How To Test Your WordPress Site for Functionality, Speed, and Security
All of our plans are hosted on the highest-end CPUs with global availability. Plus, you’ll get access to Kinsta’s Cloudflare-powered CDN, with servers located in over 275+ locations.
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) enables you to improve your loading times by serving your web pages via a server that is physically closer to your visitors. With all Kinsta plans, you get access to a Cloudflare-powered CDN.
Here, you can see a full list of all plugins on your site. If your plugins are secure, you’ll see a checkmark beside each of the plugin names. Otherwise, you’ll find some information listed in the Vulnerabilities column.
Speed and Security Are Best When You Pick the Right Hosting
At this point, you can initialize the testing environment locally by running the install script:
This script installs a copy of WordPress in the /tmp directory and in the WordPress unit testing tools.
Meaning the plugin or theme could be poorly coded or even contain malicious scripts or bugs that can break your site. On top of that, it’s important to keep all software on your site up-to-date since outdated software can be used as a backdoor for malicious actors to gain access.
For example, you might like to unit test a theme or plugin. To do this, you’ll need to install Git, SVN, PHP, and Apache. Plus, you’ll need to have your plugin ready.
Depending on your theme, you’ll see different panels. But, at the bottom of your page, you can click on the mobile or tablet icon to preview your site at the specified screen size.
In this way, you can test new design elements and ensure that your UI is working properly.
Once your test is complete, you’ll want to look at the requests that are loading from the Kinsta CDN (xxxxkinstacdn.com). For full details on this topic, check out our post on how to run a CDN test.
Additionally, you can access Google Chrome’s developer tools to see how your WordPress site appears on mobile devices. All you need to do is open a page on your site in Google Chrome.
At Kinsta, this is super easy to do. All you need to do is navigate to WordPress Sites and choose your website from the list. Then, make sure your website is set to Staging when you run the update.
Plugins can also pose a threat to your website’s security. That’s why it’s good practice to regularly assess your plugins’ security.
Now, let’s look at five ways to test the functionality of your WordPress website. One of the best parts about functionality testing is that you can do it directly within your local environment or using DevKinsta (unlike other types of testing that require your website to be live).
Visual Regression Testing (VRT) ensures that all of your design elements and layouts appear as they’re supposed to. For that reason, VRT is often implemented following website changes, like when you switch themes or update a plugin.
To fix this, you’ll need to run your site through the Pingdom test a few more times. This should lead to the x-kinsta-cache and x-cache headers to register a HIT. Now, you scan the results, looking at the large yellow bar that indicates wait time or Time to First Byte (TTFB).
When you find a new theme that you want to install, the best thing to do is to activate the theme in a local development environment or on your staging site. The same goes for when an existing theme on your site releases an update.
While WordPress is a secure platform, it isn’t immune to cyber attacks. Therefore, it’s important to regularly assess the security of your core software.
Keep in mind, it can take up to fifteen minutes to generate your staging site for the first time. Then, it will exist as a subdomain of your primary domain (both use the same server).
Now that you know why it’s important to safely test WordPress, let’s take a look at some of the most common approaches.
Functionality testing. This enables you to gain a thorough understanding of the user’s journey on your site. For example, you can check that forms, buttons, and checkout pages are all working properly.
Performance and speed testing. Ensuring that your website delivers fast loading times can improve the UX, help Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and increase your Core Web Vitals scores.
Security testing. This involves analyzing the security mechanisms on your site, such as SSL certificates, HTTPS, web application firewalls, and more. It helps you protect sensitive data, prevent malicious attacks, and detect WordPress vulnerabilities.
The easiest way to identify slow queries and scripts is to enable Kinsta APM. If you’re a Kinsta customer, you can access the tool free of charge. However, you’ll need to enable it from your MyKinsta dashboard.
There are times when you’ll want to complete certain tasks without interfering with your live website. For instance, you may need to make sure you can update a theme safely or experiment with new design elements. However, performing these actions in WordPress can disrupt the User Experience (UX) and even break your site.
This way, you can find out more information about the sample, trace timeline, span details, and stack trace.
That’s why it can be a good idea to test your WordPress website in complete privacy. To do this, you can set up a staging site or create a local environment. Then, you’re able to run speed, functionality, and security tests before applying the changes to your live site.
Next, open your local site in a fresh browser to view your new menu on the front end:
Unit testing involves testing the smallest unit of an application in isolation. It might be a function, property, or method. These units are then analyzed for proper operation to ensure that the application behaves as expected.
You can access your staging site by logging into your MyKinsta dashboard. Simply select your website from the list. Then, at the top of the screen, use the dropdown to change Live to Staging:
At Kinsta, you get access to server-level caching that’s automatically enabled on all live websites. But if you’re using a staging environment, you’ll need to enable cache manually.
The next step is to run the plugin tests using the phpunit. For full instructions, check out this guide on unit testing.
Right now, we have the Twenty Twenty theme activated on our local site. As you can see, the homepage displays all buttons, text, and images aligned centrally:
By setting up a local environment for your test, you’re able to pick up on visual abnormalities like this one.
How To Test the Speed of Your WordPress Site (6 Considerations)
Enter your URL into the URL box on Pingdom and select a location. Now, under Response Headers, locate x-kinsta-cache. If this reads MISS, then your site is not loading from the cache.
For those that are concerned about web security, Kinsta offers tons of features to tighten up your site. You can expect daily backups, malware scanning, DDoS protection, and firewalls. Plus, we provide secure-login SSH access, and you can install a free SSL certificate in just one click.
To install a WordPress testing environment locally, you’ll need to get an AMP stack set for your computer. This software (Apache, MySQL, and PHP) is used to mimic your live WordPress website.
Click on it, and your screen will instantly adapt:
However, it never hurts to have a little extra assurance. One of the easiest ways to ensure your site runs smoothly at all times is to opt for a high-quality web host like Kinsta. Check out our plans to get started!