Have a site that needs an overhaul? Do you want to alter the functionality of your website without damaging the existing website? Whatever experiments you wish to carry out with your site and executing these in real-time can be a disaster.
The site could go down, drop your rankings, or even lose your business due to downtime. This is why you should consider using website cloning to ensure that any changes are implemented smoothly.
Website cloning is creating a duplicate of your website to change the content. It allows developers and designers to develop blueprints, check compatibility, and update safely before making the updates live on your website.
I will be using an existing WordPress website to illustrate this guide. There are many ways to duplicate the functionality of a WordPress website; however, for this tutorial, I’ll go over the three easiest methods:
Clone a Website Using Your Hosting Provider
Clone a Website Using a WordPress Plugin
Clone a Website Manually
However, before we move on to the process, there are a few items you should go to.
Method 1: Clone a Website Using Your Hosting Provider
Cloudways specializes in WordPress hosting, which allows you to create clones of your site to the same or another server that is on its Platform. This reduces complexity and streamlines the steps involved in the process. Here’s how you can copy the site using Cloudways:
1. Go to the app you’d like to copy. Here’s an experiment server to demonstrate exactly how to do it.
Choose an application
2. When you click on the app of your choice, you’ll be able to see the screen below. You must move your mouse over the option marked in red.
3. After that, you’ll be presented with three choices. To duplicate a site select Clone Application/Create Staging.
Select the option you prefer
4. A popup appears asking whether the user wants to create a Clone App or Staging. Select the dropdown menu, choose the server you wish to create copies of the website and then select Continue.
Cloudways Platform Cloudways Platform takes a few minutes to copy a site.
Please note the fact that “Clone App” and “Create as Staging” are distinct in the sense that they are different.
Clone App is a tool that copies an existing website when it is making an staging website. Both the live and staged versions are synced to ensure you can use actions via Push/Pull on both copies and the live ones.
5. After that, you’ll be able to get a cloned copy that of the application. The credentials you see beneath the Admin Panel heading will allow you entry point to access the Back Panel of the replicated site.
Another way to duplicate an existing website is to use WordPress plugins. Let’s take a look at how it’s done.
Method 2: Clone a Website Using a WordPress Plugin
Like all other aspects of managing a website, WordPress has a lot of plugins available to duplicate an existing WordPress website.
One is All-in One WP Migration, a straightforward and straightforward method of using a plugin for backup and migration to clone a website. It lets you move and transfer your current WordPress website to a new place.
Within your existing WordPress installation, go to the Plugins menu, then Add New and search for All-in One WP Migration, and then install and activate the plugin.
all in one download, and activate
On the right side, go to All-in-One WP Migration. Export. Click Export and choose File.
Export all in one
Give it a couple of seconds then a popup will pop up informing you to download the backup.
Download the file onto your computer. The structure will end in .wpress. Make sure you keep it safe, because you’ll need it for the next steps.
Create a brand new WordPress on the new site sign in, and install the All-in One WP Migration plugin. In the left pane, go to All-in-One WP Migration – Import. click Import from and then select the File.
Import all in one
Navigate the file you downloaded previously .wpress file.
Be aware that there is an opportunity that you could get the warning “Your file exceeds the maximum upload size for this site”. To address this issue, you should look up How to Increase the Media File Max Upload Size on WordPress.
The process is lengthy because there is uploading, and removing from the .wpress file. After the process is completed, you’ll be presented with a warning. Click Proceed.
The next popup will appear you will need to save the permalinks structure.
You’ll be directed on you’ll be taken to the WordPress log-in page. Log in using the admin credentials for your old WordPress install (because the database used by the original was replaced by the original WordPress web site’s databases). Click Save Changes under the Permalinks tab then you’re done!
Method 3: Clone a Website Manually
The manual method is to compress all WordPress folders and files as well as exporting the old database, then importing the WordPress database and files to the new place.
These are steps you need to follow to transfer a website from one location to a different location or the hosting service provider.
Compress WordPress Files
Upload the Compressed File
Migrate the Database
Update the wp-config.php
1. Compress WordPress Files
To begin, go to the public_html directory within the WordPress installation, then select each file, and then compress the files into a single archive.
You now have a zip file in the public_html folder, and the URL will be example.com/FILE_NAME.zip.
You have two choices – you can either download and transfer your file to the desired location with an FTP client such as FileZilla or transfer the zip file to the new location directly using SSH (faster than FTP uploadSSH upload.
2. Upload The Compressed File
In my case I’ll be using SSH due to the speed advantages. I signed into the new hosting server using SSH and then browsed to the folder/location in which I needed a copy of the content of my WordPress website. Check that the folder is clean (if not, run the command below to clear everything).
Important: The process of deletion is irreversible. Before you execute the command, make sure you take the important folders and files to a secure location.
Then, follow the procedure to download the zip file.
Make sure to replace the URL_OF_ZIP_FILE in the file with your actual zip URL. After that, you can use the following procedure to dezip it.
All files and folders are extracted to the folder of choice.
3. Database Migration
After copying web files the next step is to export data from its current location, and transfer it into the new location.