Installation on a test environment before deploying XenForo in production


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I'm interested in purchaing a XenForo license during the upcoming weekend. I currently run a forums board with another forum software that I don't want uninterrupted until I migrate to XenForo.

Does XenForo's licensing allow me to install the forum software on my testing environment (probably a local server on my personal computer with nginx/latest PHP/MariaDB), apply all my changes/style changes there, and then transfer the files & database as-is to the production server?
Or would I have to install XenForo through the XenForo installer on the server, install the add-ons I am going to use on my local test environmnet, and then import the data through the UI in the admin panel? And if I do that, will all my data be imported including add-ons, themes, templates and such?
Please feel free to set up a local testing installation. That’s covered under the license and it is highly recommended to test things in this way, especially before a migration.
Please feel free to set up a local testing installation. That’s covered under the license and it is highly recommended to test things in this way, especially before a migration.
Thanks for answering.

What about my other question? How will I go about it? Straight up transferring the post-installation files and importing the MariaDB database from my local server? Or should I install XenForo on the production server and then use the migrate tool to migrate the data from my testing environment?
At a minimum you would need to copy the data and internal_data directories from local to production.

So you can either install XF on the production server and copy those directories when you switchover, or transfer all files if XF is not installed.
The former will be quicker.

In both cases the database will also need to be exported from local and imported to production.
Yeah, I know a lot of the cloud products we use at work give you a sandbox or at least the ability to test your setup before taking it "live". It is definitely something I would look for in cloud-hosted app.
For most things testing live isn’t going to be an issue especially if the site has few members.

You can gate most add-ons and features behind permissions before making them available to all. You can test styles and template changes in a style that users cannot select.

For everything else, particularly stuff that isn’t add-on related, you can always set up a demo and if necessary we can extend that demo beyond the default 3 days.

As I say there are plans for a testing environment but It will occur a little bit after the full launch.

If this poses a significant challenge then please let us know via ticket the extent of what you’re testing and we’ll see if there is anything we can do or advise in the interim.
I was thinking more in terms of getting to try out and work on different layouts, offerings, features. Folks don't like their favorite forum changing all the time, so a change needs to be worth while and tested. I like to set up something and let a small group fuss around with any new ideas for a while and let me know if it makes sense to all of them.
Or sometimes a change in one part is only ok because you changed another part, replaced the feature or so forth, so we would work it through on the privite install and get it all checked out before swapping it over to the main install.

I guess what I'm saying is that i actually can't imagine not having a "playground". Specially right now while i build an entirely new board on a new platform and explore how much things have changed in the last 10-15 years since i was admining forums. I will check out how much i can do in the ways that you suggest and pipe up again if i find myself in a corner.
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