What is a Deployment Environment?
Cloud Industry  / Developer Topics

What is a Deployment Environment? What You Need to Know

Take a look at the backbone of software development. From initial testing to final release, learn about the critical role of deployment environments in ensuring smooth and successful deployments. Gain insight into the different types and their essential contribution to the development process.

Lois Neville A photo of Lois Neville, a writer and SEO expert

Lois Neville


Getting your digital program to run smoothly for end-users - your customers and clients - is a crucial step in the software development process. Without knowing how it would work once it was made live, all sorts of problems could come up. And that could lead to a lot of headaches, plus a lot of extra costs and resource power! This is where development environments come in very useful to software development projects.

Deployment environment’ is a specific type of technical terminology, and a term you might have often seen used if you’ve been around development teams. However, unless you are a developer or seasoned in this industry, you might not be 100% sure what it actually means. In this article, we’ll be going through exactly what a deployment environment is, what they are used for, and some common types of deployment environments that you might come across.

Deployment Environment Definition

Deployment environments are used throughout multiple stages of the software development process, right from the beginning through to the end. Before you let your application loose (aka setting it ‘live’), it’s important to check that it actually works! Hence the deployment environment. These are different types of ‘spaces’ created to test how applications run, and see how their code shapes up. Deployment environments are created using specific configurations and settings that replicate different types of scenarios that your application might have to operate in. They also include the foundations of what is needed to run your application.

What is the Purpose of a Deployment Environment?

Deployment environments are designed to ‘test’ an application before its final release and to make sure it is fit for purpose. They recreate all sorts of environments, from testing initial code as an application is being written, to the ‘final’ environment so an application can be put through its paces. These can be used to see if there are any issues or problems that might not have previously been picked up on. Sometimes you need to see how something works before you’re able to see what needs to be tweaked or fixed. Imagine releasing an application without doing any testing at all - who knows what chaos that could cause!

Because different types of deployment environments can be set up and used, there is no single ‘type’ of deployment environment. Rather, this term can be used as an umbrella term for different types of deployment environments. We will explore some of the most common types of these next.

What are Common Deployment Environments?

As mentioned above, there are different types of deployment environments that are used for different purposes. Here are some of the most common ones that you might come across in application development:

Development Environment

A development environment is where developers write and test code for an application. The name does give it away! These are often used at the start of an application’s development cycle. The environment itself may not mirror the final production environment like other types of development environments do. Rather it is more flexible and less rigid. This allows for experimentation and debugging. Think of it as a space to build and test, rather than just to test.

Production Environment

A production environment is a live environment where the application is accessed by those all-important end-users. This is the ‘space’ that an application goes live in after it has been developed, tested, and staged (we’ll get onto what this is in a minute). The most important elements of a production environment is that it is stable, secure, and optimized for performance. After all, you want your application to run as effectively as it can.

Staging Environment

A staging environment is a copy of the production environment that we explored above, aka the final environment which the application goes live in. A staging environment is used for final testing before an application is deployed. So why use a staging environment? It helps catch issues that may only be found in an environment that is basically the same as the production environment. You’ll want to catch any of these before your application goes live, so you don’t want to skip the staging environment stage!

What is the Difference Between a Staging Environment and Deployment Environment?

It’s easy to get a little confused by all environment terminology - they all sound quite similar, but have very specific roles. With this in mind, remember -  ‘deployment environment’ is a catch-all, umbrella term. Any other environments, including staging, are specific types of deployment environments. So as you can see, asking the difference between a staging and deployment environment is a bit like asking the difference between a computer and a laptop!


Deployment environments are a necessary tool used to test how applications work in different types of conditions, as well as the environments that are set live in. Without building and testing programs in these spaces, issues can go undetected and potentially cause all sorts of chaos! There are different types of deployment environments used for different purposes, which are all an integral part of the software development process.

Learning about application or cloud development? We have a whole series of articles on our blog and cloud computing glossary breaking down common concepts in a straightforward, accessible way. Check out our beginner’s guide to documentation, what is cloud security and what is a service level agreement as starting points.

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