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How to clone a WordPress Website With Ease | (Live + Localhost)

by Pradeep Mamgain
How to clone a WordPress Website With Ease | (Live + Localhost)

Why would you want to clone a WordPress website? There are many reasons, perhaps you were testing your upcoming website in a local environment and want to make it live. Or maybe you want an exact replica of your live site for backup and development purposes.

When I started working on my food blog, I installed the WordPress Recipe Maker plugin. This plugin has lots of features and I used to make changes to on my live site. That was a mistake on my part. Ideally, I should have installed it on the local server and tested it there. If you are planning to start a website or a blog using WordPress, I highly recommend that you first install WordPress locally and then when everything is set, move or clone the local copy to the live site.

Whatever the reasons, this article walks you through the process of cloning a WordPress site with ease using the Duplicator plugin.

Are you planning to move, migrate, or clone a #WordPress website? Here's an easy guide that makes the cloning process a breeze using the #Duplicator plugin. Click to Tweet

Why you’d want to clone a WordPress Website

The term cloning is different than backing up your website, although a cloned copy can also serve as a backup. The purpose of the backup is to protect against data loss. Typically, backups are restored to the same place they came from. Cloning a website means creating an exact operational copy of an existing website that you can apply on a different location be it your local computer or another host. Cloning can save you a lot of time and decrease the chance of any mistake. It also eliminates the chance of leaving something out.

There are countless times when the ability to clone WordPress sites can come in handy, such as:

  • Creating a local version of a live site for backup, testing, and development purposes.
  • Move, migrate, and clone a WordPress site to a different domain name with zero downtime.
  • Manually backup a WordPress site or parts of a site.
  • Bundle up an entire WordPress site for easy reuse or distribution.
  • Migrating to a new host.
  • Moving changes from a development site to staging or production.
  • Using an existing site as a basis for new sites.

Clone a WordPress Website Using Duplicator

Before we proceed, you’ll need to set up an account at a different host or a local webserver. Make sure that the root folder of the domain or local server is completely empty. For the sake of this article, we will be using the Duplicator plugin. It is a powerful WordPress backup and migration plugin that both rookies and professionals can use with ease.

Here’s an easy guide on how to easily clone a WordPress site with ease:

Step #1: Log in to WordPress Website and Install the Duplicator Plugin

Let’s go ahead and create the installer package. First of all, we need to install the Duplicator plugin. Login to your WordPress site and then click Plugins > Add New from the left pane of the dashboard. Next, in the right pane, enter Duplicator in the search field. Now, click the Install Now button in the Duplicator – WordPress Migration Plugin box.

wordpress clone plugin
wordpress clone

Once the installation process completes, the Install Now label changes to Activate. Click Activate. This plugin works out of the box and you don’t need to specify any settings in order to use it.

Step #2: Create Installer Script and Backup of Your WordPress Files and Database

Click Duplicator > Packages from the left pane of the Dashboard.

wordpress clone

Click on the Create New button in the Packages pane. On doing so, a wizard will be displayed. First, specify the name of the package in the Name field and then click the Next button.

wordpress clone plugin

Storage Section

On the Setup tab, notice that there are three sections namely, Storage, Archive, and Installer. Click on the sections to expand them. The Storage section contains the storage options this plugin offers. The default storage type is Local. The pro version offers extra options such as Amazon, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, FTP/SFTP, and so on.

duplicate wordpress site

Archive Section

The Archive section is organized into two tabs namely, Files and Database. From the File tab, you can specify whether you want to archive the database only or all data. You can also specify the file filters by first selecting the Enable File Filters checkbox and then specifying Directories, File extensions, and Files. It is useful when you want to ignore some directories and file extensions. These options allow you to improve the overall archive and keep your backup simple and clean.

clone a wordpress site to another domain

If you want to apply filters to database tables, you can do so from the Database tab.

Installer Section

The options in the Installer section are optional. They are used by the installer. If you know values such as host, database, and database user, you can optionally enter these values in this section or you can enter them later at the time of the installation of the clone. 

For this article, we are not changing any value in these sections, therefore, just click Next. On doing so, Duplicator will scan the site for information and then display it for you.

If you have enabled both database and files backup options, it will show you the size of uncompressed files as well as the uncompressed database, refer to the image below. If everything marked Good, go ahead and click Build otherwise fix the issues.

Click, Build; the building process will begin. Duplicator will now create the package that includes our WordPress database, images, templates, plugins, and all other files in a single downloadable archive file.

Keep in mind that the free version supports size up to 500MB. If your build size is greater than 500MB, you need to upgrade to the pro version. On some budget hosts, you might see a warning message. In such a case, you can try a two-step build process in which you can try creating database and file archives separately.

