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I'm overhauling my (very basic) server setup and I've recently set up a staging server and am also upgrading my live server to a new server with better spec, failover sas drive etc. One thing bothering me is the fact that my staging server isn't go to exactly mirror my live server. Although both will be running CentOS 6.2, my live server will be setup using cPanel and will have LAMP setup with cPanel EasyApache. The reason for this is that it's a managed server and the support service is only available if i use cPanel (also, this is what my current live server has too, and apparently it's easier to migrate data this way). This is fine, but I've set up my staging server with rackspace and installed LAMP from the command line (using yum). PHP is running in CLI mode.

I am wondering if this is an issue? I've read that the staging server should mirror the live server but in my case, I'm not sure I can achieve this completely. For example, if my live server uses user accounts per domain/site, e.g webuser1, and runs as this user, with web root at /home/webuser1/public_html - should i exactly mimic this on staging? At the moment, my staging server is not using diff user accounts per site, but simply /var/www/html/sitename.com

I should also add that I am using Capistrano to deploy sites to staging and live servers, and I use a different ruby script for each, so I can currently handle the differences between them.

Grateful for any advice on this. Apologies for the ramble!

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If you are using cpanel on the live site, I would suggest you to mirror that in your staging server and have cpanel installed there as well. It's bit of an extra cost, but mirroring as close as possible is of high importance if you'd like to see less likely chances of seeing problems after releasing to live. If the differences were minor, it is acceptable but cpanel is very expansive in what it changes and how it changes. This doesn't mean if you don't replicate, it's guaranteed to break when copying over, just that it carries a higher likelihood something somewhere may go wrong due to different server interpretations, versions or setups.

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