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How to Clone or Copy a WordPress Site with Simple Tools

How to Clone or Copy a WordPress Site with Simple Tools

The ideal of cloning a WordPress website is common among webmasters nowadays. This practice saves you much time and energy when you migrating your site to a new web host or a new domain. If you are going to have a test on your plugins, templates and other projects, having your live site cloned to a local server can give you the most accurate result. In the following, we’d like to come out a detailed tutorial about how to clone a WordPress website.

Why You Clone Your WordPress Website

Website cloning means that you are going to make a duplicate site with the 100% identical contents, designs, plugins and widgets. This is a common practice when you are under the following situations.

  • You have developed templates, plugins or some add-on tools. You can clone your website and run it on your local server. In this way, you can have a proper testing on your projects without affecting your online website.
  • You want to move to a new domain or get your website hosted with a new hosting provider. In this case, you can make a copy of your website, which saves you much energy on website migration.

How to Clone a WordPress Site

As for the cloning of your WordPress websites, you can choose to do it either manually or via a WordPress plugin.

Manual Cloning

  • Use the File Manager from your control panel and check the box of “Show Hidden Files” when opening your directory. Here, you can copy all the website folders and files from your current directory. Then, simply upload them to the new location.
  • Create a new database for your duplicate website and import all the data of your current site into it. You can do this using phpMyAdmin.
  • Configure your wp-config.php file for the adaptation to the new environment.
  • Change the site URL to isolate your cloned site from the original one.

To be frank, the method of manual cloning is not easy for the majority of WordPress users. Therefore, we highly recommend you to think about the second way – make use of WordPress plugin.

Clone using the Duplicator Plugin

Duplicator is a WordPress plugin by LifeInTheGrid that creates a WordPress site package with a zip file for all site uploads and a record file of the databases. You can get the two files (zip file and installer, PHP) easily. After uploading them using FTP and running the installer script, the plugin will install WordPress, upload the files and duplicate your database.

After installing and activating the plugin, go to Duplicator >> Packages and click “Create New”. The package is divided into two sections; Archive and Installer.

Duplicator Packages

You can open Archive section and select the files you want to exclude or include the package. To do this, you need to check enable filter and enter the specific file extension or full path.


In the Installer section, you will enter the details of the server you want to move the package to, including host name, database, username, SSL settings, cache settings and new URL. You can also choose to fill this later. Click Next to move to the other step.


The next step will scan your site for errors. This will take a few minutes and then return with an error report for the information of the web server, archive, and database. If there are any errors, run diagnostics to try and narrow them down. Once you are satisfied with the report on errors, click “ Build”. It is possible to duplicate a site with a few minutes.

scan your site

The Build option is where the plugin will put the package together. This process will take some minutes. Ensure that you do not exit the screen. After processing, you will be prompted to download the Archive and Installer files. The installer is a simple PHP file while the archive is a large zip file.


After building the package, you now visit the site you want to migrate it to. Access the site server using FTP client and upload the two files. Visit http://yournewlocation.com/installer.php (replace yournewlocation with the URL of the site you are creating your clone in) which will bring Settings page for Installer.

Enter details of the site’s databases including username and password. You can choose to replace old tables from the database by selecting “Remove Old Tables” at the top or create new tables by clicking “Create New”. Enter the details of your database and “Run Deployment”.

Click Update to finalize the process to clone WordPress site and initiate the working of the databases. The information will be pre-filled, and you just need to ensure that it is fine.

Other Plugins You Can Use to Clone WordPress Site


ManageWPThis plugin enables you to manage many WordPress sites from the same location. One of its features is to install themes, publish content and install plugins from one central place. Another feature allows you to clone WordPress site and deploy it to a new location.

You will need to create a new database for the new instance if it does not exist. The plugin comes with a guide on cloning and deploying WordPress website. You can use the free or a premium version. The premium version is the one that carries the clone and migration feature.


ClonerCloner is designed for duplicating websites on a multisite network. You can copy all or part of your website with the premium version of the plugin and deploy it elsewhere within your network. You can also copy users only and move them to another site.

Some of the great features include one-click staging, a safe test environment, templates, and backup copies of sites you do not want to lose.


BackUpBuddyThis is a premium backup WordPress plugin from iThemes. It backs up your website with ease, so you do not worry. However, the plugin has another crucial function which is migrating your site to another location.

You can move it to a new domain, web host or just create a local version of the site to work on separately. It may not be worth signing up with BackupBuddy just to clone and migrate your site. You may however consider BackupBuddy if you have not backed up your site and in the meanwhile, you need to clone and migrate it somewhere else. This way, you will kill two birds with the same stone.


Joyce is a professional writer & SEOer who loves trying new things and sharing the experience through blogging. She loves clean design, playing with different WordPress themes, SEO, etc. Very often, you could find her in various WordPress event as invited speakers.