Let me start by saying I'm not a computer person. I have a vbulletin forum I started 5 years ago, and I've had all my upgrades handled by third parties, so the installation procedure is shrouded in the mists of antiquity. Translation: I don't have a clue how I did it in 2006.
What I want to do is install a test forum first, get it cofigured the way I want, then take it live. So what's the best way to proceed? My forum is very active, so I want to make sure all my data makes it in to the live site. Can I work on the xenforo test site while I'm still running my site on vbulletin? And if I import data to the xenforo test site -- just to make sure it's running properly, etc. -- will it still exist in the vbulletin site? Then what do I do to keep a test site (for testing things) but take the actual xenforo site live, with up to date data? Also, I have someone who's going to redesign the xenforo site so it fits in with the rest of my web site. But if they do this on the test site, how can I make sure everything transfers to the real site?
Hope this isn't too confusing. Thanks for your help.