Making a Test Mirror Site for osCommerce

By | March 23, 2009

Barbara asks;

I was asked to transfer the oscommerce site I’ve been working on to a different server and to create a “test mirror site”, where we could change pages, change PRODUCTS and get ready for a new season, so that they could test it and see the new version of the site live and when the right day came we could just switch the mirror for the live site. Any idea how this could be done? Or how easily? Do I need to set up different versions of the site in different databases? Can I just have a copy and have different products on each one?

OK – fairly easy. You need to be aware that osCommerce might work well on one server and totally fail on another – all depends upon the server software…that said;

Option 1. Buy a (temporary) domain name and new hosting

Would be the best way to test changes on a new server. Once the changes are complete, simply “park” the real domain on top of the temporary domain and update the two configure.php files from the temprary to the new domains. Downside = cost of domain name. You’d need to buy hosting on the new server anyway so that is not an issue.

Option 2. Run your new site in a folder/directory on your existing webpace

Not really a great option as it would be so easy to mix up the two sites.

Option 3. Run your new site offline on your computer

This is the option that EVERY person who runs osCommerce should be doing anyway – it’s super simple to set up. Basically, you create a mirror of your existing site to run offline. A good thing in case anything happens to your live site. At the same time you can also create your new site offline and save it onto a USB flash card for example to show your client…

A picture is worth 1000 words…basically you are running two stores (or three, or four, etc) – 1 is live on your webhosting, the other(s) are all on your home computer. You can find this package at oscbooks.com – I am running this exact same setup and at present I have 49 seperate osCommerce shops running on my computer, along with 49 MySQL databases. All working well…

Obviously, when the site is completed, you then upload to your new website hosting on your new server. Easy as 123.

2 thoughts on “Making a Test Mirror Site for osCommerce

  1. jared

    One thing to keep in mind when you run osC (or any other AMP application) on your own PC is that sometimes, different versions of PHP / MySQL do matter. This is not _usually_ an issue, but it _can_ be an issue. Unless you will constantly update your PC to run the identical version of PHP / MySQL that your client is running, you need to keep this in mind in the rare event that something doesn’t work right.

    I have seen some fall into a similar trap, that of assuming that a PHP application running on IIS will behave identically when run on Apache. Even worse.

  2. Joseph McMurry

    I have to second Jared on this. For an app as complex as osCommerce, you really need to test it in the same environment: same OS, same PHP version, same MySQL version, etc.

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