Premium Development Subdomains

New Feature: Premium Development Subdomains

For our premium customers using staging, development, or test subdomains for managing their site’s updates and development, we are happy to announce the ability to utilize premium licenses across subdomains for a premium installation of Wordfence.

Premium Development Subdomains

How it Works

When developing and testing a new WordPress website, many people will create a test or staging installation of WordPress. The goal is to ensure that the testing or staging environment has the same code base that the production or live site will be using. If new plugin or theme changes need to be deployed, testing to ensure there are no conflicts in a test environment ensures that the production site is never negatively affected.

Thanks to your feedback, we’ve made it possible for Wordfence premium license keys to be reused across these environments. You will be able to apply your premium license key to a number of common testing subdomains in addition to your production domain.

We are initially opening up this capability to the following common subdomains:


Allowing for premium license keys to be utilized on these subdomains will help you implement:

Better Testing Environments

The goal of any test environment is to ensure that it closely matches the production environment, allowing you to test changes without impacting your production website. When testing new features and capabilities for a site in development, it will make it easier to ensure that the premium features unlocked on your production sites are also applied in development. If you’re using country blocking for your production site, for example, replicating that exact configuration in your testing environments ensures you can isolate issues and fix them more rapidly.

Better Security

While your primary site may be the ultimate prize, staging, demonstration, or development environments are often targeted, too. Intruders may be looking for similar credentials or data in staging or development environments that might allow them to attack your primary site. Ensuring that all of your environments are well protected and maintained is an important part of any security strategy. For example, using two-factor authentication in a staging environment is often just as important as using it in production. Wordfence Premium can now help you meet that need.

Easier Launches

If you’ve purchased a license for, it will work on any of the above subdomains associated with the primary root domain. When launching a new site from a development or staging environment, you won’t have to downgrade or upgrade Wordfence Premium. Wordfence will recognize the relationship between your different environments for your root domains, making deploying and testing changes much easier.

Managing Your WordPress Sites

Managing a large installation base of WordPress sites has its own set of challenges. Depending on the number of sites you have, it can be a full time job just to maintain your sites and keep them secure. We’re looking to make that job easier for you, your customers and other stakeholders.

Do you manage a large number of sites and would like a consultation on your organization’s specific needs? We’d love to hear from you. Please complete the form below and we’ll be in touch.

This is the first of many new features we’re working on to make it easier for our more advanced customers to manage Wordfence. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements in the months to come. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Did you enjoy this post? Share it!


  • Hi,

    What about if you have another WP install in a subdirectory of the main website, e.g.:
    - eCommerce WP theme in and
    - Blog WP theme in


    • The subdomain feature for premium is intended to help in the securing of development and staging environments, not a separate public installation. The WordPress installation under /blog/ (or any other subdirectory) would be treated as a separate installation. The Wordfence scanner will still scan the subdirectory for hidden malware (unless you tell the scanner otherwise). But you'd be missing out on a number of features. Wordfence wouldn't be able to tell you about outdated or abandoned plugins, for example. We recommend that each installation of WordPress have its own installation of Wordfence and the Wordfence firewall, so that it can respond to the unique profile of that particular WordPress configuration. And that WordPress installation would require its own Wordfence premium license key. Thanks for inquiring, Peter!

  • Wow, that's great news - thanks so much! Until now I've had to use the free version of Wordfence on my staging server, which was quite a nuisance. This will be a big benefit for us!

  • Hmmmm.... my staging site uses the subdomain staging18 , adding a wildcard would be great

    • Stay tuned! Additional staging configurations are coming soon.

  • Any chance you can add mo. (an old term for model office). Have been using two licenses for a long time and this would be a nice addition.

    • Hi Norm! We'll be adding additional subdomain capabilities very soon.

  • Worth a try Peter :) That would have been to good to be true though. I Have one top level site, and four other sites in sub directories. That woud one licence for 5 production sites.

    • Hi Charlie, this feature is intended to help secure one site per premium license key. As one site often has staging, development, and test environments, we're aiming to secure one distinct site per license no matter what stage of development it is in. Hope that clarifies.

  • so I'm using GoDaddy for my managed wordpress hosting, and they provide a staging site, only it's not compliant with your definition of subdomains of GoDaddy assigned the staging site the domain name:
    Could I use the WF license key from my production website on the staging site?

    • Hi Ann, we're rolling out this feature slowly, and we chose the initial subdomains based on the highest number of staging and development environments being used. We'll be able to support custom staging configurations soon.

  • we also use devel.* frequently, moreso than dev.* for our staging environments. please consider including that in your list.

    • Thanks, Scott! We'll notify when additional subdomains are available.

  • When we install Wordfence in a development site we have to deactivate it, delete it and delete the ini file before we migrate it to the main site, otherwise it breaks the whole install (blank page, database error). It sounds like it's a "premium" option to solve the problem with Wordfence?

    • Whenever you migrate a site, you'll need to remove extended protection and re-enable in its new location. Here's a help document that describes the process.

  • This is great news. Any prerequisites to getting this to work on a staging site other than the sub-domain requirement, ie do I need to reset the existing key? I tried my premium key and I receive the usual error about the key already being in use...

    • We will have additional subdomains available very soon. We'll keep you posted!

  • It would be good if there was a way to use this on sub directories too.

    My Wordpress site is:

    ... and my development testing site copies are:

    Thanks for your consideration, cheers, Ian

    • Hi Ian, thanks for sharing your configuration. We'll let you know when custom configurations are available.

  • Awww... our site,, uses for staging:

  • Great feature... thanks.

    +1 for Frank's suggestion to add wildcard rule for staging sites like staging* Generally, when there are many staging sites, they are numbered like,, etc. - at least as per our experience on SiteGround Hosting.

  • That's awesome. Our dev site is It's good to know that you will be adding more options.

    • You can thank Kathy. She's been working closely with our larger customers to understand how we can do a better job and this is one of the things that came out of those conversations. More to come...

  • Like others, my staging site doesn't match your included domains. FWIW, mine is Glad you'll be adding more ways to configure this in the future.

  • I'm glad to see you are allowing the premium license to extend to development and staging environments, but like everyone else here my setup doesn't fit your criteria.

    We use the following format...

    These are technically different websites and installations, even though they are all duplicates of the production environment.

    I think you need to create a much more flexible way for this to work. You can't anticipate how everyone will setup and name these environments. You may want to look into how this is managed by plugins like WP Migrate DB Pro (by Delicious Brains). They have a very flexible system to extend licenses to development and staging environments. I don't recall exactly how it works, but it is flexible and automatic.

    With that said, I welcome this ability when I can actually use it...

    • We'll have the feature ready to accommodate your unique staging environment very soon!

  • This is a great idea - unfortunately when we create a staging site on GoDaddy we are unable to change the domain until we go live with it so we're stuck with domain names like and the license becomes invalid even though the one is a staging site of the other

    • Hi Pieter! We'll have the custom subdomain premium set up ready very soon.