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Why You Might Want to Request a Development Site

Have you ever wanted to try something new on your site, but wished you could view and experiment with it before making the change(s) live? You can! All you need is a development site. In this post we'll talk about how to request a dev site and why you might want to have one.

A short story:

Mr. Webby owns a site on Stanford Sites. Currently, his homepage is very text heavy, and he fears that his site is unwelcoming. To address this, he's decided to cut out half of the text on his homepage, adding a cool, splashy banner image in its place.

Here’s the problem: Mr. Webby's site is live, and he doesn’t want to risk making a change that could affect other items on his homepage. He's also deciding between three banner images, and wants to see what each looks like on his homepage before making a final decision.

Here’s the solution: After chatting with one of the Stanford Web Services team members, Mr. Webby learned he could request a development site, where he could test different content layouts, banner images, and more before pushing the changes to his live site. "Boom!" he thought.

The following steps outline how to request a development site.

Request a dev site

  1. Direct your browser to
  2. Click the desired site’s Edit Configuration button


  3. Click the Create Dev Site button


Your development site should be ready within one hour. You will receive a confirmation email when the process completes.

What if my site has a vanity URL?

If your site is using a Vanity URL (e.g.,, you must first submit a HelpSU request to create a vanity URL for the development site.

Here is an example of such a HelpSU request:

Please create a new virtual host,, to point to

Once you receive the email confirming that the vanity URL has been successfully created, proceed with following the instructions above.

Want to migrate your live site to your development site?

See Making a copy of a website with the Backup and Migrate Module: