Create a completely independent test site using existing hosting that is only available to administrators.

Author:Eric Bartel (profile at
WordPress version required:3.8
WordPress version tested:3.7.41
Plugin version:0.4
Added to WordPress repository:28-01-2014
Last updated:29-03-2014
Warning! This plugin has not been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.
Rating, %:36
Rated by:11
Plugin URI:
Total downloads:14 523
Active installs:200+
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Have you ever stared at the upgrade button of your favorite plugin with a deep foreboding feeling of what lies ahead? Will this bring your live site to its knees? Or have you wanted to test your new exciting theme without prematurely showing it to the world?

Enter the Sandbox plugin. With two simple clicks an entire testing site is created using your existing hosting provider. No more copying down to a complex local test setup or living dangerously on a live site. A complete independent sandbox, unavailable to the general public and search engines, can be created quickly and simply. You can even create multiple sandboxes to test different iterations of your site.

There is not that much more to say, it’s that easy!

What can I test with this?

Pretty much anything, but here are some examples:

  • Plugin upgrades
  • Theme changes
  • Setting changes
  • Even full, WordPress upgrades
  • Plugin conflicts? Create a sandbox and disable one at a time.

Ok, but how does it work?

When you add a new sandbox, a couple simple parameters are required to differentiate it from other sandboxes. A status is displayed as the sandbox is being created. This can take some time depending on the size of your WordPress install.

Basic steps to creating the sandbox:

  1. Copy the tables
    Database tables are copied to new tables with a different prefix and various data within the tables is updated to reflect the sandbox prefix.
  2. Copy the files
    All files are copied to a new folder under the sandbox folder.
  3. Update the configuration
    The configuration file within the sandbox is updated to support the unique sandbox database prefix.

Once activated, only your browser can get to the sandbox installation. You can return the live site at anytime by clicking the link in the notice at the top of the admin interface.

Can I use my existing developer tools to edit the sandbox?

Sure. Tools such as Dreamweaver can update the files located in the sandbox directory. A full path is available on the edit screen of the sandbox. Database files can be modified as well. All sandbox tables will have the prefix displayed on the edit screen of the sandbox.

Another beer and coffee fueled creation of Think Bowl