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How to stop google indexing my staging site

If you’re not careful, google will index your staging site, causing reduced SEO, plus other issues. Here’s how to stop it. Put this code in your header.php in your theme, either before the <title> tag, or after the </tilte> tag.

if( strpos ($_SERVER[‘HTTP_HOST’] , ‘staging’) > -1 ) {
echo ‘<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow”>’ ;

So how does it work ? it looks for the word ‘staging’ in the server name, and displays the noindex rule for google. But when your site is pushed to production, and loses the staging in the server name, the noindex is also removed.

How should I build my wordpress site ?

“We started to build a website ourselves on WordPress but it has been far too time consuming. I would also like to know what price range I should be looking at to expect a quality professional looking page. Content is written, layout is mostly planned, and photography is in progress so it’s just the putting it all together we need done. Any and all advice welcome.”
This is sort of ‘how long is a piece of string problem’.
The cost of your site is a function of a few decisions
1. Do you want something truly custom, that reflects your brand ?
if so, start with a psd from a good designer
if not, perhaps aim towards someone that can use templates
2. do you want to ‘Do It Yourself?’
I think this is the worst strategy, takes too long, looks like rubbish when you’re finished.
if you do, invest in a recently built theme – don’t pick a popular but aging theme – because they are likely to come with security problems.
3. You want someone to look after you, make all the decisions, and just give you the finished product ?
– look for a real agency, not a web developer.
– have a budget of atleast $3k, but $5k+ is more likely
– ask me directly to refer you to some good guys, that will look after you.
4. Do you have experience with off shore, or managing contractors ?
– this can cut the cost dramatically, like by 80% cheaper
– it can also lead to a bit of mess if you aren’t used to managing it
– you can put up each piece of the project for auction on freelancer or elance.
Some general advice from me,
– spend what you can afford this year. Your site should have a life of 12-18 months, as you learn more about what you want to achieve, more about your brand, just rebuild every few years. This saves spending too much at once, and getting too attached to your investment.
– a designer is not a developer, they know how to make stuff look good, but cant build it.
– a web developer is not a designer, they can build stuff, but it looks awful.
depends if you’re after truly custom, including a custom design, or you’re happy with templates. And if you want to use local Aussies, or you have experience with off shore.
This is my structure
– get a psd from a good designer – make sure it reflects your brand, colours etc
– get a quote for css/html cut up
– get a quote for wordpress template build
– I use for my quotes.
– I use asana for managing tasks

Are there any restrictions ?

No backup plugins – unless you get it checked with us first. We have extensive backups, including cpanel backups, and SAN backups, that are both offsite. If you’re a wholesale customer we can organise an additional backup for you.

No caching plugins, other than w3 total cache. We also used redis object cache – but we install that automatically.

Plugins that write to the filesystem won’t work too well, or at all. Like backup plugins, or older sitemap plugins.

cron functionality is limited. But we’ve found most customers use it for backup plugins and older sitemap plugins.

we do have the ability to schedule cron tasks on the admin server – it requires a support request to enable. We might to enabling this for all customers at some stage. This will fix things like old sitemap plugins, or older plugins that write to the filesystem.

cron does work perfectly well on staging. So things like automated updates occuring on staging only is a good things. You can review there, and push to production as appropriate.

Your wordpress website can only be used as a website, and not an internet backup storage server. We wont accept huge catalogues of images or video – reasonable business images for websites is fine. Video should be on youtube or vimeo in most cases. We won’t accept files that are not used on your website.

Why do I even need to worry about security for wordpress ?

I’ve heard it loads of times ‘my site has nothing important, no-one would want to hack it’

The truth is cyber criminals and bot networks don’t know you, or care about your site.

They are interested in hacking your site to

  • use it to hack others – they build up a huge network of hacked sites, to use as weapons
  • deface your site, and extort money from you to repair it
  • just causing mahem

What I find interesting is small companies paying $5-$15/month in hosting that does not have good security. You’ll find your clean up bill for a hack will run into the hundreds. I’ve even seen people lose their website, and have to start again, as they find out their backups also contained the hack.

Do I get a free cpanel account ?

Yes, you do , you get a free cpanel account to match each paid wordpress install.

Wholesale customers get a reseller account.

It does include all the cpanel features, but it’s meant to only host wordpress websites.

We encourage you to use it as your DNS server. We have 3 clustered DNS servers.

We have the cloudflare plugin installed as well. The cloudflare plugin will sign up your to cloudflare, and direct the traffic back to the production website cluster. There is a simple button to turn off cloudflare if its causing an issue.

You can use email and other features on cpanel, but we discourage it, and support is limited. We recommend you use gmail. You can setup a ’email forwarder’ in cpanel, that will forward your email to your gmail account.

If you start doing things we dont like, we’ll have a chat to you. Like storing gobs of email, or uploading a backup of your family photos.

Do you have a staging site ?

Yes we do, we give you a free staging site to match each paid wordpress site.

The staging site is on cpanel, so you can manage things like ftp users and uploading files.

Once your happy with your staging site, you can push it to our production web server cluster.

We have a cpanel plugin that helps you manage push your site to the production cluster. This includes both the database, and the wordpress files (you can choose either or both).

You can still log into your production site, and make changes directly if you like.

You can also use the cpanel plugin to ‘copy back’ all your data (database and files) from production back to staging.

