Jira Sandbox and Test Environment Options

It’s shocking, but many organizations don’t have a test environment! I didn’t have one when I first started out either. But I quickly saw how important it was to be able to experiment and learn without impacting production data. You need a place to see how your changes work with real-life scenarios. Here are some options, depending on whether you have Jira Cloud, Jira Server, or Jira Data Center.


Options for Jira Cloud

Here are some test environment options for Cloud customers using the Atlassian hosted environment.


In Cloud, visit: admin.atlassian.com > Products > Sandbox

There’s a sandbox option built into all Premium and Enterprise plans. This is an isolated environment where you can test and experiment without impacting production. The application has the same user limit as the production application it’s linked to. The sandbox application will has its own URL which is similar to the production URL.

Read more: https://support.atlassian.com/organization-administration/docs/manage-product-sandboxes

Dev Instance

If you’re an Atlassian Marketplace developer, you can sign up for a free development instance. Developer assets are subject to the Atlassian Developer Terms, which are additional to the regular terms of service. This licenses comes with a limited number of users for test purposes. For example, you can only have 1 JSM agent user and 5 Jira Software users.

Read more: https://developer.atlassian.com/platform/marketplace/getting-started

Free Version

There’s also a free version of Cloud. It’s like the paid version, except it includes less features. For example, it doesn’t include project or issue permissions. It won’t help you test those areas. That’s why I prefer the previous ideas.

Read more: https://www.atlassian.com/software/free

Other Ideas

Another option is to get a second application instance and pay for just a few users.

You can also start a new free trial. This might be helpful if you’re testing the features of a different Cloud plan and don’t wish to upgrade or downgrade production.

Finally, if you have no better option, create a test project in your production application.

Options for Jira Server

Atlassian stopped selling new licenses of Server products in February 2021 and support ended in February 2024. But I know some of you are still using Server right now and for a variety of reasons, will continue to use it for some time.

Luckily, the installation process for Server is the same as Data Center. The difference is licensing and of course, Data Center has additional features for enterprise environments. If you still have a working server license, simply follow the instructions in my “How to Install Jira on Windows” article.

Options for Jira Data Center

Here are some test environment options for Data Center customers hosting their own software:

Per Atlassian: “Atlassian supplies “developer” licenses that can be used by existing commercial license holders who wish to deploy non-production installations of our software to use in QA/staging environments.

Read more: https://confluence.atlassian.com/jirakb/get-a-developer-license-for-jira-server-744526918.html


There’s also a 30-day free trial available. Visit my.atlassian.com and click the “New Trial License” link.

If you have no better option, create a test project in prod.

Regardless of the method you choose, make sure you have a place to test your changes before you unleash them on your users! 

Always make sure your test environment settings match your production environment as much as possible. Don’t forget to include any reverse proxies, SSL, or load balancer settings.

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