This article covers the original deployment method known as “Quick Deploy”. A new deployment method has been released called “DirectDeploy” that does not require an FTP client and can simplify most deployments. Click here for more information about the newest “DirectDeploy” feature.

Quick Deploy can make deploying your development website to a live server extremely easy. In this post, I’ll show you how to use Quick Deploy and the steps to get your site working on a compatible live server quickly.

However, the feature is labeled beta because it has yet to be fully tested with a variety of hosting providers. Not all hosting providers are created equal and Quick Deploy does have a PHP 5.3 minimum requirement. Please be sure to post in our dedicated forum about Quick Deploy if you have any questions or feel free to let us know about your success with Quick Deploy. We’re sure the community would like know the name of hosting providers where Quick Deploy works (and we’d like to know where it does not) if you are willing to reveal that too. We’d like to hear from you!

I’ll start by summarizing the three easy steps to use Quick Deploy followed by a more detailed explanation and step-by-step instructions below:

  1. Export your website using DesktopServer and upload the ZIP archive to your server.
  2. Upload the quick-deploy.php script from DesktopServer’s application folder.
  3. Visit the quick-deploy.php script in your web browser.

Step 1 – Export Your Website

Notice: DesktopServer version 3.5.0 features enhanced migration compatibilities. This new functionality supports migration of proprietary theme and plugin settings via an official “DesktopServer for WordPress” plugin. Starting with DesktopServer version 3.5.0, please refer to this post in lieu of Step 1. It is highly recommended that you upgrade to DesktopServer version 3.5.0 for more viable live server deployments.

Begin by using DesktopServer’s export feature. Start by selecting the “Export or import a website” option and click next, followed by the “Export a WordPress website archive” option and click next. You will be presented with the following screen featuring a number of fields (click the thumbnail for a larger picture).

Select the website you wish to export from the drop down combo box. You have the option of filling out the database credentials of your live host’s database server. If you don’t have this information, you can proceed by following WordPress.org’s famous 5 minute install to obtain it or an even easier approach would be to simply overwrite your existing working WordPress installation. Almost any version of WordPress will do because just having a working WordPress installation to overwrite means you can skip all of these fields and just click next. You will have eliminated most of the guess work as you will know that your host is capable of running a copy of WordPress. The only remaining step is running your copy WordPress. Quick Deploy can read the settings of your host’s existing working WordPress website and overwrite it, deploying your site fast.

Almost every hosting provider already includes a shortcut to getting WordPress up and running with just a click of the mouse. A simple search on YouTube reveals dozens of ways to get WordPress up and running using the automated tools provided by most hosting provider control panels. Whether it is via QuickInstall, Fantastico, SimpleScripts, or Site Software just to name a few. Covering the topic of which way to install WordPress is a little beyond the scope of our Quick Deploy purpose. We just need an existing running copy of WordPress on the target. Suffice it to say, obtain the database credentials or just skip the fields and ensure that you have the most recent WordPress installation as possible on your destination website.

Clicking next will provide you with one last important option: Site Name. Make sure you use the site name that matches your working WordPress website which must be a valid registered domain name. You must include the top-level domain (i.e. .com, .org, .info, etcetera) in the Site Name field. Do not include the http:// as we are only interested in the fully qualified domain name with which you wish your visitors to use to reach your WordPress website (i.e. www.example.com).

Step 2 – Upload to Your Website

After exporting your website, you will want to upload the resulting ZIP archive file (i.e. www.example.com.zip) along with the quick-deploy.php script file that can be found below. Download and unzip the quick-deploy zip archive. You should upload the quick-deploy.php file (as a PHP file, not zip).

http://serverpress.com/solutions/quick-deploy.zip

Upload both the zip archive and the quick-deploy.php script to your live server. If you have a working version of WordPress on your site, ensure that the wp-config.php file is present and within the same folder as your website archive ZIP file and the quick-deploy.php script file. The quick-deploy.php script will first look for the wp-config.php file and use the database credentials found within the script to deploy your WordPress website. Note that your existing working WordPress website will be overwritten, including the database and WordPress files. If you do not have a working copy of WordPress on your live site, then you should have supplied the database credentials in step 1. In both cases, Quick Deploy will overwrite any existing files and database content.

