Don’t worry, there’s nothing unethical going on. I’ve been preparing the ground to do some work on the St Clement’s church website and the first thing I needed to do was to get a working duplicate to perform my manipulations without affecting the live pages.
The first step was to sort out an available web server to host the development copy. I’ve got root access on a Linode server where I run (or, to be honest, currently neglect) my ukulele project, 52 Things. Theoretically that was straightforward although in practise it took a bit longer than I’d hoped. The answer was where I expected, in Apache’s list of site-available, but I had previously only had one site running on the machine so it took a few goes before I decided to simplify the configuration files I had been using and got multiple sites running as intended. Piling changes on cruft is always a shaky proposition while back to testable basics provides a solid foundation.
The second part was to get the files and database installed. I was working on the files manually and then spotted that, some time ago, I’d set up a Git link. That meant I could edit files locally and then push them across to the server. Getting the database sorted took a bit more work and, again, I ended up going back to a clean slate. I already had an old copy of the WordPress database installed so I dropped all the tables, let WordPress recreate an empty site and then overlaid the tables I had extracted from the live version with the handy Migrate DB plugin.
Job done… or at least ground prepared to start the actual work.