Even if you do not consider yourself a tinkerer or an experimenter, a good practice when running a domain is to create an area of it as a “sandbox” to try different web applications or to experiment with other kinds of web tools.
A sandbox (Wikipedia definition) is the name used in software development for a place to try new code outside of where the public sees it.
One advantage of this is you can test features, plugins, themes, beta code in a place and not worry about breaking your more public facing sites. The web hosting platform provided by Reclaim Hosting (the providers of StateU.org) has a very useful feature that allows you to clone or something from your Sandbox to a different part of your domain (that’s covered in another kit).
Just as a real example, I run many WordPress development sites and other experimental things in my “lab”, such as:
- A media experimental for the Mozfest conference http://lab.cogdogblog.com/moz/photoshoot/
- A custom WordPress theme tested for a non-standard front page https://lab.cogdogblog.com/mystery/
- An experimental interface for interactive coloring of a web page https://lab.cogdogblog.com/cory/
- Another WordPress theme where I am trying to get audio recording features enabled https://lab.cogdogblog.com/splotbox/
- A tool for finding the RSS feed from a blog URL https://lab.cogdogblog.com/magicbox/
- A demonstration tool for finding the total number of posts from any WordPress site https://lab.cogdogblog.com/big/
This lends itself to my work because I develop and experiment with web sites. But it could also serve as a place for creating demonstration sites for other people to preview as you work on the content. In later kits, we will show you how to put an entire site or a subdirectory behind a password.
The ideal place for your web sandbox is a subdomain; refer back to the Creating Subdomains For Different Sites kit. The choice of subdomain is up to you; sandbox works or testing or dev (for development) or even lab for laboratory.
Then, you can install other web apps available from the Applications are of cpanel to run from a director inside of this subdomain. Or, you can upload web content into a subdirectory with the Cpanel File Manager as we did in the Adding a Self Contained Site with File Manager kit.
For example, in the
gadgets.stateu.org demo domain, we created a subdomain
sandbox.gadgets.stateu.org. Within this area, we installed a WordPress site (eduhack-demo), a DocuWiki (gadget-wiki), a sub-directory (codepens) for some sample web design code downloaded from CodePen, and another uploaded zip file into a subdirectory (jsrecorder) with all the code needed to test a web based audio recorder library:
A sandbox can be simply a place to try things out, and keep them in one place. Just remember when using the app installer, to select your sandbox subdomain, and create a name for a subdirectory where to place the software.
Example for "Building a Domain Sandbox":