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Platform 5 Development - hostfile, testlink or dev.site.com

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We're starting to work on developing Platform 5 Wordpress sites for small businesses most of which have an existing website running on their domain.  Our usual approach with larger clients has been to use a hostfile however many of our small clients have difficulty making this change back and for to see the site in progress and return to their regular site.

We're looking for some recommendations on how you're addressing this.  We thought of the following types of possible solutions

  1. Use Webex to share the site in development with clients - it works but creates overhead with many scheduled meetings and clients like to see the site "on their own."
  2. Use a hosting provider with a "test link."  Our sites are hosting on Rackspace Managed Cloud Servers and we've been looking at LiquidWeb CloudSites that have a test link to view the site.  Not sure if developing a site using the test link will cause url issues though.
  3. A hosted desktop - something like Amazon Workspace where we edit the host file and give customers access to these desktops so they don't have to make the host changes on their computer - it's done on the hosted desktop.

Looking for some advice on this - I'm always a fan of changing host files but I can see this as a problem for non-tech clients.

Thank you - Chules

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