You might have noticed that the technology updates have started coming too often. With every update, you may feel that your website’s security is threatened, which can become a major issue, especially when you don’t have a backup.
So, if you need to test any new features or update plugins/themes on your WordPress website, you may find yourself in a predicament and feel a little anxious about losing the website.
What is the worst thing that could happen? Your website will stop working, and you will not be able to log into the dashboard to fix things.
Therefore to reduce the possibility of losing your website, you must create a staging website or “clone” the WordPress website to test everything before applying the update to your live website.
In this article, we will go through easy steps to perfectly clone the WordPress site to a staging site for testing and implementing updates before rolling it to the live one.
Let us start with the reasons to clone a WordPress website.
Why Do You Need to Clone a WordPress Site?
First, let’s understand the meaning of cloning in the context of WordPress.
WordPress website cloning creates a dummy of your existing site, which helps the designers or developers perform tests or updates to see the desired outcome before applying it to the live website.
Keep in mind that “cloning” and “backing up” the website both serve different purposes.
Cloning involves making a functional copy of your site at some particular location. While backing up means creating the website files’ latent copy, which you can store and use in the future for any purpose.
There are different scenarios when you might need to clone your website –
- Changing web hosting provider
- Changing your domain name
- Testing any major updates
- Changing PHP versions and many more things.
Benefits of Cloning Your WordPress Site
- If you can clone your website, you will always be sure that you have a fresh copy of your live website. Furthermore, you wouldn’t need to worry that your updates or customizations will negatively affect your live website.
- Even if you hand over your website to any technical person for any purpose, you won’t need to worry about the changes they make.
- With a staging website, you will have the freedom to design or perform any activities without affecting existing website speed or search engine optimization.
How to Clone Your WordPress Site Through Some Easy Steps?
Before moving to the first step, you will have to set up your staging environment.
Either you can establish an account at a different web host or create a local environment.
Install and activate the Duplicator plugin
- First, download the Duplicator plugin from
WordPress Dashboard > Plugins > Add New > Search “Duplicator”
Create a Copy of Your Website and Download it
- After the Installation, move to the duplicator tab on your WordPress dashboard and click on the Create New button.
A duplicator package refers to a pair of files that set up a clone of the website on a new server. It consists of a stand-alone installer and an archive; the plugin will let you create as many packages as you want.
- For identification purposes, enter your name.
- You can choose from different storage options.
- Next, select archive and database files and modify installer settings.
- Once you are done, click on the Next button.
Now, the plugin will scan your website for any errors or issues and give you a report with an option to continue.
- If there is an error during the process, depending on your web host or the size of your site, then you need to click Yes to continue with the Build process.
- So, click the Build button and let the plugin do its work.
- Once the process is finished, it will give you two options – the installer and the archive.
As we have discussed earlier, make sure to download both files to your computer like any other file and remember where they are saved because you will need them in minutes.
Upload the files to a new server
- You have just downloaded those files, so now upload them to your server using a file transfer client.
- You will need File Transfer Protocol (FTP) accounts set up for that.
You have two options: you can use Filezilla or your host’s file manager.
- You need to log in to the FTP server to upload the files.
Make sure you upload those files to the website’s main directory, which is generally called public_html.
Set up for the Website Clone’s Database
You are probably aware that every WordPress site needs a database to store its information. So, your clone is not an exception here.
- First, we will set up an empty database where the cloned website will reside in preparation for our next step.
- Then, with the help of a duplicator installer, import the contents of your original website’s database to the new one.
- In your cPanel, we need to look for mysql databases and create a new database.
- Get a name (related to your website) and confirm your choices.
- Now, scroll down until you see the “Add New User” section.
- Add your name and password, and confirm your choice.
- Then search for the option to add the user to the database.
- Finally, select the user you have just created and add it to the database you have just created.
- You will see that plugin is asking you what privileges you want to add to the user.
- You need to stick to “All Privileges”, which means you will be granted full access.
- Save it and keep a note of the user information and database.
Run the Installer, and it’s time to Finish the Cloning Process
With the files, you are on the root server.
- Now you can run the installer and clone your website.
- Then access your new website by adding /installer.php to the URL given below –
- This will enable you to access the Installer file you downloaded earlier and start the cloning process.
- The Duplicator will check for errors, alert you before processing, and then ask for confirmation.
- Click on Next.
- The Duplicator will start to extract the archived files and put all your old site files into the new one.
- In the next step, you need to enter your database information.
Now you are almost there.
- Duplicator will ask you to confirm your site’s URL, Title, and installation path.
- Fill those files and click the Next button.
At last, the Installer will ask you to update the permalink structure, test your cloned site, and determine whether it is working correctly or not.
- Click on each button, and the duplicator will do the rest of the work.
CHEER UP! You have successfully cloned your WordPress site!