If you are not sure whether WordPress is the best website builder for you, or if you already have a site and want to test themes, plugins and other things in a safe place, use a test site.
A WordPress test site is essential for trying out new ideas, new designs, new themes, plugins, code, and so on. You should not experiment with your one and only live website. What if something goes wrong? What if you install a theme or plugin and then have to spend hours working out how to set it up and use it? All the time, people are visiting your site and seeing problems, incomplete setup of components and chaos.
A test site lets you experiment and get to know themes, plugins and more. It does not matter if you mess it up, you can create a new one and try again. It is a great place to learn about WordPress and improve your skills.
There are several ways to create a test site and previously I looked at DevKinsta and Local. These are applications that can be installed on a Windows PC or Apple Mac to run WordPress on your computer.
Get a WordPress site in 3.5s
TasteWP is completely different and there is no need to install anything on your computer or fiddle with complicated settings and software setup. TasteWP works entirely on the web and by clicking just one button on the home page, you can have a WordPress website up and running in seconds – in fact, less than 3.5 seconds when I tried it.
There is no registration, nothing to pay, no information is required, it just works and your WordPress website is ready to go immediately. If you are anonymous, your test site is automatically deleted after 48 hours. If you choose to sign up, which is still free, your site lasts a week before being deleted. You need to bear this in mind, but it is still a great idea for testing things in WordPress.
There is an advanced setup facility and this enables you to customize a number of options. For example, you can select the WordPress version from 4.6 to the current one, PHP from 5.6 to the latest version, some debugging options and so on.
There is a choice of themes – Twenty Twenty, OceanWP and GeneratePress. Three plugins are available, Backup Migration, Pop-up Plugin and Copy Delete Posts. Any theme or plugin can be installed afterwards and these are just popular setup options to get you started.
The Backup Migration plugin can be used to import your existing WordPress site, so you can experiment with a clone of your real website. There is a 220 MB storage space limit, which isn’t enough to import my sites, so I couldn’t try it, but it is useful if your site isn’t too big.
Use your WordPress test site
The site URL, admin username and password are displayed as soon as the site is created and you can log in. It looks and works just like a fresh install of WordPress. It is a fascinating idea and one that has many uses.
You can install themes and plugins, activate them, configure them, customize WordPress, add additional users and so on. You can open the media library, upload images, create posts and pages and more. It’s just regular WordPress.
It is like any other WP site and there are few limitations that I could find. One of the rare ones I noticed was that when a user registers, it didn’t send an email to confirm it. However, I could manually add users as an admin.
After creating your site, customizing it, installing plugins and theme, which could take many hours or even days, what then? You have a couple of options and you could use a plugin to back up your site, then you could restore it elsewhere, such as web hosting you pay for.
TasteWP says that web hosting is coming to the service, so I presumably that is how the company will fund this free WordPress service. I assume there will be an option to move your test site to permanent hosting.
This is an interesting and useful service for anyone interested in learning WordPress or for testing. Try it, you’ll like it.