Testing Environments

The OIT-Managed Template website has been designed to be used by non-technical website editors. All site building and content editing is done in the Production environment.

Each site on this platform has three environments:

  1. Production: Where you build and edit your website.
  2. Staging: This environment is for testing purposes only. Access restricted to Princeton network only.
  3. Development: This environment is used by Web Development Services only. Access restricted to Princeton network only.

Proper usage of the Staging environment

There are two main purposes of the staging environment:

  1. To test new features or fixes that WDS adds to the platform as part of our platform maintenance. Such updates to the platform are typically applied to the staging environment one week before being applied to the production environment. During this time you will be notified by email and can test the changes and provide feedback to WDS.
  2. To experiment with design/content/configuration/layout changes that you are not comfortable making to the production environment. Note that any changes made must be re-produced in your production environment. They cannot be automatically applied.

As described in the terms of service, the content in the staging environment is NOT "refreshed" prior to every update to the platform that WDS performs. This means that the content in your staging environment will not match your production environment.

If you wish to have the content "refreshed" in your staging environment email webservices@princeton.edu. This process involves copying all files and data from your production environment to your staging environment. As such, anything you've experimented with in your staging environment will be lost.

Staging URL for testing or implementation of a change

The URL for your staging environment follows this pattern:


In most cases, "SITE" will be the subdomain of your main production site. For example, if you're site's production domain is https://informationsecurity.princeton.edu, the QA environment URL is https://informationsecurity.wdstemplate-qa.princeton.edu/.

This URL may not be easy to remember, so WDS has provided it as a link from within your production environment. When logged in, click the "Prod" menu item in the top navbar. This will expand a tray that includes the link to the staging environment:

A visualization of the nav bar showing the link to a site's staging environment.

When logged into the staging environment site, the navbar will be a different color to clearly indicate that you are not on the production environment:

Example nav bar on the staging environment which is colored differently.

Note that you must be on Princeton's network to access your QA site. If you're not on campus, you can use the VPN.