Automated Testing and Continuous Integration in WordPress Development

Are you looking to ensure smooth updates and manual deployments for your WordPress website? The power of Continuous Integration and Deployment (CI/CD) can help.

Automating software development through a process guarantees stability and saves time. But what is it, and how can it be implemented in WordPress?

Automated testing and continuous integration (CI) in WordPress is a way to handle software development automatically in two steps.

Automated testing within WordPress, including on Managed WordPress Hosting platforms, involves using tools and processes that automatically test code changes made to WordPress themes, plugins, or core files. Continuous integration automatically adds new code to a WordPress project. 

Why Shift from Manual to Automated Testing?

Manual testing is time-consuming and often demands many resources, particularly in repetitive scenarios.

What Benefits Does Automated Testing Offer?

Maximized Efficiency

Automated testing is much quicker and easier than manual testing. It lets us run tests fast, saving time and work.

Easily Included In The Development Process

Automated tests seamlessly fit into the development pipeline, instantly catching and fixing bugs. This is particularly advantageous in dynamic and DevOps environments where frequent updates are standard practice.

Continuous Integration & Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) are essential for dynamic teams, and automated testing fits with this approach, ensuring stable and reliable releases.

Key Tools For Automated Testing in WordPress

Automated testing within WordPress is crucial for maintaining code quality and reliability. Several tools exist to streamline this procedure.

1. PHPUnit

PHPUnit is the primary tool the WordPress core development team recommends for testing PHP code. It’s a powerful tool that helps make sure WordPress plugins and themes work well and are dependable.

To Set Up Phpunit, You Need To Follow A Few Steps:

  1. Checking the test repository: Use Git or SVN to clone the WordPress test repository.
  2. Configuring the testing environment: There are different ways to prepare your testing environment, and your chosen method will determine how you set it up.
  3. Running tests: Once everything is set up, you can use commands tailored to your workflow to run the tests. The results of these tests show which tests passed and which failed, making it easier to find and fix any issues.

PHP Unit enables thorough testing, catching problems early in development, and improving software quality. It’s crucial for repetitive tests, minimizing human errors, and providing simple, robust reporting features.


WP-CLI, the official command-line tool for WordPress, makes it easier to set up and handle PHPUnit tests. Essential steps for using WP-CLI include:

  1. Installation: You can easily install WP-CLI to your system with simple command-line steps.
  2. Getting plugin unit tests ready: The wp scaffold plugin-tests command is essential in WP-CLI. It creates all the files you need to test a plugin, like a sample test file and setup files for PHPUnit.
  3. Database setup for testing: WP-CLI also helps create a separate test database, which is essential for isolating tests. The script makes this process automatic.
  4. Creating and running tests: After everything is ready, you can write and run tests for your plugin with the phpunit command. WP-CLI makes this whole process easier, saving time and effort.

3. Cypress

Cypress is a new, complete end-to-end testing tool made for websites, which can be great for WordPress sites. It’s free and runs right in web browsers, making testing easier.

Cypress’s testing style is very hands-on and easy to see, making writing, fixing, and understanding tests more straightforward. It’s perfect for creating tests that act like real users on your WordPress site.

What is Continuous Integration and Deployment?

Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) simplify your development process, enhance code quality, and accelerate user value delivery. While CI aims to guarantee code stability, CD prioritizes swift deployment.

Continuous Integration (CI) Continuous Deployment (CD)
Focus Prioritizing code quality and stability Fast delivery of new features
Risk Lower risk of regressions due to early testing There is a higher risk of issues in production if deployments are not well-tested
Frequency Frequent merges and tests Continuous or frequent deployments
Automation Employing automated testing and builds Automated deployments

Why Should You Use CI/CD in WordPress Development?

Many WordPress web developers and agencies rely on various apps and tools to implement continuous integration and deployment techniques in their projects.

WordPress developers can get the top advantages of using CI/CD workflow.

Making Work Easier

Usually, work in WordPress starts by putting code into a development area to test it. If the code passes all the tests based on WordPress rules, the next step is to save it and put it into the main storage area, then move it to the live production environment.

Using the CI/CD pipeline, you can make these tasks automatic when you do a Git push. This helps save both money and time, letting you concentrate on building other aspects of your WordPress project.

Catch Bugs Sooner

Every code change in an app needs to pass through WordPress unit tests. Automating tests on staging sites helps find and fix bugs early, ensuring better quality.

This method makes it simpler to finish your WordPress projects on schedule and up to the best quality.

How to Start Using WordPress CI/CD

In the following section, you’ll learn how to establish a CI/CD pipeline using Branch, a specialized integration and deployment tool designed specifically for WordPress projects.

1. Sign up for Branch

Before initiating the WordPress development workflow, it’s essential to set up a Git repository. This provides a development environment with a version control system, enabling feature development, bug fixes, and change tracking without impacting the primary development process.

Git branching creates branches from a main branch to develop and test various features.

Registering for a Branch requires a GitHub, Bitbucket, or GitLab account. In this tutorial, we will opt for GitHub.

Once you’ve selected a Git repository hosting service, configure an SSH key to grant Branch permission to access your WordPress hosting platform.

2. Set Up Your CI/CD Workflow

Setting up a CI/CD pipeline with your Branch account in place is time. Follow the steps outlined below to proceed:

Step 1: Create or select a repository, and choose a project

The first step in constructing a CI pipeline with GitHub Actions involves creating or selecting a repository on GitHub. You can utilize an existing project code base or begin from scratch.

Step 2: Access GitHub Actions in your repository to start building your CI/CD workflow

To initiate the construction of your CI/CD pipeline, navigate to the GitHub Actions tab in your repository’s top navigation bar.

There, you’ll find a selection of CI/CD and workflow automation templates tailored to the technology utilized in your project.

Step 3: Execute your build

You can insert a trigger into the WordPress project’s configuration file to manually initiate a build or to configure a branch to start a building automatically after each commit.


The CI/CD workflow is crucial for numerous software development projects. It automates the integration and deployment of code into an existing project, making the entire workflow smoother without relying on a specific person to deploy the code.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is WP-CLI compatible with CI/CD?

Yes, WP-CLI is compatible with CI/CD. It facilitates continuous integration for WordPress deployment using the scaffold command, enabling automation tasks such as WordPress installation and theme/plugin testing.

2. Does Bitbucket serve as a CI/CD tool?

Yes, Bitbucket provides a CI/CD service known as Bitbucket Pipelines. As noted previously, Bitbucket is among the top three widely used Git repositories that support branch integration.

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