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How to set up a WordPress Development Link

Wordpress Development Link Setup

So you want to start working on your new website without impacting your old one? Let’s take a look at how you can set up a ‘development’ or ‘dev’ link to do just that…


Setting up a ‘dev’ link for your website helps create a space for you to work on your website in a controlled space that doesn’t impact your existing site. At Lumos Digital Marketing we create a lot of websites for customers using WordPress and more often than not these customers have an existing site in place, we have found setting up a development link works best for us in getting around this. In this tutorial we will look at how you can create a completely separate space within your website’s hosting to create a ‘development’ link for your site that will allow you to work on your new site with a fresh install of WordPress without impacting your existing site. We will even show you how you can set your new site to no-index so search engines won’t start to index a half finished site. 


1) Create Your ‘Dev’ Folder:

First you will want to use FTP to create a new folder in your websites file directory. You can call this what you like but for the sake of this tutorial we will call it ‘dev’. 


• Find your public HTML folder – this is where your website files are stored. If you want to visualise this, picture your root domain, eg websitename(dot)com. 


Public HTML Image


• Once inside your public_html folder you will want to create your development folder. To do this head to the top of the page and click ‘+ Folder’. This will allow you to create your development area for your new site. Again, for the purpose of this tutorial we will call it ‘dev’. 


cPanel Add Folder


Once this link is created it will create a new path for your website which will look like websitename(dot)com/dev. At the moment there is nothing there but once we have gone through how to install WordPress you can access your development site from here. 


cPanel Create Dev Folder


2) Creating Your New Database

Once you have created your development link you will want to create a new database for WordPress assuming you aren’t using an existing one. This is quick and easy and for the purpose of this tutorial we will demonstrate how to create a new user and assign it to your new database. 


• First you will want to find your database controls via cPanel. You should have a section titled ‘Databases’ and within this you will be looking for an option titled ‘MySQL Databases’. Once clicking on this you will be able to begin the setup for your new database. 


Navigate to MySQL Databases


• Create your new database. For the purpose of this tutorial we will call it ‘wp’ so the new database name will be ‘ltifddmy_wp’ – you will now be able to see your new database on your database list. 


Create new Database


• For the purpose of this tutorial we will also create a new database user. To do so scroll down to ‘MySQL Users – Add New Users’. We will match the username with the database name so ‘ltifddmy_wp’. When creating this new user you will be asked to create a password. In this example we will use ‘TutorialPassword123!’


Create MySQL Users


• Next you will want to pair up your new database with your new username. To do this scroll down to ‘Add User To Database’ then select username ‘ltifddmy_wp’ and paid it up with database name ‘ltifddmy_wp’ and click add to finalise. 


Add New User to Database


• Set your user privileges. For the purpose of this tutorial we won’t set any limits on user privileges but if you were working as part of a larger team or using an external developer you may want to limit some of what they can do. For now select ‘all privileges’ 


MySQL User Permissions
That’s it for setting up your database. Make sure to make a note of your database name, username and password as you will need these for installing WordPress. 


3) Installing and Setting Up WordPress

Now we move on to the final stages of your WordPress development link set up. Once you have successfully installed WordPress you will be able to start building your new website safely and securely without impacting your existing site. 

• Firstly you will need your WordPress files. To download them as a ZIP file head over to wordpress.org and download the latest version of WordPress (don’t bother un-zipping them as you will be uploading as a zip file). 


Download WordPress


• Head back to your cPanel file manager and click into your new ‘dev’ folder. It should show ‘This directory is empty.’. This is where we will be uploading your new wordpress files. Head up to the navigation at the top of your page and select ‘Upload’. You will be greeted with a new screen in which you can drag the wordpress zip file you just downloaded or click ‘select file’ to upload it. 


Upload WordPress
• Once your file has uploaded to your ‘dev’ folder you will want to unzip it to unload your new wordpress files. Click the file then head to the top of the page and select ‘extract’. You will be given the choice to set the location for extraction, leave it as /public_html/dev’. 


Extract WordPress Folder


• Click in to your new ‘wordpress’ folder – if you don’t see it you may need to reload the page. Once inside select all of the files then click ‘move’ along the top of the page. Set the path for movement to ‘public_html/dev’ to move your wordpress files into your development folder. 


Move WordPress to Dev Space
• Now your website successfully has WordPress located on a development link it’s time to install WordPress and link it to your database. Head over to websitename(dot)com/dev where you should now be greeted by the WordPress installation page. Select your language then hit continue. 


WordPress Language Settings
• WordPress will ask you to make sure you have the following information. For the purpose of this tutorial and setting up your own development link the most important bits are your Database Name, Username, and Password. Database Host can be left as ‘localhost’ and Table Prefix is only needed if you plan to install multiple WordPress installations on a single database. 


WordPress Install Checklist
• Pop in the information you created for your database in stage 2 of this tutorial. 


WordPress Install Database Information
• If you entered your details correctly you should be met with a success screen ready to install WordPress. Hit ‘Run the installation’ 


Run Install - WordPress
• Set up your basic site information such as Site Title and a Username and Password you will use to access the WordPress backend of your site. In this example we have just gone with the same password as the database (not recommended) and a basic ‘Admin’ username. While working on your site we suggest setting ‘Seach Engine Visability’ to discourage so your site doesn’t get indexed before you are ready. You can always change this setting down the line in your WordPress settings. 


Set Up Basic Site Information
• There we have it, WordPress is now up and running on your development link. Simply login using the details you set in the last step and start building your new site. To access your WordPress admin area at any time simply type websitename(dot)com/dev/wp-admin and log in. 


Welcome To Your New WordPress Site
We hope you found this tutorial helpful. Let us know if you had any difficulties in setting up your development link and keep an eye out for our next tutorial on how to set your development link live on your root domain once you are ready. 


If you would like to see more tutorials like this please let us know what you’d like to see. If you need help implementing any of the parts in this tutorial please don’t hesitate to get in touch and if you have any questions leave them in the comments at the bottom and we will get back to you as soon as possible! 



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