Setting up a development server for a live environment


Dec 4, 2017
The Netherlands
cPanel Access Level
Root Administrator
Dear Cpanel-support / -Devs and -enthousiasts,

I am renting a cPanel / WHM VPS server (TransIP / NL) running on a CentOS 7 environment. This is a live and running environment with different PrestaShop 1.6 / 1.7 and Wordpress installations. Because it is always an amazing mess with updating PHP/Wordpress/Prestashop I need another server for development and testing.
Now, what I wanted to do, is create an exact copy of all the data and SQL databases of all websites to a VmWare CentOS 7 virtual machine as a development environment.
This development environment should be localhost, or if needed, I could route it just through to the internet or maybe create a subdomain for it.

But the thing is, what steps do I have to take for this? Is cPanel needed? Is a new license needed? Is there a special license for this?

I want to make this as convenient as possible, so that when WordPress/Prestashop wrecks something with the update process/modules/extensions/whatever-process (or maybe me/myself ofcourse) it shouldn't be a problem to copy this back onto the live environment.

Can you please suggest me how to work here, or maybe suggest me a tutorial, as this ain't common practice?
There are a lot of old articles here, and I don't know what is true/recent or what ain't.

If it is needed to do everything manually without cPanel, and just use Apache, that's okay, but I just hope to get some straight answers here. We don't want to spend money on new licenses, just for a development-server.

I hope you have a 2018-solution for me or a push in the right direction, TransIP said to go to your forums as answer (short support...)...

I just want to have a stable environment at all times.
Now I have to make changes on websites/code, and we just have to see what happens... That's really bad, I think...

I can install everything myself, but just need to know how to handle this as a company.
I heard that most people have a dev-/staging-/live-environment, but there is just so much dis-info everywhere on the internetz these days. And how to handle this with cPanel?

Thank you for all your reactions in advance.

With my best regards,

Patrick de Jongh
Uw PC Draait Door


Staff member
Apr 11, 2011

If it's purely for backup purposes, and you don't need to actually access the websites on the development server, then you could simply backup the accounts to the remote server using the backup options in Web Host Manager:

Backup Configuration - Version 70 Documentation - cPanel Documentation

If you choose the "Incremental" backup type, it will actually store the backups in an uncompressed state with the files available in their corresponding directory structure on the remote backup server. You would not have to install cPanel on the development server. Instead, you'd just need to make sure the cPanel server could access the development server via a network connection with the Rsync utility.

If you are attempting to setup the development server for staging to test out website changes, then you would in-fact need an additional cPanel license if you wanted to replicate the source cPanel server. Note that this type of configuration isn't natively supported at this time, however I encourage you to review the following feature requests to vote and add feedback:

Server configuration and data auto-sync (mirroring)
Active-Active Redundancy or High-availability
Built-in load balancing, replication, high availability

Additionally, you can review the comments sections on these feature requests to see examples of how other users are implementing custom setups.

Let us know if you have any questions.