Best way to test live site without using Maintenance Mode?

spessex's picture

Can anyone advise the best way to test a 'live' site without having to go into Maintenance Mode?

Basically I just want to ensure that it doesn't appear on search engines or get listed, and if there is something that is advised it needs to be something that won't be to the detriment of the site indexed/listed when I actually want it to.

For those that might be questioning why I want to do this without using MM is basically to test a Facebook login to see how it works and performs etc.




Basic Authentication

Steven Jones's picture

We tend to pop them behind HTTP basic authentication, which stops most casual observers like search engines.

However, I seem to recall facebook actually needing to be able to reach your site in certain circumstances, so you may not have any option other than to make your site public for a little while when you test FB specifically.

cheers steven

spessex's picture

cheers steven

Doorman module

manarth's picture

I wrote the Doorman module for this kind of use-case…having a 'beta' site but needing authentication for everything bar a few pages. I've not tried it specifically with facebook login though, would be interesting to hear if it works with that.

Marcus Deglos
Founder / Technical Architect @ Techito.

Expanding on what Steven

Michael-IDA's picture

Expanding on what Steven wrote, we dup live sites to a sub-domain, add the .htaccess [1], and let the client then beat on anything they want. This works 99.9% of the time. [2]


[1] For the lazy: cPanel >> Security >> Password Protect Directories

[2] Make sure to change / comment out the Base URL in settings.php.

$base_url = ''; // NO trailing slash!

for best practice, try to

Hadi Farnoud's picture

for best practice, try to have a server for test and dev with same specs. that allows you to develop and test new features while your site is live. moving the site is as easy as git pull and a mysql dump

Use a subdomain on the same

Michael-IDA's picture

Use a subdomain on the same server. Your development activities will should not have any resource effect on your server. (Unless of course your developers are idiots, but then you have bigger problems.)


what you're suggesting only

Hadi Farnoud's picture

what you're suggesting only works for normal small websites. many times you find yourself playing with the database, changing caching, installing Solr, etc.

it's best to use a separate server. that is the "best practice".

Hi, If you just want to

The Webmaster Centre Ltd's picture


If you just want to prevent Google and the others from indexing the site, just set your robots.txt file to Disallow All. Most search engines respect robots.txt and won't index your site.



Hi Patrick Out of interest

spessex's picture

Hi Patrick

Out of interest does this have any long term effects. For example if I 'Disallow All' for a while and then want to go live and change this back to allowing all (or what ever that might be), have you noticed if it has any downsides i.e. does it then take longer for your site to get listed or re-listed?

Google checks your site at

Hadi Farnoud's picture

Google checks your site at the same rate even when you disallow *

don't worry, you'll be fine. however, password protected is probably a better idea. you don't want others to see your unfinished site anyway.