Cloning a website means creating a copy of the entire website. Does that sound unethical to you? It shouldn’t. Many webmasters prefer cloning their own websites (not anyone else’s website) for a lot of different purposes. So in this article we are going to learn how to Clone WordPress Site.
Need for Website Cloning
In particular, web development companies clone websites as a solution for faster turnaround time. If the client likes one of the previous designs of your portfolio, you can just Clone WordPress Site, customize it accordingly for the client, and sell it.
You can also customize programming scripts or design elements on the website to suit the needs of the new client. This will save a lot of time as you don’t have to build everything from scratch.
Process of Website Cloning
To create the clone of a website, we will back up the original site fully and then upload the backup to the new location. Finally, cloning process completes once you install the backup on the new server.
There are several ways to perform a backup and restore. The most basic way is using an FTP client to download the complete files and download the databases separately. There are plugins that help you do that quickly, but they run into problems like broken images or links.
In this guide, we will use Duplicator plugin to perform backup and restore. The reason we’re using Duplicator is that it takes full website archive, and not just content and databases. This backup includes your WordPress installation in its archive file.
When you install the backup created by Duplicator, you will do it on a completely blank server without any prior WordPress installation. After the restore is fully installed, you can then provide manual DNS redirection through “hosts” file to customize and test it locally on your system.
This was an overview of how to Clone WordPress Site. Below we will discuss a detailed step-by-step procedure for website cloning.
Step 1: Using Duplicator plugin for Backup.
Click “Add New” from the sidebar menu for Plugins on the WordPress backend dashboard.
In the Plugin search box, type “Duplicator” and install the first plugin you see in the left column. This plugin has been developed by “Snap Creek”. After installing, activate the plugin.
Click “Packages” from the Duplicator sidebar plugin. On the top right of this page, click “Add New” button to start the backup.
The plugin will now run some tests to check if all requirements pass. The results will show up on the “Requirements” tab. Once all requirements pass, click the “Next” button.
In the second step (the “scan” tab), plugin scans for various required resources that will be compressed for creating the backup. Check if all the scans are displayed with “Good” status and then click the “Build” button to start the backup archiving process.
In both the above steps, if the plugin detects a failure while checking for requirements on your website or while scanning the resources, it immediately gives you links to solve the problems.
Finally, on the “Build” tab, the plugin gives the archive and installed files. Download these files and save it on your computer.
Step 2: Creating new database on the host location.
Before starting the installation of the backup, Duplicator asks for the name of a new database where it will run the queries. So first, we have to create this database and create a new user with full administrative privileges on this database.
For creating and configuring the database at a new location, you will need access to the cPanel of your hosting account.
You will find the steps to access hosting cPanel from the knowledge base of your hosting provider.
On the cPanel home page, look for “MySQL Databases” option.
On this page, in the “Create A Database” section, enter the database name and click “Next Step” button.
After the database is created, move to “MySQL Database Users” option and create a new user account and give it a secure password.
Note down the database name, the username, and password for the new database user account in a blank notepad file.
Now we have to link the new user to the database. This can be done in “Add Users to a Database” section. Just select the username and database name and map them to each other by clicking “Add” button.
When prompted for privileges, assign all the database privileges to this new user as it is meant to be used as an administrative account.
Finalize the changes by clicking the “Next Step” button.
When uploading the backup, you will also need the IP address of the new location. Go your hosting account home page and you should see the new host IP address.
Note down the new host IP address in notepad file along with the database details.
Step 3: Restoring and installing the backup on your new host
In this step, we will use an FTP client (FileZilla) to directly access the file system of the new host.
Download and install FileZilla. Use it to connect with your new host IP address. You will need your hosting account username and password for this operation (the database details will be needed at a later point).
Using the file browser in FileZilla, go to the /username/public_html directory. Here, the username is the login name of your hosting account. This is your root directory.
(Note: some hosts treat /username/puvlic_html/yoursitename as the root directory. Check in the knowledge base of your new host to verify this)
In the root directory, you will upload the two files that were the output of Duplicator plugin backup process. These two files were saved in Step 1.
Once uploaded, you need to run the installer by visiting yournewsite.com/installer.php.
Here, yournewsite.com will be the name of the cloned website. This will show up a Duplicator installer screen.
Now, provide the installer with the database details saved in the previous step. Click “Test Connection” button to test the new database connection.
If there are any warnings, read, analyze and take steps to correct the critical warnings.
Once you have verified all the details, click “Run Deployment” button to start the cloning process on the new host.
In the second step of the cloning process, Duplicator asks you to check the updated URLs. Click “Run Update” button once you have verified all updated URLs.
In the final step, click individual buttons to verify your permalinks and images/plugins, and to perform junk cleanup. Check for migration reports as well which gives a complete picture of your entire cloning process.
Thus, you have learned how to create a clone of an existing website. Now, you can simply log in to your cloned website, perform basic tests to check everything is running fine and start hacking away to perform all the customizations you need.