When people mention the word “clone,” we think of some kind of lab-produced humanoid created with evil intent in mind. But cloning has been around for ages in the WordPress world and is used for less sinister purposes – a WordPress clone plugin allows you to create a complete replica of your website (minus the domain name).
Why Do I Need a Clone?
There are several times where you may need to create a clone of your website.
Mostly, people just want to update and refresh their site but are worried about making a total train wreck of it. Creating a clone will ensure a fully functional copy of the website is kept, unlike a regular backup which may only backup certain parts. That way, if your attempts at modernization go wrong, you still have your clone to fall back on.
Other possible scenarios where you might need to clone your site include:
- To create a copy of your website to use for another project
- Create a staging area to develop and test things such as plugins, themes, or modifications without risk of damage to your live site.
- You are a developer working on other people’s sites or want a developer to work on yours.
- To make a backup of your entire site and not just the databases.
- To migrate a site to a new domain or host
Is a Clone the Same as a Regular Backup?
Not really. A backup may only create copies of essential data such as the database or settings for backup and disaster recovery purposes. A clone, on the other hand, creates a complete copy of absolutely everything.
Can I Manually Duplicate my WordPress site?
It is possible to create a duplicate of your WordPress site manually. However, in all honesty, the process is highly time-consuming as it involves a ton of cutting and pasting. The risk with that is the likelihood of missing something is very high. However, using a WordPress clone plugin, the process can be fully automated, done very quickly, and with almost zero margins for error.
10 Best WordPress Clone Plugins
We’re sure your next question will be, “so, what plugins do you suggest for cloning my WordPress site?”. We have pre-empted that and suggest here ten of the best available this year.
UpdraftPlus is an incredibly popular plugin that gives you one-click backup and restoration to/from a cloud. You can also use it to create clones, although you will need to upgrade to the premium version to do that. Over three million active downloads exist, and a 4.8/5.0 star rating clearly shows that users love it.
The free version gives you the following functionality:
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- Backup directly into the cloud (Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 (or compatible), UpdraftVault, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, DreamObjects, Openstack Swift, and email)
- Translated into more than 16 languages
- Backup to remote storage
- Basic email reporting
- Scheduled backups
- Browse backup contents in WordPress
The premium version costs from €55 per year and provides you with these extra features:
- Clone websites, although the number of clones is limited depending on the subscription purchased.
- Backup into OneDrive, Azure, Google Cloud Storage, Backblaze B2, SFTP, SCP, and WebDAV.
- Inclusive free 1GB vault
- Incremental backups
- Backup extra databases and files
- Advanced reporting
- Automatic backup when updating WordPress, themes, or plugins
- Direct backups to multiple remote destinations
- Database encryption
- Ability to restore backups made by other plugins
- Run from WP-CLI
- Download individual files from a backup in WordPress
- Premium personal support
Premium subscriptions receive a discount of 40% upon renewal.
UpdraftPlus premium could be a good option for you as it is a reliable plugin with plenty of features. Just be aware that you will be restricted on the number of clones you can do, after which you will need to buy more ‘tokens.’
Free and paid Pro versions of Duplicator are available. The free one has the following features:
- Backup files and database
- File and database table filters
- Integrated migration wizard for easy operation
- Ability to overwrite the live site
Pro costs between $69 and $149 per year, while a lifetime license will cost you $549. These versions add some or all of the following additional features depending on the tier purchased:
- Drag and drop installations
- Scheduled backups, including hourly
- Cloud storage (Dropbox, Google Drive, FTP/SFTP, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon S3)
- Supports larger sites
- Managed hosting support
- Integrated installer with two modes (basic and advanced)
- Email alerts
- Custom search and replace
- Manual/quick transfers
- WP-Config extra control
- Migrate duplicator settings
- Migrate an entire multisite or install a multisite subsite as a new standalone
- Premium support
An incredible million active downloads of Duplicator exist so far, and it has attracted a very impressive 4.9/5.0 stars from users, so it will be a safe option.
All-In-One WP Migration
All-In-One WP Migration allows you to export your entire WordPress website without needing any technical skills whatsoever. What’s more, once you have created your clone, if desired, you can easily upload it to a different location using simple drag and drop.
