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Are there any other methods that people use? Ie using a subdomain or different port?
PS) Your test bed can be set on your local machine
PC or Linux machine
maybe i'll setup a new domain and do all the development there.
I will look first at my production settings to be sure that if I want to replicate the "live" settings then I will not have $cost install suprises
Now for those on a shared server many ISP won't let you know in depth about settings
so you will be better of setting a server on a local machine
duplicate set of code
I prefer not to have exact duplicate code. When a page gets modified, there is an extension added to the file name. When the page is uploaded, the original and the new page get renamed, until I know the new page is working/looking right. Then the original gets zapped. The original source is still intact, in case it's needed.
file.html - Original
file_A1.html - First modification
This manual process works for my small site and a few hundred pages.