Testing Guide for Major WordPress Changes

April 3, 2024

Testing Guide for Major WordPress Changes

When conducting tests on a staging WordPress site after major updates or changes, it’s important to focus on aspects that are most critical to your specific business needs and user experience. Given that it may not be feasible to test every single element thoroughly, here’s a brief guide emphasizing the primary areas to focus. Remember, while your agency or developer will do their best to conduct thorough testing, they operate within the available budget and may not have detailed insight into the specific intricacies of your business operations.

Testing Email Limitations on Staging: Emails might be intentionally disabled on staging or test sites to avoid sending unintended messages to customers. If you need to test email confirmations for form submissions or during checkout, please reach out to our team to verify whether email functionality is disabled.

API Keys and Plugin License Limitations on Staging: Please be aware that API keys and some WordPress plugin licenses might not work on staging or test sites unless they are specifically enabled for those URLs. For instance, if a Google Map integrates with Google Maps APIs, the keys may be restricted to the live site and therefore won’t function on the staging site. To test this functionality, you might need to either bypass it, disable the functionality on staging or update your API key to accommodate the staging site. Similarly, a WordPress plugin may not allow a license to be active on both the live site and staging site at the same time. As a result, you might need to either forego testing this functionality, disable the plugin on the staging site or consider purchasing an additional license.

Testing every detail of your website is not practical in most cases so focusing primarily on areas that are crucial for your business operations and customer interactions is recommended. Consider creating a spreadsheet or checklist for your internal team to use when handling significant website updates, especially when your development team requests your quality assurance input.

1. Prioritize Business-Critical Functionality:

  • Core Business Processes: Identify the features and functionalities that are central to your business operations (like online forms for a service business or product pages for an e-commerce site). Ensure these are functioning seamlessly.
  • High Traffic Pages: Focus on pages that receive the most traffic, as issues here can affect the largest number of your users.

2. E-commerce Essentials: (if applicable):

  • Product Pricing: Ensure that product information, especially any complex pricing, is calculating as expected.
  • Checkout Process: Since this impacts your revenue directly, it’s crucial to ensure a smooth add-to-cart and checkout process. This includes thoroughly testing payment processing and the sending of confirmation emails. If you are conducting tests on a live production site, you can use a real credit card and process a refund afterward. For testing on a development or staging site, the payment gateway should be configured to accept only test cards or accounts. Below is a list of common payment gateways and their respective test cards. If your payment gateway is not listed, please contact us for further assistance. Please note that all payments made on a test site are processed through our payment gateway sandbox. If you need to verify that your payment was successfully received in the payment gateway from our end, feel free to reach out to us.
    • Stripe.com
      • Card Number: 4242424242424242
      • CVC: Any 3 digits
      • Expiration: Any future date
      • Card Type: Visa
    • Authorize.net
      • Card Number: 4007000000027
      • CVC: Any 3 digits
      • Expiration: Any future date
      • Card Type: Visa
    • PayPal Advanced Processing
      • Card Number: 4005519200000004
      • CVC: Any 3 digits
      • Expiration: Any future date
      • Card Type: Visa
    • PayPal Standard
      • Contact us for access to our PayPal sandbox buyer account.

3. Key Integrations and Plugins:

  • Essential Plugins: Test plugins that your site relies on for critical functions like SEO tools, e-commerce platforms (like WooCommerce), or customer relationship management systems (CRMs).
  • Maps and Locators: Test plugins that generate dynamic maps or include find a location-type functionality.
  • Third-Party Services: Verify that integrations with external services (e.g., payment gateways, tax and shipping calculations, email marketing software) are functioning. These are often susceptible to disruptions during updates.

4. Forms and Data Capture:

  • Lead Generation Forms: Prioritize testing forms crucial for lead generation or customer service. Ensure they submit data correctly, send emails to your team (if enabled) and transfer into your CRM or email platforms (if applicable).
  • Error Handling: Check that forms show appropriate error messages, helping users correct their inputs effectively.

5. User Interface and Accessibility:

  • Navigation and User Flows: Test the usability of the site, ensuring that navigation menus and links lead to the correct destinations and enhance user experience.
  • Responsive Design: With a high number of users accessing sites via mobile, ensure that the site is responsive and works on a variety of common devices.

6. Performance Concerns:

  • Loading Speed: Focus on the real-time loading speed of your most visited pages. Slow-loading pages can lead to increased bounce rates and lost revenue.

Communicate Specific Needs

Since your web development team might not be fully aware of all the nuances of your business, it’s vital to communicate any specific concerns or areas you think require particular attention. This includes:

  • Specialized functions or custom code that your business relies on.
  • Any recent issues you’ve encountered with the site that should be monitored post-update.
  • Any changes to the content or functionality on the live site that have occurred since your developers began the update process.

Please ensure you include the following information for each feedback item or issue you find:

  • The direct URL where the issue is occurring
  • Screenshot of the issue
  • Either steps to reproduce the issue or record a video to share with the team


While it’s important to be thorough, focusing your testing efforts on areas that directly impact your business and revenue will make the process more manageable and effective. After completing the focused tests, if no major issues arise, you can be reasonably confident in approving the updates.

Matt Schwartz is an accomplished entrepreneur and technology expert based in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the founder and CEO of Inspry, a WordPress and WooCommerce web development and maintenance web agency that has been providing cutting-edge technology solutions to clients since 2011. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Matt has become a respected figure in the web development community and has helped numerous businesses achieve their digital goals.