Creating a staging instance for your TestRail Server installation can make sense if you want to test a TestRail update before deploying it to your production system or if you would like to experiment with the integration options or customizations. This guide explains how to set up a staging server and it also provides some ideas on how to test your TestRail system. Please note that setting up and maintaining a staging server is not a substitute for proper backups.
The first step to set up a staging server is to install TestRail on the new system. To do this, you can either download the corresponding TestRail version from our customer portal. Or you can copy the original files from your production TestRail installation to the staging server.
Make sure to delete the config.php file on your staging server in case you copied your production system to the staging server. The config.php files contain the TestRail database connection information and you would need to use a separate database for your staging server. Deleting the config.php file on your staging server will also allow you to re-run the installation wizard on the new system.
The staging server could either be installed on a separate machine or on a virtual machine. It’s not recommended to set up the staging server on the same system as the production installation, however, as it’s easy to confuse the database and installation directories then. That said, from a technical standpoint you can install multiple TestRail installations on the same server.
To install TestRail on the staging server, access the new installation with your web browser and follow the installation instructions. Please note that it’s recommended to disable email notifications for your staging server. This way the staging server doesn’t generate any emails about test assignments or test changes that could confuse actual users of your production server.
To disable email notifications, remove the email server connection settings and uncheck the Enable email notifications box under Administration > Site Settings > Email tab (or during the installation).
Creating a backup of the existing server
It’s important to test new TestRail updates or customizations with realistic data, so backing up your production database and using this database as the data for your staging server is usually a good idea. To do this, create a backup of your production database and restore it on your staging server. You can simply use the standard tools of your database for this (e.g. mysqldump or, more comfortable, phpMyAdmin for MySQL; and SQL Server Management Studio for SQL Server databases).
Testing and verifying TestRail installation
Before applying a new TestRail update on your production system or before customizing aspects of your production system, you can test these changes on the staging server first. Once you have confirmed that the update or the customizations work as expected, you can apply the same changes to your production system.