On successful build, you will see the Package Completed build status. Click on the Installer button and save the installer PHP file to your disk. Similarly, click Archive to download the backup. You can also click One-Click Download to open both installer and archive prompt at the same time. However, keep in mind that some browsers might block these prompts because of the pop-up block feature. In such cases, you have to disable pop-up warnings for the domain.

Step #3: Upload Backup Archive and Installer Script to New Location

Now, we have the installer file as well as the files and database backup. Next, we need to upload them to the new location where we want to install the clone. The new location can be a site on the local computer or a live site.

If it is a live host, we need to upload these files to the root folder of the associated domain using an FTP client. If it is your local computer, copy these files to the local server’s www folder. Make sure that the root folder is completely empty before you upload the files. 

For the sake of this article, we will copy it to a local server (WAMP). If you don’t have the WAMP server installed, go ahead and install it. Navigate to C:\wamp64\www and create a new folder with the name myclone. Copy the installer and backup archive files in the myclone folder.

Step #4: Set Up MySQL Database at New Location

To setup WordPress, you need to create an empty MySQL database. Click the green WampServer icon in the system tray and then click phpMyAdmin from the menu. This action will open a new tab in the browser (http://localhost/phpmyadmin) and will take you to the phpMyAdmin login screen. 

Enter root in the Username field and then enter the password if you had specified one during the installation of the WAMP server otherwise leave it empty and click Go.

The phpMyAdmin interface is divided into two panes. On the right pane, make sure you are in the Databases tab and then enter dbmyclone in the Database name field. Now, choose Collation from the drop-down located next to the Database name field. Next, click Create; the database is now ready for the WordPress installation.

Step #5: Run Duplicator’s Installer Script and Install WordPress at New Location

We have the files ready for installation, now we need to run the downloaded clone script. Open your browser. If you are on a live site, add installer.php at the end of the URL, for example, http://www.example.com/installer.php. On the localhost, navigate to http://localhost/myclone/installer.php; the Duplicate install script page will be displayed.

If you have placed the files in the correct folder, you will see the status Archive file successfully detected in the Setup > Archive section. 

The Validation section will display the validation that must pass and the optional validations. 

The Options section lets you toggle the Safe Mode. Also, you can specify if you want to create a new config file or want to restore the original file. Leave all options at default values and then select the I have read and accept all terms & notices checkbox and click Next; the extraction process will start.

For the sake of this article, set Host as localhost, set Database to dbmyclone, and User to root. Now, enter the password you have set for the DMBS user while installing WAMP. In my case, I haven’t set any password for root therefore I will leave it empty. Before you proceed farther, click the Test Database button to validate the settings. If validation fails, you need to change settings as per the suggestions. Click Next.

On clicking Next, the Install Confirmation dialog will be displayed. Cross-check once more that you have specified correct settings. If by mistake you specify a wrong database, all the structure of the database will be overwritten. Click OK

Now, if you want to update the data such as Title, URL, or Path, you can do so from the Setup section. Click Next.

Step #6:: Test the Cloned Site At New Location

Click Admin Login to open the WordPress login screen. Enter Username and Password of the WordPress site that you cloned; you will see the familiar WordPress dashboard.

Congratulations, you have successfully cloned a WordPress site. Now you have an exact copy of the site, complete with all of the functionality of the original — with no need to manually rebuild everything from scratch.

Now, it’s time to clean up the temporary files.

Step #7: Delete Temporary Files and Packages

On the original site, Duplicator > Packages from the left pane of the Dashboard and then in the right pane, you can delete the package if you want.

How to clone a WordPress Website With Ease | (Live + Localhost)


As you can see, cloning, moving, or migrating a WordPress site is easy and Duplicator takes all the load and makes it a breeze for you. There are other ways to clone a WordPress site such as doing migration manually. However, I recommend that you use the above method if you are not cloning a very large website. 

Are you planning to move, migrate, or clone a #WordPress website? Here's an easy guide that makes the cloning process a breeze using the #Duplicator plugin. Click to Tweet

Here’s all it takes to clone a WordPress website with Duplicator plugin:

  1. Log in to WordPress Website and Install the Duplicator Plugin
  2. Create Installer Script and Backup of Your WordPress Files and Database
  3. Upload Backup Archive and Installer Script to New Location
  4. Set Up MySQL Database at New Location
  5. Run Duplicator’s Installer Script and Install WordPress at New Location
  6. Test the Cloned Site At New Location
  7. Delete Temporary Files and Packages

I hope this article helped you easily clone/move/migrate your WordPress website. If you liked this article, please subscribe to our newsletter. You can also connect with us on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you are a foodie, please check our recipe grid.

Do you have any questions or suggestions about how to clone a WordPress site using Duplicator? Please ask away in the comments section below.

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