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Toolbox: Playing in a WordPress sandbox

toolbox

WordPress sandboxes can be very helpful for developers and WordPress professionals.

There are several needs for having a sandbox, including testing plugins or themes, testing updates, training a client to use WordPress, a place to showcase a client site under development, and a place to showcase a WordPress product.

Usually, developers create sandboxes either online or locally on their own machine. Either option is efficient, but if you want to have an online sandbox, you may want to explore ways to do so.

Many of us have created online sandboxes on our own servers using a domain we have in our toolbox but not being used for a regular website.

There are, however, several online sandbox options that are provided by various companies.

Today, we are going to look at four of those sandbox options for WordPress professionals.

InstaWP

Screenshot: instawp.com
Screenshot: instawp.com

Vikas Singhal created InstaWP, and his company has received funding from Automattic.

The instant launcher of a sandbox is impressive.

I signed up for the Free account and launched my Sandbox extremely quickly.

The installation has a shelf life of just under 2 days.

The dashboard is easy to navigate, and the application has some impressive features.

Screenshot: My InstaWP Dashboard
Screenshot: My InstaWP Dashboard

InstaWP has integrations with Chrome and Slack, two tools many folks in WordPress are already using.

With a click of a button, you can add your Git Repository.

Creating an install, you can choose a new WordPress including the version and PHP version or you can use a previous install you have configured as a Template.

When I created my install, it seemed like it was instant.

InstaWP has many use cases, including testing products, themes, and providing a space to store demo sites.

Just this week, Vikas visited with Rob Cairns on the Stunning Digital Marketing Show to talk at length about his product.

WordPress Sandbox

Screenshot: wpsandbox.net
Screenshot: wpsandbox.net

qSandbox is the company behind wpsandbox.net.

The WordPress Sandbox is installs quickly.

My sandbox is available for roughly 8 hours. That’s plenty of time to test a product or theme, etc.

Looking to try out a plugin or theme, simply add the Zip file or the WordPress.org link and it will include it in the sandbox.

Currently, there are no pro plans, but the website says they are coming soon. Currently, the application is accepting donations and will soon sell tokens to extend the life of the sandbox.

The company offers a WordPress Demo as a service.

They created the demo service for WordPress plugin and theme developers for potential customers to test drive their product.

Another option by WordPress Sandbox is the ability to spin up a ClassicPress installation.

WPSandbox

WPSandbox is an application that is part of the Liquid Web™ Family of Brands.

The application has made available a free Sandbox for Try WordPress 6.0 Full Site Editing (FSE) in a sandbox.

Otherwise, the plans are geared towards smaller companies all the way to enterprise organizations.

Screenshot: wpsandbox.io
Screenshot: wpsandbox.io

For companies who work with several customers and need ways to showcase the site they are working on as a demo, WPSandbox is an exceptional option.

“Give your customers access to full WordPress sandbox demo sites — pre-installed with your plugins and themes, and customized with your settings.”

To create an installation, you will need to sign up for one of their plans.

My plan on WPSandbox includes a 6 hour lifetime sandbox, up to five concurrent sandboxes, a template and email support.

My WPSandbox WordPress install wasn’t quite as fast as the others, but with less than 5 minutes, I had a fully functioning sandbox.

I admit, I like the little welcome message in the WordPress dashboard.

Screenshot of my Helpful Lobster
Screenshot of my Helpful Lobster

Depending on the plan you choose, you may have more sandboxes, duration for your sandboxes, templates and admins, and SSH & SFTP access.

TasteWP

Screenshot: tastewp.com
Screenshot: tastewp.com

TasteWP is a WordPress sandbox application from the team at Inisev. Like WP Sandbox and InstaWP, you can either create an account or not to test an install.

The application has an affiliate program that allows users to unlock a forever site for every three persons you refer.

As you can see from the picture below, you can create an install using one of many options, including WordPress version, PHP version, WP Debug, and other features needed for testing.

Screnshot: TasteWP Dashboard
Screnshot: TasteWP Dashboard

Wrapping it up

While we do have several options to create local install sandboxes, it is nice to know that we have live, online options.

These four are all great options for WordPress agencies of any size. Each sandbox installs very fast, making it quick and easy to spin up an installation.

Have you used one of these sandbox applications before? Let us know in the MainWP Users Facebook Group.

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Donata Stroink-Skillrud
Donata Stroink-Skillrud
President of Agency Attorneys