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How to take over as administer of a site containing WordPress (16 posts)

  1. stefmikhail
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I have been hired to take over the administration of a site which contains WordPress.

    In the past I have always had a copy of the site on my localhost so I can test changes before making them live. In this case, all I have to work with is the live site itself.

    What would you recommend I do in this instance? I have some ideas which I will list below, but I would appreciate some advice.

    First. I'm wondering how easy it would be to copy everything: the site files, the WordPress files, and the database, over to my localhost. There I can experiment with any changes necessary before committing them to the live version.

    Second. I could copy only the site and WordPress files from the remote server, to my computer, and then link to the live database on the remote server. I'm thinking this might be a good approach as the database will always be up to date, and I would not have to deal with creating a local copy of the database.
    Having not tried this approach before, I'm hesitant. The last thing I would want is to accidentally alter the live site.

    What do you think? How do you take over the administration of a live site? I appreciate any advice you can provide.

  2. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    What would you recommend I do in this instance?

    No. Not unless you absolutely have to. Trying to sync the 2 databases is a nightmare.

  3. stefmikhail
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    esmi - Then how would you make changes to a live website containing WordPress?

    As I did not create the website, I need the ability to familiarize myself with it. And whatever changes I make need to be approved by the owner before they are committed.

    How about having a development copy of the site, with the domain suffix dev? Would I make a copy of the site files with it still linking to the same database?

  4. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    What kind of changes are you talking about?

  5. stefmikhail
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I have been given a list of changes to make. Things like cosmetic changes, additional media (images etc), changes in hyperlinking, etc. In fact, a lot of it will be on the non-WordPress part of the site. But I'm expecting this account will be asking changes in the future, many of them might be more intensive.

    For some of these things, I am confident that if I changed the live version, the change would turn out as expected. Other things however, I know I am going to want to test the results before committing them.

  6. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    For the cosmetic changes, then a local install is ideal if you just work on the theme but nothing else. You can export content from the site (via Tools->Export) to populate your local install so that you have decent content to test against. Then, when you're finished, just upload the amended theme via FTP (you can even turn it into a new themes if you want). I'd recommend that you carry out the link & text changes on the remote server.

  7. stefmikhail
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    esmi, thank you.

    In regards to the more intrusive link and text changes that you recommend I make on the remote server:

    How do you usually go about doing this? I don't want to make changes to a live site, thus potentially (and probably) causing errors on the page while ironing out the kinks.

    I have noticed a second domain folder next to the primary domain folder, with the prefix of dev. So for example, if the primary domain is mysite.com, then this second folder and domain is dev.mysite.com.
    I have seen this in regards to m for mobile sites, so I'm wondering if this is for use as a development copy of the site? Have you ever seen this before?

    I'm wondering if it would be possible to make a copy of all the site files to this dev domain folder, and seeing as it is in the same parent directory of the primary domain folder, I'm thinking it could access the database just as the live site would.
    Thus I could make any changes I want on this development copy (which is on the remote server), freeing me from both having to make a copy of everything on my local host, as well as attempting changes on the live version of the site until I am sure they are what the customer desires.

    What do you think of this idea? Possible?

  8. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    How do you usually go about doing this?

    I make them on the live server.

    I don't want to make changes to a live site, thus potentially (and probably) causing errors on the page while ironing out the kinks.

    How are you going to do that just by adding text & links?

    Have you ever seen this before?

    Nope. You could try asking your hosts about it but I doubt it would help if you want to avoid all of the issues of trying to sync 2 separate installs.

    I'm thinking it could access the database just as the live site would.

    Then it would also change the content on the live site.

  9. stefmikhail
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I should first state that many of the changes being asked of me are to the non-WordPress portion of the site, and involve changes to the HTML and CSS, and possibly PHP. Thus I really don't want to make them to the live site in case they don't turn out as I would like.

    Seeing as WordPress is part of the site however, it makes copying the files and database more difficult.

    If I'm not making any changes to the database, then wouldn't that prevent any changes to the content of the live site?

  10. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Thus I really don't want to make them to the live site in case they don't turn out as I would like.

    We can't really comment on them as they're not part of WordPress.

    Seeing as WordPress is part of the site however, it makes copying the files and database more difficult.

    Why?

  11. stefmikhail
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    The changes I can make fine. It's figuring out how to make a development version since it contains WordPress.

    What I have read about duplicating a WordPress site on my localhost or otherwise says I have to backup the database, and then reinstall it. Then there's all the changes to the second wp-admin file so the live site isn't the one being administrated by it.

    To make matters worse, because the WordPress is only one page in this site, I wonder how I would do these steps and maintain its integrity within the rest of the site. Last thing I want is to mess up the live site.

    I know that if WordPress wasn't part of the site, I would just make a copy of the site's database, and files, and place them in my localhost. Should it not be any more difficult with WordPress being part of the equation?

    I really do appreciate all your help.

  12. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    If you're only working on the non-WP part of the site, you (presumably) won't need a copy of the database nor will you need to install WordPress locally. Just let your local copy pull the WP content from the live site as needed, Nothing you do to the non-WP pages will affect WordPress.

  13. stefmikhail
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I use dreamweaver (although I know a lot of people despise me fore it). If I set up a copy of the site in dreamweaver, and link to the remote server (the one the live site uses) as a testing server, are you saying that should work?

    Of course this is assuming I won't be making any changes or inserts to the database; Just using the server to run the copy from, to test any changes.

  14. cubecolour
    ɹoʇɐɹǝpoɯ
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Before making changes to a site, you need to know you can roll back any changes. Also if you've been appointed as the point of contact for managing the site, you need to know that if the site gets hacked, you can recover it. In a nutshell you need a backup. And you need to know that the backup can be restored.

    Set up a PC/Mac/Penguin with XAMPP/MAMP/WAMP/LAMP and clone the site onto that. There are plenty of how-tos if you search.

    Apart from then knowing you have a zipped copy of the files and database, you will have a development site to work on.

  15. stefmikhail
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    cubecolour - Fantastic! I will indeed look into that. The information is much appreciated.

  16. mookouw
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    stefmikhail, Did you ever figure this out? I am in the exact same situation now.

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