planning for an official launch in early 2015. The startup, created by Jonathan Kay, came in second, behind WP Curve, in the first round of Matt Report’s WordPress Startup Challenge.
The new service aims to create the most convenient way to stage a WordPress site, with 1-click copying from production to staging and 1-click to merge the changes back into the live site. WP Stagecoach offers a plugin that hooks your site up to the service with an API key. Staging sites are hosted on WP Stagecoach’s servers.
The beta version of the service currently includes the following features:
- Create a staging copy of your live site with one click.
- Copy changes from your staging site back to your live site.
- Choose which changes to import. You can import some or all of your file changes, and/or your database changes.
- Password-protect your staging site.
- Staging site runs on WP Stagecoach’s server – no need to set up hosting for your staging site.
- Revert file changes if importing from your staging site doesn’t go as expected.
- Staging sites can be accessed via SSL-encryption
After testing the beta on a simple blog, I found that the build process took several minutes. Once the site is created, you’ll be given SFTP/FTP login credentials and URL for your staging site. The site that WP Stagecoach creates is instantly public, which has me worried about duplicate content. If you use the service, you’ll want to log in and install a maintenance plugin to hide the staging site from the public.
If an import gets interrupted, the plugin can pick up where it left off, which is helpful for larger sites. It also includes an advanced debug mode for tracking down problems.
All of the staging sites are hosted on a standard LAMP stack, and users will not be able to reproduce their exact hosting environment with the service when it launches. For many people, the stack will be similar enough to their host and will cause no issues. However, if you are running on a more customized hosting environment, WP Stagecoach will likely not be suitable for creating your staging site.
WP Stagecoach has plans to make it possible for users to create a staging site on their own servers, but this feature will be further down the road. When the team is able to add this, it will make the product a much more versatile tool for WordPress developers.
At the moment, the service is very promising and offers a highly convenient way to create a staging site for a simple WordPress site on a standard LAMP stack. Those with a more customized server environment will have to look elsewhere for the time being. If the tool adapts to become more flexible, it will be better positioned to reach a larger audience with a wide range of hosting environments.
WP Stagecoach pricing will be $12/month or $99/year for basic support. The beta is free and the team plans to add a few updates before the official launch. If you want to test the service, sign up on wpstagecoach.com to download the plugin.