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How would one set up a sandbox environment for testing structure, theme, new zones, etc?

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#68829 (In Topic #14609)

Fan in action

At this point it doesn't matter because I'm creating a new site with no traffic. But assuming I'm successful in developing a community, I'd like to start basic and add features as the community grows. How do you recommend I test those out before deploying to the production site?
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Permissions and the Validation setting on content items.
And/or setting up a second site. Themes can be copied across between sites just as files, content is a bit trickier but a lot less time to copy than to create so not really an issue. There is a staging tool for developers, but it is a bit complex.

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