Step 3 – Visit the quick-deploy.php script

Visit the quick-deploy.php script using your web browser. For instance, if you have a WordPress website with the name of www.example.com, you will want to visit http://www.example.com/quick-deploy.php in your web browser. You should then see the Quick Deploy screen that follows:

Next, you will need to type the filename of your website’s ZIP archive file (for example, www.example.com.zip). Be sure not to rename the ZIP archive file prior to uploading as the name of the ZIP file must match the name you specified at the time you created it using the DesktopServer export feature (this is a known issue). The last step is to press the deploy button. Note that your existing website (if any) will be erased. You should receive one last prompt asking you to confirm. Click OK to proceed.

You will have to wait depending on the size of your website archive. Be sure to keep your web browser open and do not navigate away from the page while Quick Deploy unpacks your website archive. Any errors that occur should appear within the large text box area, otherwise you should see the text “Done!” if only for a second before being transferred to your site’s home page.

If Quick Deploy succeeded, you will know right away by seeing your website’s home page. Quick Deploy should have also cleaned up after itself, deleting both the quick-deploy.php script file and your website archive ZIP file. A temporary folder would have been created with the same name of your website archive file and that should have been deleted as well. For security purposes, you should verify that the folders and files are no longer present on your site. Lastly, because this is still a beta feature, you should thoroughly review the integrity of your newly deployed website for any potential errors or incompatibilities.

While there are other ways to deploy your website, DesktopServer’s export feature can prepare your database and files for easy deployment. Quick Deploy makes the process even quicker by allowing you to deploy your site in three easy steps. Enjoy!

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3 Comments

  1. paulcrm says:

    Hello,

    Thank you for this explanation and it is great for deploying the entire site, but to do when you have created new content on your dev site and you want to deply it to your live site?

    What is the best process to deploy 10 -30 pages?

    Is there a way to synchronize DesktopServer with your Live site and just publish / export the last set of changes to the live site?

    Thanks,

    PCRM

    1. Stephen Carnam says:

      Hello Paul,
      Thank you for writing us. Please note that DesktopServer’s core features are not designed to compete with WordPress as a CMS (content management system). We’d recommend using WordPress’ native features to manage content. While DesktopServer is used for designing new sites; many users use it to redesign existing sites by importing compatible archives into DesktopServer. DesktopServer makes an excellent tool to compare existing backup archives to lessen the often painful task of recovery, comparison, and configuring additional servers to perform such tasks. However, we do understand that content management of content management systems would be ideal for someone attempting to deploy partial changes. Unfortunately this is a complicated issue as many plugins and theme frameworks store data in unpublished or undocumented proprietary configurations that can make “merging” challenging (at best). We are actively researching this area and hope to publish a solution in a subsequent release but no date or availability is present at this time. The WordPress community is attempting to address this issue with a number of projects:

      1. Crowd Favorite has a tool called RAMP that claims to make content management of content management systems as easy as that sounds redundant. However, per site pricing and the limitations (one-way synching only, no support for comments, no support for attached media or settings) may not be ideal for users. For more information, please visit: http://crowdfavorite.com/ramp/
      2. VersionPress – unfortunately sounds like vaporware and appears to be non-existent at this time. A kickstarter campaign was created to help fund the project but it did not meet it’s desired goal in the allotted time. Whether or not production in the project is actually taking place is a mystery. For more information please visit: http://versionpress.net
    2. Stephen Carnam says:

      If you have uploaded your files and media separately via FTP, DesktopServer does feature a faster (skipping all files and media) “Deploy database only” feature. However, this will still transmit your entire database, overwriting the live content.