A staging site is a clone of your live website. It enables you to test any changes or major new features that you plan to implement in a secure environment. Developers typically use staging sites to test changes and fix bugs before going to production.
Developing a website can involve a number of risks. It’s never fun to make changes and realize that your live website has crashed. Fortunately, using a staging site can provide a safer environment for website development and innovation.
While visitors may only see the finished product, plenty of work goes on behind the scenes of a typical website. In fact, some developers use up to three or four different versions of the same site, in order to test their code before it goes live.
It’s worth noting that staging sites aren’t meant to be accessed by the public or by search engines like Google. If you use your staging site correctly, your live site’s visitors should never have to deal with any issues, such as your site breaking due to changes in its code.
If you’re comfortable with the knowledge that one of your updates could break your site and alter its functionality, or render it unusable while you fix it, then you probably don’t need a staging site.
However, if your website generates income (directly or indirectly), provides any type of service, or has users that depend on it, creating a staging website is definitely a smart move.