Setting up WordPress for development

If you’re like me, chances are, you won’t be building and launching a site in a day. Websites take time to set up, design, populate with content and test. As a web designers you will probably have clients who fall in one of these situations.

  • The client has a site, but requires a new one;
  • The client has nothing and needs a site.

Regardless of the situation, it’s best to develop the site in a folder that’s hidden from view. I usually like to develop my site in a wp folder. When people navigate to the site I’m working on they will see the current site or a Coming Soon page at and the WordPress site in development will be at

Another good thing to do while you are developing a site, is to set Privacy Settings to the second option “I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors“.

When you are ready to launch, giving WordPress its own directory takes only a few minutes.

  1. Navigate to Settings > General in your admin. Change the Site url from to DO NOT TOUCH WordPress url. Hit Save.
  2. In your FTP, navigate to your wp folder and download the .htaccess and index.php files. (Uploading them to your desktop is fine. You won’t need to keep these once you are done.)
  3. Open the index.php in your text editor and change the line that says:
  4. Save the file.
  5. Delete the old site from your root folder (making a back up might be a good idea) or the Coming Soon page.
  6. Upload this revised index.php and the .htaccess files to your root folder.

That’s it. You should now be able to see the site at and access the WordPress admin at

Don’t forget to change the privacy settings back to the first option, allowing Search engine to find your site.

These instructions are also found in the codex.


    1. That’s a good question… I’ve never come across any issues. Perhaps the plugin needs to be installed and activated only when the site is in it’s final destination?
      That might be a question that the plugin developer can answer.

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