What is best way to work on a new version of a site without impacting the current live version

I am working on a new version of a web site. As the current version is being used daily I can’t just publish over the top of it, so I’ve been using another domain name I had hanging around.

Problem is, when I do publish it live, there are going to be a lot of url references that will be incorrect. I’m using Total CMS for the blog, so that will be all messed up as it will be referencing the wrong locations and the htaccess file that Total CMS requires some edits of will need changing. And who knows what else, as there are various references to mp3 files and pdfs.

So what do you experts recommend. How do you get around this problem as you must be doing new versions of sites all the time?

Any advice much appreciated.

Make a sandbox subdomain on the same domain as the live site. (dev.yoursite.com for example)

Use that site for development.
Be sure to protect all of the pages with pagesafe or similar so google won’t find them.

Always use relative links to files.

When the new site is finished and tested its pretty easy to migrate it.

Back up old site.
If necessary merge the cms_data folders or if you just need the new one copy it to live site.
Get rid of the protection in the public pages.
Change publishing settings and RW site address to live site and publish.

In RW go to the blog Post page and preview, you will get a pop up modal which sets the pathing for blog.
Log into admin and edit/create a new post and save.
If using pretty urls, modify the .htaccess file.


Google does not find websites “magically” without anyone linking to that new website.


Knowing me I’d forget there was a link between the two and Google would end up finding it Jannis and I’d end up with my half done site topping the rankings ;-)

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Yes, that could indeed happen 😅