This is a free plugin, although several premium extensions are available to increase functionality. The basic plugin gives you the following:
- Unlimited find and replace operations during the export process, including auto-fixing of serialization problems that may occur
- Mobile device compatible
- No limitations on host or operating system
- Bypass all upload size restrictions to overcome the limits set by some hosts
- It does not require any PHP extensions from WordPress v5.2 onwards
- Support for MYSQL and MYSQLI
- Instructional videos and support
- Many premium extensions are available to add WP-CLI integration, OneDrive, DropBox, Google Drive, etc.
The upside of having premium extensions is that you can pay only for the ones you need. The downside is that it could work out cheaper to purchase a different premium extension with all the bells and whistles.
A whopping three million downloads of this plugin are in operation, and the review score of 4.6/5.0 stars indicates users are generally delighted with it.
Migrate Guru is a completely free WordPress migration plugin. As its name implies, it is meant primarily for migrating WordPress websites to different locations. However, it also allows you to clone your site without the need for any additional plugins, addons, or extensions.
Speed and simplicity are the unique selling points of this plugin, which is a bit of an oxymoron given it is free. The developers claim that in just a couple of clicks, you can clone a 1GB site in less than thirty minutes. Impressive.
Despite being completely free, with Migrate Guru, you get:
- Fast, one-click migration/cloning
- No site overload or storage space needed to undertake migrations – the transfer is done using Migrate Guru’s servers
- Transfer websites up to 200 GB without issues caused by live-site server import limits.
- Multisite support
- Compatible with all web hosts globally
- Automatic search and replace
- Real-time and email alerts to inform you of migration status
With over 50,000 downloads in existence and an average user score of 4.9/5.0, this plugin could well be the one for you if you are looking for a great free option.
XCloner is an excellent, completely free WordPress plugin that allows you to create secure backups of your site easily. It will also allow you to migrate it or roll it back to previous backups.
Despite XCloner not costing a single cent, it comes bundled with the following features:
- Full and differential backups
- Automatic hourly/daily/weekly/monthly backups
- Restore backups to any compatible location
- Site sync, migration, and rollback
- Personalized data compression
- Save data to cloud storage such as FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3, Dropbox, Azure, BackBlaze, WebDAV, and Google Drive
- Flexible retention policies
- Military-grade, GDPR-compliant encryption
- Generate a backup of the core, plugins, themes, or languages files before they are automatically updated
- Fast CLI (command-line interface)
While XCloner is regularly updated, the current version is only tested to WordPress 5.5.5, so you may want to check with the developer if you use a later version. More than 30,000 downloads of the plugin are active. The average user rating is 4.2/5.0, but don’t be put off by that, as most of the low scores date back several years, and the issues which resulted in those have since been sorted.
The Clone plugin has been around for some time but fell by the wayside in more recent times and was not updated. However, since another developer, BackupBliss, took it over, it has been completely revamped, and now it is fully up-to-date.
As the name infers, this plugin allows you to clone, migrate, or backup your WordPress site:
- Easy operation without needing FTP access, source, or destination site – simply install a new WordPress on the destination site, install the Clone plugin, and follow the prompts
- Reduced upload time for migration and improved security due to WordPress system files not being backed up or restored. Instead, the plugin creates user content and database backups
- Easy migration – site backup is fetched via the host’s direct HTTP connection, so no need to upload large backup files
The plugin is limited to websites no greater than 2 GB. However, the developer will soon be launching a premium version which removes that limit. It will also add many extra features such as:
- Save backups on Google Drive, Dropbox, Google Cloud, etc.
- More zip options
- Browse through files to define which ones should be included/excluded
- Smart exclusion rules, like exclude all spam comments
- Encrypt and password-protect backups
- Additional backup creation triggers.
The premium plugin is available for pre-purchase at the discounted price of $19.98 for non-commercial sites and $29.98 for commercial sites. Those subscriptions will be for six months.
One hundred thousand active downloads of the free version of Clone exist, and it has gained an average user rating of 4.1/5.0 stars. The low scores appear to be a legacy from when the previous developer owned the plugin, and all of the recent feedback has been very positive.
