After having spend some time not being busy with WordPress sites, modifications, plugins, etc. etc. (well, other than maintaining my own WP enabled sites) I’m currently again working on a WP-site with some added features, such as an integrated/bridged phpBB Forum, and more features to install/test.
Therefore I’m browsing again through relevant forums to find interesting plugins which may prove useful, as well as see what other users’ experiences are.
Over and over again I come across, by now apparently typical, posts such as “I uploaded and activated xyz-plugin, and now my live WordPress site is broken.” or “I use auto-update, now I can’t access my site.”, etc…
Why don’t people test it beforehand? While I appreciate that not everyone is a developer/system admin/system engineer/etc., it’s fairly simple to install a test WordPress environment on your own computer and test these things. There are easy ways of getting a functional webserver set up on your box, e.g. XAMPP, and likely others too. Slap WordPress on top of it, done.
Testing things beforehand may appear as annoying or wasting time to some people, however you’ll save yourself time in the long run when your live site’s down due to a bugged or misconfigured plugin and you need to find a solution/fix asap, possibly creating some extra stress. Especially bad if your site’s your bread and butter.
You may not even need your own computer to run the web server and the test-WP instance. If you have your own domain with some sufficiently large webspace, you may even be able to run a sub domain with the test instance, such as “test.mysite.org” (may want to however look into blocking it from other visitors, such as an http password protection), and then from there once tested you can just copy the directories over to your live WP instance.
There are many possibilities to test new software or updates to existing software beforehand. In my personal opinion there’s no excuse to not test anything before pushing it to a live environment.
So, please, whoever reads this and does not test things before hand, take some extra time and save yourself and perhaps others future stress when things break where it shouldn’t 🙂
A bonus then would be if you could let the developer know if there’s a bug in his/her software, and/or create a quick write up how to solve a particular issue 🙂
This of course applies not only to WordPress.