Below are 10 plugins to clone or duplicate your WordPress site.
Do you want to give your website a makeover and add some special features? Do you want to try out new stuff, vary it a bit, and then perfect it as best as you can? Afraid you might mess up in the process and land yourself with a broken website? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to get back to where you started before you messed up?
Well, you can do just that if you can clone your website and keep a copy of it safely. You can retrieve it later and use it afresh if you need. Copy your entire website—folders, files, database, and all—before you attempt to make changes. This is called cloning or duplicating your website. The clone will be an exact copy of the original, with no missing portions and with all the links working just fine.
Why would you need to duplicate a website? You may want
- to shift your website from one server to another.
- to shift from a local development project to a live server or vice versa.
- a testing environment or a staging server to try out some changes.
- to simply back up your website.
- a copy for a similar project.
You can copy the website manually or by using a plugin. Manually duplicating a website is a tedious copy-paste process that eats into your productive time. It may be a good idea to do it once, though, so that you understand better all the work that the plugin does for you. To duplicate a file manually and install it in a new location, you will have to
- create an empty database at the new location.
- give a name to the new database.
- fill in and make note of the database login details, including user and privileges for the users.
- find export in the old server and export all the files.
- find import in the new database and import all the files.
- edit all the database references to point to the new location.
- connect to the new server and drag all your files from the old website using FTP.
- change all the URLs to reflect the new location.
- configure the domain settings.
Developers need to do this many times, but doing it repeatedly is cumbersome. This is where the plugins can be of real help to you. Plugins can make as many copies of the website you want, with little effort on your part. Repetitive tasks are all taken care of. Developers can create a template for subsequent use for different clients. It can be especially useful for big websites.
Many plugins will need you to create another website to which your cloned website can be saved. You should keep the following information about the new website handy:
- the name of the new domain
- the MySQL database details
- thr FTP login details
If you have a copy ready, after you enter these details and hit the Clone button, you should make it a practice to go to your Admin panel to save the changes to the permalinks. This will ensure that your links work properly.
Now, let us look at some popular plugins that will help you do all this.
All-in-One WP Migration
Like most plugins on this list, All-in-One WP Migration can create a simple backup of your files. It also clones your website and installs it at a new location. You will need to install a WordPress plugin at both ends before you start the migration. The plugin interface is easy to use, and you can clone everything on your website—files, database, themes, and plugins.
The screen will prompt you to replace the database strings, exclude any content that you do not want to keep, and choose a destination for your newly copied files. At the new location, you can drag and drop the files or choose the location from where it is to be imported. Data are imported and exported in 3 second chunks. This helps to overcome any timeouts on account of size restrictions.
Once you have done this, you have to sit back and wait for the completion of the import process. When this is complete, log in to the new website and save the permalinks. The plugin can handle serialized data competently, and you will not have to mess with the URLs. All database references are automatically changed. It is free, but for some functions, you will have to purchase add-ons.
The many premium add-ons support a higher file upload size and enable export and storage at additional locations like Amazon S3 and OneDrive. Add-ons will also help in migrating multisites. You can migrate the entire website or any part of it with this extension.
Duplicator is a great plugin for creating a simple backup and for migrating your website. Both free and paid versions are available. The free version includes the migration wizard. If you have limited technical knowledge, the authors advise you to seek professional help, at least for the first use of this plugin.
You can push your files and folders to a new location and pull them from there. With a few clicks, the plugin will scan the entire website and put it neatly into packages. At the end of this packaging, you will have a ZIP archive file containing your entire website, as well as an installer file. You can archive all the files and directories and the entire database from WordPress, but you can also choose to exclude portions of it.
Move the archive and installer files to any location you choose—a local host, a new server, or a specified external storage. You can then access the installer file via a browser and start the redeployment. The installer file will extract all your files and create a copy of the database. After this, a click on the Update button will update all the URLs.
The premium version can handle multisite migration and scheduled backups. Custom search, replace, and backup to additional storage locations like Google Drive, Dropbox, and FTP are possible. You can also create custom templates to replicate your system settings faster. Apply custom filters and choose what you want to backup. If you wish, you can backup the database alone.
A one-year subscription will cost you $39 to $119, with renewal fees at discounted rates. The plugin also offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
WP Migrate DB
WP Migrate DB copies your database install from one website to another. You must install and activate this plugin on both the original location and the destination server. You can exclude data that you do not want to keep.
Fill in the new address and the file path in the plugin installed in the current website. The files will then be zipped and saved on your computer, ready for export. In the new location, you will have to import the files using the phpMyAdmin.
Only a database migration is possible with this plugin. It can handle serialized data by identifying strings and running a find and replace task on them. This plugin will allow you to push and pull files from two connected sites. You can do this from the backend of WordPress.
If you want to clone your entire website, you will have to upgrade to the premium versions of this plugin. The starter package (Personal) at $90 will not suffice, though. To realize the full potential of the plugin, you will need to look at the higher-priced packages, which range from $199 to $1,000. These come with support for multisites, priority email support, and updates for a year.
Updraft Plus, with 700,000+ active installs (equal to that of Duplicator) and a 4.9 star rating, is without a doubt a popular plugin for cloning a website. It is primarily for creating backups, but the premium versions can be used for cloning and migration as well.
