How to create and edit a free staging site before going live?

Shopify Partner
8 0 0

I want to edit a client's site that is live but I want to do it in a staging/dev site. It seems like there are two ways to do this for free. 


1. Duplicate the theme and work on it in their dashboard. Don't publish it until we are ready to go.

2. Create a Dev site in my Partners dashboard and copy the theme over. 


Aside from making changes to the theme layout we will be creating new pages and new content for existing pages. I need to know which way is best to go about this and then how to push our changes live (if they are in the dev site).

Replies 2 (2)

Shopify Partner
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Since shopify is a cloud based platform where you the developer do not control the servers

the main pivot point becomes who retains control over the code before deployment and or payment for services.

You or the business that your working with.


3. use the shopify cli to work in a development theme in the merchants store, or a staging store 


4. I haven't tested this but there is now a yet another way announced in shopify-editions-summer-23

Though not clear if this will be reserved only for plus organizations.

staging environments - copy import store data to a created production store or dev store 


A main store with staging themes, or a secondary store with published testing themes.

A secondary staging store can a better a approach when:

  • a longterm relationship with high iteration but you need to retain control over the work being done until payment. i.e. if you just put code on a production store they have possession of your code.
  • the business needs to build deployment process
  • staging includes testing product data/content or testing apps NOT just theme changes
  • no or few apps
  • testing domain being different doesn't matter ie. vs (things like analytics etc have to be verified before working, or hardcoded relative urls that do not exist on the staging store,etc)
  • storefront password being requiered doesn't matter.
  • for testing you need the working-theme to be the live theme. Because unpublished theme previews have some diffferences such as having a redirect that can impact performance testing; or the constant preview-bar stuck to the footer(if not hidden with css)

Both stores however will need an app setup to keep as much data as possible in sync.

However this method can be problematic for stores that use lots of apps as almost all apps have no concept of staging stores, and few have their own apis letting you sync an apps settings for different stores.


5. you set it up as a dev store as a shopify-partner transferring it to the client to active a store plan.

This is best if they need a staging environ for multiple contributors where work needs to stay under the merchants control. That generally works for you only if everything is prepaid/contracted.


@Inventive_Web_D wrote:

1. Duplicate the theme and work on it in their dashboard

Specificity: duplicate the published theme to their admins theme library and work in the browser based code editor*.

This means other collaborators or staff with theme access can step on your toes or overwrite work.

Instead of working in the browser based code editor for a theme in the theme library  use themekit to work on code in a local code editor, requiring 

advanced: if you have permissions a custom app can be used to config theme-kit 


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6 0 0
Shopify Plus allows creating 1 main store + 9 additional stores, so a total of 10 stores.  
Will an staging/development Shopify stores for each store be counted against the 10 stores?