There are three options for developing your not-yet-public WordPress site.
The easiest development method is when the public does not know of your site yet. Or that you don’t mind that your present website will not be viewable to the public during the development. You can do this by installing a maintenance mode plugin, there are several to choose from, which will put up a page for visitors to the site that will create a custom front page for visitors while you can work on and view the site if you are logged in. And once you are done with the development you just switch off the plugin setting. The two that I’ve tried and liked are WP Maintenance Mode and Ultimate Maintenance Mode. Both have a good array of options but handle the appearance differently.
The second option is to have a WordPress installation in a subdomain or subdirectory of the existing site. You can do this if the site you want to work on needs to remain active and visible to visitors. You can further cloak you activities by installing one of the above maintenance plugins, but chances are, nobody will find this url. It’s easy to set up, you can either create a sub directory such as testsite.yourwebsite.com (which you would do via cPanel’s add subdomain module). Or create a sub-directory (sub-folder) on the same active site such as yourwebsite.com/testsite (Which you can do through your cPanel’s file manager). It’s a matter of taste which method you use, they both do essentially the same thing. Check with your hosting plan to see if you are allowed subdomains. Once the subdomain/sub-directory is set up, do a fresh install of WordPress in to that location. The base site, yourwebsite.com will be unaffected.
When your new site is ready to make live, first backup both your main site and your new site. The last thing to do before moving your new site is, while you are still logged in, change the URL path to show the new site location.Change both WordPress Address(URL) and Site Address (URL). These settings are in your Settings-General menu.
The third option for developing a new WordPress website is to set up a server program on your own computer so you can install WordPress locally. WordPress is a server based platform so you can’t just open up a WordPress install on you computer, you need to make a fake server on you computer and install WordPress onto that. The two main programs for this are MAMP (for Mac) or Xampp (for WindowsPC). If you are considering doing more WordPress development this is a must have.
Note: If you go this route you should be aware that you would be installing WordPress manually. I will be discussing manual installation of WordPress toward the later half of the class, but if you want an extensive overview of the process check out the manual installation at WordPress.org .
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