Installing on a Staging, Dev or Localhost Site

Testing Contextly on a staging, dev or localhost site will let you see how the system works and let you tweak the look and feel.

It's not a place to test the quality of our recommendations. Our recommendation quality requires a comprehensive knowledge of your site and data about how readers interact with the site, which isn't possible on most dev/staging sites.

If you want to see some live examples:

Why this is hard:

Contextly learns about new content via the headers of a published blog post and via a sitemap crawl, but if this is on localhost, dev or a password-protected server, we can't learn the content. In this case, you'll have to help us "fake it"

There are 2 methods to trying out Contextly:

1) THE BEST METHOD: Install Contextly on the live production server, but turn off the displays. This will let us learn the content. Then at a time when things are not busy on the site, you can turn on the displays, and see actual real results.

Once you have installed Contextly, you can go to the control panel, look for Module tab, and unclick the Related and Explore sections. This will turn off the display, but allow Contextly to start collecting story information.

2) Install Contextly on a staging/localhost server and "fake" it to get the look and feel. This will *NOT* show off the power of our recommendation system. Then when you are ready to go live, install on the production server and get a *new* API key.

How to test the look and feel on staging/dev:

IMPORTANT CAVEAT: You can only test Contextly on staging/dev sites that quickly reject public connections. If your dev site responds to public requests by timing out, Contextly CAN'T be tested on that site. Our code will simply time out.

A) Add live RSS feeds:

WordPress: Go to WP->Settings->Contextly->Big Settings Button

Non-WordPress: Log in to your control panel at

Under Settings, add in live RSS feeds for each Custom Content Type. For instance, you can use: or a live feed from your site.

B) Make the displays use the RSS feeds:

Under Display Modules -> Main Module

  1. Turn off the Explore Section.
  2. Turn on a Custom Section and assign it to one of the Custom Content feeds you entered in Step A.
  3. (Non-Wordpress sites that are not publicly accessible) Turn off the Related Section

C) (Wordpress Only) Change the default search site to a live site: In the same Control panel, look for the Search Site tab. Add a new search site to something live. This can be your site or something else, like Move this up in the list to be the default.

This will let you try the Add Related Posts Button, the Sidebar button and the Single link button.

The Related box will be EMPTY unless you choose posts to go in them. This is ONLY true on staging/dev sites. Live sites have algorithmic related.

D) To try the other modules such as the in-story AutoSidebars, assign their content type to one of the custom feeds.

IMPORTANT: Please be aware you need to use *SEPARATE* API keys for your test sites and your live site. Using the same API key can lead to unintended consequences, including staging content and urls being show to live readers.

You can get an API key for a live WordPress site simply by registering it by itself (e.g. install the plugin and go through the walkthrough). You will then need to copy the style changes you made in the test site's control panel to the live site's control panel. We do not charge for staging or dev sites.

Let us know if you have any questions by writing us at

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