Back up your files and database at different times. Exclude files that you don’t want to keep while backing up. You can also schedule your backups to happen automatically. Split larger sites into multiple archives and resume failed uploads. Restore selectively and automatically from a backed-up version. There will be no need to change URLs manually.
The premium version supports migration and multisite compatibility. It also provides additional storage options, and you can encrypt the backup versions. Purchase the premium packages for $70, $95, and $145. They offer almost the same features, but the number of sites that they can be used with will vary.
Backup Buddy is a premium only plugin. It is an easy migration tool that doubles nicely as a cloning tool. The Restore/Migrate page is the place to start for your cloning process. Backup Buddy will give you a complete version of your WordPress in a zip file format.
Back up just the database or run a complete backup. Schedule automatic backups. Set up different profiles for different backups, so you can work with the version you want.
Download the ImportBuddy script to your computer. Next, from the same page, download the backup zip file that lies with your backups. If you are moving it to another location in the same server, you can simply copy or paste it in htdocs or in a folder. You can use a subdirectory for this.
Create a new database, and enter the credentials while importing. You can then move to another server right from your WordPress Admin. All the URLs are replaced.
If you are exporting to another location, then use FTP. Upload it to a root directory. You can then open the uploaded content using a browser. Using your password, follow the series of clicks as directed on the screen and fill in the URL and new database settings. Test that the website has been successfully installed in the new location by visiting the link displayed. After that, allow the cleanup and remove the temporary files used while cloning.
With Backup Buddy, you can push and pull files easily between the staging environment and the productions site. This is particularly useful to developers. However, it doesn’t support multisites.
Different packages of Backup Buddy are available at prices ranging from $80 per year to a lifetime payment of $297.
ManageWP is not really a plugin. It is a WordPress Maintenance service that helps you to manage all your WordPress sites from one single dashboard. It can handle huge database and replace URL in serialized data after cloning. A new WordPress installation will be required.
ManageWP does not handle cloning multisite installations. Detailed tutorials are included to guide you through the cloning and migration process.
The Clone or Migrate Wizard is included only in the Professional and Business packages. These packages will cost you $2.4 per month and $4.8 per month. The Standard Package at $0.80 per month can merely backup and restore a website.
Cloner is one more plugin that can clone your WordPress site. It is designed specially to work within multisite networks. You can use it to copy any part of your site or a single site and move it to another URL within the same network.
As a safety measure, you can backup your entire site or you can copy just the part that you want to move. And after that, you can simply hit the Clone button and watch Cloner do all the work for you. You can choose to clone only selected items and you can assign names to the cloned versions. Cloner can then push the changes to the live site.
You can create templates and use them to quickly create sites. Backup copies of important sites can be maintained. The site can be overwritten to deploy the changes. The plugin integrates well with the multisite core and it is built to handle heavy loads.
You will have to pay $19 per month to download and use Cloner.
WP Clone offers an easy and quick way to clone and migrate your website. It saves time by not copying your WordPress system files. But you will need to install a configured version of WordPress in the new location.
You could perhaps say that this plugin is a cut above the others, premium ones included, in that it does not need any FTP access to your old or new site. Instead it access and fetches the backup by using your host’s direct http connection. What it means for you is that you do not need to upload huge files over your internet connection.
WP Clone is a free plugin with over 200,000 active installs and a star rating of 4.2. But it comes with the disclaimer of no support from the author. It is also not recommended for any hosting system with a proprietary operating system.
This plugin is not recommended for purely backing up a site, but if it is your intention to migrate the site, it is a fast and easy to use plugin. You need to backup your database and copy the URL generated by the plugin. Then paste the URL in the new WordPress site and the rest of the work will be taken care of by the plugin.
CMS Commander is not merely a cloning plugin. It does a lot more – it helps to manage multiple WordPress sites. It manages user accounts, comments and content, copy blog settings, post blogs in bulk, install and update many plugins in one go.
Schedule automatic backups and save them in your computer or in specified external storage options. You can choose to backup the entire site or just the database. When you clone the site, everything including the current settings are copied and you will have an identical, pre configured website that you can use for another project or to try out changes.
Cloning is done in a two step process. In the Clone Page, first you click on the icon next to the website that you want to copy. An exact copy of that website will be made. If you wish, you can exclude portions of it before you copy. In the second step, choose the destination to where you want the copy placed. Then hit the Clone button and your work is done. You can also restore a website from a previously backed up copy.
The plugin, with all the premium features is available for free trial, after which you can continue with the basic features for free. Backup and Cloning is available only with the premium packages which range from $8 per month to $75 per month.
XCloner uses Open Source Standard formats which gives you choice in the way you restore your website copies. The plugin will help you to backup and restore any PHP/MySQL application. You can create customs backups and share it with others.
The backup can be restored almost anywhere with the help of an automatic restore script.
I have discussed 10 plugins which can be used to clone and duplicate your website. All of them can do a fairly competent job, but level of technical knowledge required may differ for the plugins. Developers who have to move databases frequently between sites may prefer WP Migrate DB Pro. The free version of Updraft Plus will allow backup to a remote location. WP Clone and All-in-One WP Migration offer cloning function in the free version, without having to upgrade to premium.
Now, you can go ahead and make as many copies of your website as you want, and move things about as you please.