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Shadows are an unique feature in Seravo that provides you with non-public instances of your website.

They are most commonly used as Staging and Development instances.

Getting a Shadow

Email us at and ask us for a Staging instance. You will have one opened for you in no time.

In later revisions of this feature, you will be able to create on-demand shadows via the WordPress admin dashboard and the Seravo plugin.

Using a Shadow

The Seravo Plugin

The Instance Switcher module in the Seravo plugin adds a simple interface to your WP-admin view, that allows you to easily switch between your Shadow and Production instances.

Screenshot from the Seravo plugin


You can SSH into your shadows and work on them via SSH/SFTP or git. When a new shadow is created for you, you will receive the SSH/SFTP credentials to use it.

Your WordPress login will remain unchanged, since the site is a copy of your production site when first created.

You can tell that you’re in a shadow by looking at the WP_ENV environment variable. If you’re in a shadow, it will be either staging or development, depending on what’s applicable in your situation. Your production instance will have a WP_ENV value of production.

mysite_1a2b3c$ wp-list-env
WP_ENV: staging

How does it work?

Under the hood, shadows work exactly the same as your production instance does. The only difference being they have no public domain mapped to them.

Shadows have their own full Linux environment and their own database, completely separate from your production instance. You can SSH and work on your shadow instances in the same way you can to your production instance.

To view your shadow in the browser, a special cookie called wpp_shadow must be set.

The value of the wpp_shadow cookie determines which shadow instance will be served to your browser.


mysite_123abc (production)
mysite_1a2b3c (staging)

Setting a cookie wpp_shadow=1a2b3c;path=/ will return the staging instance to your browser.

The Seravo plugin handles these cookies easily for you.

You can also use GET parameters to set these cookies as described below.

You can set the Shadow cookie easily via a GET parameter in the url. Example:

The link above would set the cookie wpp_shadow=1a2b3c;path=/ in your current browser session.

Curl to shadow

With curl you can fetch a file from the shadow in the following way:

curl -iLs"