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Test / Dev site capability for cloud based communities

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Having a separate test/dev site separate from your "production" environment is pretty much standard practice. Yet for cloud accounts that has presented a problem ... unless we've missed something that is available.

Since transitioning to Invision cloud , in addition to our main site, we have paid for the smallest legacy cloud account as a test/dev site.  Its closed to guests , and can only be accessed by accounts that are created by our Admin.  We prototyped our site there prior to our actual migration from our previous vendor and have maintained it since. 

This second site was/is invaluable in preventing  issues  ... particularly in one of the major upgrades  (4.5 ??)  which changed how the default theme handled the header space and made some 3rd party themes as well as some apps unusable.  We were able to find out what issues specifically affected our site.  And it was huge.  If we had just applied it to production, it would have been a disaster.

Same with the initial roll-out implementation of lazy loading .  We had images imbedded in the Forum descriptions which caused issues which we caught on our test/dev site.  Invision support recognized the problem as somewhat unique to us at that time.

I could go on, but the value that a test/site provides is obvious.  Even for small, non commercial sites like ours.

However now that option is going to cost more since Invision is closing out the legacy options with new, more expensive offerings.  The increase in cost and "functionality" does not, for us, create any new value.  Particularly since our use case for the account has an infinitesimal impact on the Invision host environment. 

There should be a fixed, low cost method of providing an option for managers/developers of cloud accounts where than can duplicate their unique production environment for the purposes of testing new apps/upgrades etc.

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18 hours ago, Mark H said:

You would need to purchase a self-hosted license in order to have access to the software files.

@Mark H, it means there is no way for IPS Cloud customers to test any functionality for guests. Right? Putting the community offline, means there is no access of guests. Testing functionality for guests works only in live production. Like open-heart surgery. 😨



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@Mark H  So, the issue here is a 63% increase in cost ($30 to $49) for no additional value given our use case.  

Is there no chance then that Invision might at least entertain  a unique cost option with unique restrictions that would insure minimal impact to the cloud environment ... you can see our minimal usage at https://sportbmw.ipbhost.com/


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2 hours ago, Larry Kachadorian said:

… for no additional value given our use case.  

It’s even worse because you also loose functionality. The new entry plan doesn’t allow custom/external apps and plugins anymore, so if you have just a single one, apparently you would need to go from the $30 plan to the $129 plan. That’s a price increase of over 400 % just to keep the site working as it was. 

And to top it off, they even make you pay an “upgrade fee” as if we would want to upgrade. If anything, I would expect a discount for the existing licenses. 

Edited by opentype
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14 hours ago, opentype said:

It’s even worse because you also loose functionality. 

We'd have to work around the custom issue 'cause $129 is a non - starter.

However the main issue for us is unless we want to keep test/dev by paying more  its almost as if we end up "frozen" in the last configuration for several iterations until it becomes apparent via the forums that no issues exist. 

Because experience has shown that not all upgrades go smoothly and who wants their site to go down unexpectedly with no way to revert back.  I don't know for sure, but my suspicion is that even thought there are supposed to be back ups of cloud accounts , having Invision support actually restore from a backup given a bad upgrade would be problematic at best and impossible at worst ... and consequently a huge disservice to clients.

And even if restored, how do you explain to site members you're running a professional site with a professional vendor when things go suddenly wonky and then , hopefully, reappear ?

@Mark H  comments on backups and restore ?

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