All Business, Corporate and Enterprise plans include a ‘staging’ forum, which can usually be found at yoursite.vanillastaging.com.
This staging forum is intended for testing - try out a new theme, implement SSO before bringing it to your production forum, use an add-on, or test out new code in a pocket.
Vanilla will also deploy releases to staging sites before production sites. If a particular feature you’ve been anticipating is about to release, it will be available for testing on staging before production.
Migrations and Data
We do not typically use your staging forum as the destination for your test migration. However, we can import a truncated dataset to your staging site for testing purposes upon request. The infrastructure resources dedicated to staging are understandably limited, so we don’t support large staging datasets.
Your staging site access cannot be restricted by IP range (unless you have an Enterprise plan and a private cluster). However, we do provide an addon for blocking your staging site from search engine results and spidering.
If you are doing a test import to the staging site, we typically disable all outgoing email to prevent notifications from being dispatched from it. Confirm this with your CSM before beginning tests, in order to avoid end-user confusion. We can alternatively wipe email addresses from all but select user accounts to allow notification testing & review.
If you have a moderator or executive team you’d like to onboard with Vanilla before your launch, we recommend giving them access to your staging site. In this way, it is the safest way for users to test out both the front and back-end of Vanilla. Since data on staging will not be reflected on production, it will also avoid any tasks of removing test content when the forum is open to users.
We never sync neither data nor settings from staging to production. The two sites are treated as completely separate. Your customer success manager can assist you in manually copying your settings, such as add-ons, and we can assist in auditing your settings before launch. We cannot offer incremental content or data migrations / merges between sites.
The Developers documentation contains additional information on self-development, which can involve your staging site. Please refer to our Self-Development Guide. When deploying code, using the Stage branch will deploy to your staging site for testing.