Making a copy of a WordPress website, and then installing it at another location might sound like a complicated task. However, this isn’t the case and there are some great tools out there which make the job a lot easier than you might imagine.
In this post we will look at one free and popular option for cloning a WordPress website, and give you a quick rundown of the steps involved in duplicating a site and deploying it. We will also take a look at some other options which aim to give you a bit more of a hands off experience, in exchange for some of your hard earned cash.
Tools and Services for Cloning and Duplicating a WordPress Website
The most popular free option for migrating a WordPress website is also one of the easiest tools of its type to use. However, it’s not the only way and there are some other great options out there for making a copy of a website and then installing it in a new location.
Whether you want to move your website to a new web host, deploy a template with all your go-to plugins, settings, and themes, or create a local instance of your website to work on without disrupting the live site, these tools can help you out.
The Duplicator plugin for WordPress from Life in the Grid is a free option for cloning and making a copy of your WordPress website.
The plugin gives you an easy to use interface for making a copy of a website. The plugin also creates an installer file, which along with the archive file of your website, is uploaded to a server. The installer is then ran and will copy your entire website, including all of its content, settings, and database contents, to your chosen location.
The Duplicator plugin does everything, apart from creating the MySQL database and user that your copy of the website will use. However, creating the blank database that your archive will be extracted to shouldn’t be a problem for most users, but it is an essential step in the process.
The details of how to create that database can vary depending on how your web host is configured. However, you should be able to find instructions online that will guide you through the process for the service you are using.
The entire process for using this plugin to duplicate your WordPress website is pretty straightforward and once you’ve done it once, you should have no problems doing it again.
Using Duplicator to Make a Copy of Your WordPress Website
After installing the plugin on the website you want to copy, you must create a new package. A package is all the contents of your website, bundled up into one single file.
When creating the package you can choose to exclude certain directories or file types, but by default it will add everything to the archive. The same goes for the WordPress database, allowing you to exclude and filter tables from the package.
In the next step you can enter the database details of where the new version of your website will be deployed. However, you can leave these blank for now and enter them at the time of the installation if you haven’t created the new database yet.
Then when you are ready you can progress to the next step, where your website will be scanned to check that it is ready to be duplicated.
Once the scan is completed, you can check out any issues that have been flagged. When you are ready, click the build button to generate the package.
Once the package has been created you can then download the installer.php file and the archive. Both of those files must then be uploaded to the server location where you want to install the copy of your website.
If you want to create a local installation of WordPress and deploy your site there, you can follow the instructions in this guide to installing WordPress locally on your computer using XAMPP.
For a walkthrough guide documenting how to duplicate your website and then deploy it somewhere, watch this video from the developer of the plugin.
Using the free Duplicator plugin to duplicate a WordPress website and create a new instance of that website is straightforward, providing you follow the necessary steps in the right order. Duplicator is a good hands on solution for anyone who needs to make a clone of a WordPress website.
Other Options for Cloning a WordPress Website
While the popular and well-regarded free Duplicator plugin gets the job done with little effort on your part, some users might prefer a more hands off approach to cloning a WordPress website.
If you fall into that category, here are some other options that you might be interested in:
ManageWP is a service that allows you to manage multiple WordPress websites from one central location.
Through the features of this service you can install themes, activate plugins, and even publish content remotely on the sites you control, all from a central dashboard.
Another features of ManageWP is that it lets you quickly clone a WordPress website and then rapidly deploy it elsewhere. This could be used to move your website to a new server, deploy a website template that contains all your favourite settings and plugins, or simply make a copy for testing and development work.
You will still need to create a database for this new instance of WordPress if one doesn’t exist already. However, the ManageWP documentation goes over how get this task done in their guide to cloning and deploying a WordPress website.
This is a premium feature of ManageWP so you will need to upgrade from the free version to use the clone and migration tool.
Cloner is another option for migrating a WordPress site, but this time it’s been built for duplicating sites on a multisite network.
This premium plugin from WPMU Dev allows you to copy all, or part of a website, and deploy it to another site on your network. The plugin can even copy just the users on one site and then add them to another site elsewhere on the network.
If you are working with multisite and want a duplication tool that can really cut down on your workload, Cloner is well worth checking out.
However, the service has another use, which is moving a WordPress site to another location. This could include moving to a new domain and web host, or creating a local version to work on separately from the live, visitor-facing version of your website.
While signing up with BackupBuddy just to use the site migration tool might be overkill, you do get access to a wealth of useful features that make the whole package well worth investing in.
If you haven’t yet implemented a WordPress backup solution for your site, and you are also looking for a tool to clone your website, then BackupBuddy is a great choice that will kill two birds with one stone.
As you can see there are some great free and premium options that make it a lot easier than you might expect to duplicate an entire WordPress website.
Once you’ve made the copy you can then deploy it elsewhere to migrate the site to a different server, or install it locally so that you can carry out development work on it, before uploading it to its original location.
If you have any questions about making a copy of a WordPress website, or suggestions of other ways to complete this task, please leave a comment below.