My PC-based development system comprises mySQL, Apache, PHP and Microsoft Expression Web. It is perfectly fine for most purposes.

But sometimes I need a testing environment which is more realistic - something which is actually on the www but not publicly visible.

I was thinking of creating a subdomain such as sandbox.mylivedomain.co.uk, and using htaccess to restrict access to the sandbox to my personal static IP address.

Is this the best way of configuring a test environment? Will htaccess prevent search engines from crawling my sandbox? Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.