WIll it have enough CPU and memory for backups ?

“I’ve found with my VPS , and other web hosting, that I run into limits for scheduled backups”

  • I’ve seen this before also, php limits on memory, php limits on execution time

Well, one of the things we do is limit what sort of backup tools you can use.

We put a lot of effort into backups. And give you a non-wordpress web interface to restore those backups.

We also let you download backups whenever you like.

I also understand that you want a backup somewhere not under our control (which makes sense, I would). We can also schedule an upload of the backups, for all your sites, to either ftp, ssh/scp/sftp, or to amazon s3.

In a pinch there are a few backup plugins we will allow.

When we do schedule backups, or a backup plugin, it does not run on the main web server cluster. It will run on the admin wordpress server, and on the staging wordpress server. This allows us to schedule the backups during the day as well.

How can wpDone offer unlimited wordpress hosting ?

A lot of what we’ve done to make wordpress faster and more secure has driven our costs down. For example, hacking and password guessing was taking around 90% of the CPU usage of wordpress. Once the security measures stopped the hacking attempts, we have a lot less CPU usage.

Same with the CDN and page optimizer, together they eliminate up to 80% of the internet traffic. Then we became CDN optimized partner (and have cloudflare railgun), that can eliminate another 80%+ percent of the traffic that was left.

So with less web hits – comes less database hits.

Add to that computers and the internet get cheaper every year.

Also our experience with clients shows a reduction in the costs over time.

So we are passing the savings on to you, in the form of unlimited everything – hits, internet, database, and storage.

We do have some limitations – larger companies need to go onto a different plan (they can afford it, they still get unlimited usage), plus we have ‘reasonable limits clauses. Like you can’t plonk non website files on your site. We aren’t going to allow anyone with insane sized digital assets (like say a professional photographer to keep a massive portfolio of raw images), or for someone to distribute video downloads.

Our unlimited plans are for regular Aussie businesses.

How do I install wordpress ?

Log in to your cpanel account.

Under the heading ‘software and services’ you’ll see ‘site software’ (ctrl f is your friend here).

WordPress is the only option (I wonder why)

Fill out the page , a few tips:

  • dont use admin as the user – that is what the hackers guess at
  • under ‘installation URL’ – you’ll usually want to clear that field out so that its blank. This will put wordpress as your primary website.


Are there any known issues ?

We are still in beta, here is a list of things we are still working on

– there is also an issue of the admin-ajax not working on some sites in production. it works fine in staging. It’s really just a nuisance if you are editing content directly into the production cluster. see here for more details on what admin-ajax does.
– currently its 1 wordpress install per cpanel account. not sure if that effects you.
– we havent completed the ‘copy back from production to staging’ – but that isnt far off
– if you’re using w3tc page cache, each time you ‘push to production’ you need to clear the page cache, on the production wordpress.
– using the production wordpress wp-admin (editing pages/post etc) can be sluggish , we are working on a fix. This doesn’t effect web visitors screaming fast access to pages though. And staging has fast wp-admin access – where most of your changes should be done.

What should I expect from the production cluster ?

The first time you push a site to production a few things might be different.

Firstly, the first visit to each page type will be noticeably slower. We use a php compiling technology from facebook, called HHVM, that does a lot of thinking ahead of time, in order to make each web visitor page impression super fast.

Secondly, our security might kick in, your page will appear as blank, or an error 404. Log a support request and we’ll review that immediately for you.

Thirdly, we use google’s mod pagespeed. This also crunches pages, and makes them smaller, and more optimized. You’ll see URLs of images/css/js change to include pagespeed. Some URLs might disappear completely as pagespeed puts some images inside the webpage.

And lastly, your site should go faster, be more reliable, and never get hacked.

There is also a plugin in the cpanel interface, under wpdone, called ‘speed report’ – this shows how superfast your site is for customers.

What does ‘push to production’ mean ?

Your wordpress site starts like on our staging server. The cpanel/WHM server is the staging server. This gives you lots of control and access to your site, including ftp access and password control.

You should use a URL like for your site on the staging server. We have another FAQ on that.

The staging site is where you should:

  • make development changes
  • trial plugins
  • update wordpress
  • update plugins
  • major changes to content
  • if you only rarely make changes to content, make them here as well

When you are happy that everything is working on the staging site – we’ll push the site to the production cluster. The production cluster is where your wordpress site will reside that the public will see. It will use a url like

To achive this, you should use the wpdone cpanel plugin, ‘send to cluster’. Leave all the defaults to Yes, this should take about 15 seconds on existing sites. If it’s the first time, it takes about 45-60 seconds or so.

How do I enable cloudflare and railgun ?

There is a cpanel plugin for cloudflare.

Click on it, and register your site (its just a 1 click process).

Then click on the ‘cloudflare performance’ tab. It should say, at the bottom, ‘Powered by Cloudflare ‘ . If its not turned on, click the little cloud logo on the right hand side at the bottom.

You can click ‘settings’. for further functionality.

You can purge the cache from here, which is rarely needed.

You can also enabled ‘railgun’ from here, you should choose ‘railgun1’. This will make your site even faster.

After installing cloudflare – it configures cloudflare to use that staging server as the source of web pages.

If you want to use the production cluster as the source for web pages, use the ‘advanced dns zone editor’ and change this entry 1400 IN CNAME is a mechanism to find the favoured hosting cluster member.