What is a sandbox?

You may or may not have heard of the term “sandbox” when it comes to web development. This sandbox, ironically, has nothing to do with cats or where they do their business.

Sandbox mode, as it is often called or sandboxing, is a testing environment which developers make use of when it comes to testing and simulating live production environments for various functionalities and API calls.

In other words, if we have developed certain sets of features and functionalities, for example allowing a user to make a payment on a website. We will develop the tech to integrate our website/web application with a third party payment gateway provider (for example Paypal).

While we are in the development and testing phase we don’t want to be processing actual payments and transferring funds, this is where the sandbox comes in.

We can set the environment to a “sandbox mode”, so that we can perform the entire testing process and mimic payments being made but without the actual money getting physically transferred.

Using a sandbox allows us to identify errors and items that need to be improved without having major repercussions. Imagine not having a sandbox and mistakenly paying a big amount of money in error or booking a 5-star hotel for a month, that would hurt.

Web developers will use and test their web apps in the sandbox environment until they are happy that their web application works 100% and achieves all the desired results.

Once the project is ready to go live the web application would then need to be integrated with the “live production environment” which is the real deal. This is normally done by changing a few authentication parameters and API endpoints that are exclusively set up for this live environment.


Sandboxes are fairly simple in concept but play a huge role in the life cycle of the development of websites and web applications. They allow for proper simulation of processes and provide a great environment to perform tests as if they were done in the live environment.

Sandboxes should be used at all costs and ensure the success of a project if used correctly.

Do you need a professional team to take care of your web development requirements? We’re always keen to roll up our proverbial sleeves and build whatever it is you require.

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Having been established in 2005, in Cape Town, South Africa, Elemental is primarily focused on providing web development services and digital marketing campaigns.