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This handy plugin simplifies the process of cloning or migrating your WordPress site.
Cloning your WordPress website is a useful way of backing up your files or transferring them to a staging or live environment. Using a WordPress plugin is the easiest way of doing so, especially if you’re new to the process.
Duplicator is an excellent plugin for copying, cloning, or moving a WordPress website. We’ll show you how to use Duplicator to move your website to a staging environment.
To get started, you'll need to install Duplicator from the WordPress plugin directory. In your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Plugins > Add New.
Search for Duplicator—when it appears, install and activate the plugin to get started.
Now that you have Duplicator installed, the next step is to download your website files and the Duplicator installer. In future steps, you'll need to upload these to your new server. In this case, this will be our own computer: localhost.
First, create downloadable copies of your website and the installer from your current website. Start by navigating back to the WordPress dashboard.
In the menu on the left, you will now see a new tab labeled Duplicator. Click on this item to start then click Create New > Next to initiate a scan.
This is where the plugin checks to see that everything is in order on the backend. If there are any issues, this screen will highlight them. If there aren’t, simply click the Build button at the bottom of the screen.
In our example you may observe that there is one notice—this is to highlight that the scan found no large files. The plugin expects to find and compress large files but as this is a test installation with very little content, there are no large files. We’ll continue with the process.
Once you click the Build button, you’ll have completed one-half of the process. You will now have two downloadable files. One is the archive that contains all your web content and files. The other is the Duplicator installer.
Download both these files.
In the next step, you’ll learn how to upload these files to your staging website.
Create a new folder in the root folder of your local WordPress installation. If you’re using MAMP, this will be the htdocs directory/folder.
You can name the new folder whatever you would like. Just ensure that there are no other files in it other than your website archive and the Duplicator installer.
You'll need to create a new database to store the files you downloaded from your WordPress backend.
In your web browser, log on to phpMyAdmin and click on Tools > phpMyAdmin > Databases > MySQL Databases > Create New Database.
Access the installer.php script on your local web server from a browser. The URL should look something like localhost/mywebsitefolder/installer.php.
Replace mywebsitefolder with the name you selected for the new folder you created in step three above.
This will run the Duplicator installer script that you downloaded from your WordPress backend in step two. The rest of the process is straightforward.
Click on Next at the bottom of the screen. Once done, WordPress will prompt you to log in to your new website to check that all is in order.
As a final step, you’ll need to log in and take a look around just to be sure that everything is working well.
Ordinarily, you should also take some time to delete the installation files as they're no longer useful and can be a security risk. Duplicator will take care of this for you, however, so you won’t need to do much else.
While we’ve used a local hosting environment, you don’t necessarily have to host your staging website locally. There are at least six different ways to create a staging website!
Cloning your WordPress website is relatively straightforward with Duplicator. It's mainly a case of installing the plugin, downloading a clone of your website, and uploading it to a different server.
While you're at it, it's worth noting that there are other local staging solutions to consider, other than MAMP. There's XAMPP, and a few others that work just as well in most cases.
David is a WordPress lover who is passionate about helping small businesses grow!
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