How to Create a Test Shop

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Download & Install

Creating a Test Shop (sometimes referred to as a Staging Site) is not an essential step in setting up your shop but it is recommended and now is a good time to do it whilst the install procedure is fresh in your mind.


This is basically installing another CE Phoenix where you can play, modify and test changes without any danger of breaking your Live Shop.

You can go further by creating two Test Shops.

  • Use one to test changes before applying them to your Live Shop, for example, to test an update - this Test Shop will then be kept up to date and be a mirror of your Live Shop.
  • The other Test Shop can be kept as a Clean Install - any changes there are undone to keep it clean and box fresh.

A Test Shop can be created on your own computer but it is advisable to create one on your server where the environment will be exactly the same as your Live Shop so you know any changes will behave the same in both.

Refer to How to Install for detailed instructions for installing Phoenix.

  1. Create a new database.
  2. Create a new folder/directory on your server and name it e.g. TestShop
  3. Upload CE Phoenix to the new folder/directory.
  4. Complete the install procedure.


Important - Immediately after installation:

  • Password protect the folder/directory to make sure the contents cannot be found by the public or internet search engines.

This can be done in the control panel on some host servers or do it yourself.

  1. Edit the .htaccess file which will be in the folder/directory where you installed CE Phoenix on the server.
  2. Copy and paste the following code at the bottom of the file - you need to replace /path/to/ with the root path of your shop (this can be found in includes/configure.php in the line that starts with const DIR_FS_CATALOG) and save.
AuthType Basic
AuthName "My Protected Area"
AuthUserFile /path/to/.htpasswd
Require valid-user
  1. Create a new text file.
  2. Open it and click Save as - select All types (*.*) next to file type - type the filename .htpasswd and click Save.
  3. Go to

Follow the instructions there i.e. enter a username and password (save these) and it will generate some code similar to this example - don't use this example!

  1. Copy and paste the code into the .htpasswd file and save.
  2. Upload the file to the folder/directory.

When you next access the site you will see something like this to sign in:


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