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I know this may have been asked before, but I didn't find an exact answer, so yeah ...

I have a wordpress installation in the main directory of my Webspace (hosted @ Strato) and I want to install a second wordpress installation in a subdirectory that is completely independent from the main Wordpress installation. I need this for testing purposes and about 20 people will have access to the dashboard of this second wordpress installation with admin privileges, so obviously I don't want them to be able to screw anything up in the main Wordpress installation.

So here's my plan:

  1. I set up a new MySQL database and upload the wordpress installation package to a subdirectory like example.org/test-sandbox/
  2. I enter this directory in my browser to install wordpress normally, using the newly created database.
  3. I create a new FTP-access that can only access the subdirectory so that I can give out that FTP access without having to worry about my main Wordpress installation.

Then I should have a second wordpress installation up and running, that can be accessed and played around with using the subdirectory, without any connection to the main Wordpress blog.

Will this work as intended? And if so, three additional questions:

  1. Are there any things I have to do to make sure my main Wordpress installation is completely safe? Or any potential error sources I should be aware of?
  2. Will the second Wordpress installation be gone for good once I delete the subfolder and the MySQL database?
  3. I don't want any pages, posts ot anything from the second Wordpress installation to show up on google and the like. Is there a way to mark the entire site as noindex, nofollow?

Sorry for the exhaustive question, any help is appreciated!

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Since your questions are quite vast and not completely WordPress related, I will stick to your main question.

The answer is: Yes. As long as you have it in different directories and don't use the same prefix for their database tables or have a separate database for each (which means you can stuff more than one WP installation into one database with ease) you should be good to go.

As with either your main or your second WordPress installation, once you delete all folders/files and the database tables, your WordPress is being wiped, no matter what directory it is in.

I have a testing server with about 6-8 different WordPress instances, each for a different project with different plugins, themes, settings etc., all connected to one database. Only problem I ever had was with one installation using WPML and having messed up permalinks of another site, so that's the only thing possibly interfering to my knowledge.

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