WP Staging can create an identical copy of your website in virtually no time at all, although, as with every plugin, the exact time will depend on the size of the site. A Pro version adds various options for the cloning, such as multisite or clone to subdomain. Let’s have a look at the free version’s features first:
- Easy, one-button cloning
- No SaaS, so no account needed – all data remains on your server for extra security
- The cloned site can only be accessed by administrators
- Supports all popular web servers: Apache, Nginx, and Microsoft IIS
- Extensive logging
- The staging site is clearly identified to ensure you do not accidentally work on the wrong site
- The entire production site is cloned into a subfolder
- No server timeouts on larger websites or small hosting servers
- SEO friendly
The Pro version costs from $89 up to $499 depending on how many users are supported. Additional functionality added by Pro includes:
- Choose a separate database and select a custom directory for cloning
- Make the clone website available from a subdomain
- Push and migrate the entire clone site, including themes, plugins, and media files, to the production website
- Definable user roles to grant access to the clone site, e.g., clients, external developers, etc.
- Migration and cloning of WordPress multi-sites
- Premium support
WP Staging is a highly trusted plugin, as demonstrated by 60,000 active downloads and an average user rating of 4.9/5.0 stars.
At just two years old, FastDup is a new kid on the block. Therefore, it has only managed to accrue around 1,000 downloads so far, but the feedback to date has been highly positive, with an unbeatable user rating of 5.0/5.0.
FastDup reduces all the steps needed to clone a WordPress site to just a few mouse clicks. Backups and restore operations are equally straightforward, using copy and paste techniques. But the best thing about it is its price – zero dollars. Yup, it’s completely free.
Despite its zero-price tag, FastDup gives you the following:
- Swift migration
- Create multiple specific templates with the files to be included
- Create multiple packages of aggregated database contents ready for download
- Configurable file inclusions and exclusions
- RTL language support, including Hebrew, Arabic, etc.
- Compatible with page builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Divi Builder, Visual Composer, WPBakery, WooCommerce Page Builder, etc.
- Compatible with Nginx, Lighttpd, Apache, LiteSpeed, IIS, WebServerX, uWSGI, etc. web servers
These features will probably be more than adequate for most users needing to clone their WordPress site.
WP Migrate DB Pro
For $49 per year for one active site, or $99 for four, you will get a plugin that gives you the following functionality:
- Push and pull databases, media libraries, themes, and plugins from one site to another
- Advanced multisite features, like push a subsite to single-site install, etc.
- Command-line support
- Search and replace
- Backup data before starting the migration
- Select which database tables to include or exclude from the migration
- Priority email support
WP Migrate DB Pro is a popular, trusted plugin that has attracted 300,000 downloads and a user rating of 4.6/5.0 stars.
As well as cloning your website, Total Upkeep also has a unique ‘Site Check’ feature that monitors your site at predetermined intervals for potential crash issues. If a problem is detected, it will alert you via email and give you the option to restore the site to the last backup. Additionally, it can restore data even if when WordPress is down.
The free version comes complete with the following features:
- Scheduled backups
- Easy migration and cloning
- Custom backups
- Update control and protection
- One-click remote backups (FTP/SFTP)
- Custom names for folders
- Backup archives
- Backup and database browser
- No size restrictions
- Protected links
- Auto rollback creates a backup before updates and restores the site should an update fail
- Site Check feature monitors the website for issues
- Tools that allow restoration of the site even if WordPress is down
- Easy cloning, duplication, or migration
For $30 per year, you can upgrade to Pro, which supplements the already long list of features with:
- Automatic upload of archives to Amazon S3 or Google Drive
- Restore the full backup archive or just individual files
- Historical versions
- Save a copy before commencing updates
- Recently modified files
- Update history
- Premium support
All in all, a handy plugin that has 80,000 active downloads and an excellent user rating of 4.7/5.0 stars.
When writing this article, all developers had updated the plugins within the last two months. All are tested to WordPress 5.7.2 unless specifically mentioned otherwise.
Please note that most plugins will continue to function when paid subscriptions expire, and only the premium support and automatic updates stop. Should you have any concerns or doubts, check with the developer before purchasing.
What’s Your Favorite WordPress Clone Plugin?
There are plenty of backup options available, but not so many WordPress clone plugins. Our list covers the bulk of those on the market, and as you will have seen, there are some great free ones to choose from to get you started.
Have you already used a WordPress site duplicator plugin? If you have, what is your favorite? Should you have any suggestions or advice to share with others on the subject, feel free to drop them into the comments section.