Sooner or later we might have to consider moving our website to a new location. There are various reasons for this decision but the most important one is that we are somehow not happy with our current hosting provider and we have found a more suitable one.
When this happens we have to make a complete clone of our WordPress website. This applies for both directories, files and database(s). This new clone has to be placed on the new host and then additional settings have to be made in order to use the domain on the new location (DNS settings, forwarding, etc). The latter are not WordPress related so let’s assume that you have already discussed these with the new hosting provider and you have applied them according to the instructions that you have received from them.
So the main question remains – how to clone WordPress in order to transfer it to the new hosting location?
In this post I will present to you one of the suitable solutions for this purpose. This is the plugin “Duplicator”.
What does Duplicator do?
Its main functionality is related to everything described above – cloning a WordPress website so that it may be transferred to a new hosting or even a new domain. However this plugin is much more powerful than this. It may be used as an excellent backup tool and thus you can be sure that your data is always protected in case of a website failure or some other problem (for example hacking).
How to work with Duplicator?
Before we begin with these instructions, I need to inform you that this plugin comes in two versions. One is 100% free and you can download it right now from WordPress.org. You can also install it directly on your WordPress website by using the plugin installer to search for Duplicator. Then you have to activate it and start using it. The review will cover the free version. However there is a PRO version of Duplicator which provides you with much more options and features. You can find information about it later on in this article.
So, now that you know how to get Duplicator working on your website, let’s see how to use it.
First of all you need to head to your WordPress dashboard and click on the Duplicator menu. From there you can see two tabs. One is called “Packages” and it lists all of the cloned copies that the plugin has created.
You will be able to manage these packages similar to the way you manage your WordPress posts and pages. Here you can see details about each clone copy, its creation date, file size and name.
The options are:
The first option allows you to download an installer file in PHP format that you need to upload to your new location. The second contains the actual data (database and files) of your current website. You need to upload this file once again on the new location.
There are bulk options here available as well. The details view for each package provides you with the possibility to view the version number, the user that has created it, the Hash number of the package and some notes (if any are available). You can also get links for the package, its SQL file and view the log.
The second tab (Create New) allows you to create a package. This process passes through 3 steps: Setup, Scan and Build.
In the first step the creation wizard will ask you to provide a name for the package and some notes (if you want). Then you can choose the file format for the Archive and apply some filters for the files. You can adjust some options regarding to the Database as well.
Then you can adjust some options about the Installer file as well and when you are done you can proceed with Step 2. Bear in mind that you may actually leave the default options (for both Archive and Installer) if you don’t want to apply any settings.
When done you need to click on the “Next” button in order to start Step 2 – Scan. You are also able to skip this step if you want. You may also reset any settings that you have made on Step 1.
Clicking on the “Next” button will initiate the scan procedure. You will be able to monitor its progress and when it’s done you will be presented with a full overview of the package. This consists of information related to the server status, archive file, database file. For the server settings you may apply diagnostics in case some problems are shown in the overview. You are also able to rescan your website or even go back to Step 1.
In case you are happy with what you see on the overview you need to click on the “Build” button. This will start Step 3 and will actually build the package and the installer file. Once again you can monitor the progress and when Duplicator is done you will see that the process is completed as well as the name of the package and the time it took to build it.
You can also download the installer and the archive files directly from this screen.
In order to move your website to a new location, you have to upload both files and then access the installer.php file from the URL. For example let’s assume that your new domain is newdomain.com. The URL for the installer file should be:
Then you have to follow the instructions. Again you will pass through 3 steps – Deploy, Update and Test. When done your website will be transferred successfully on the new domain and/or hosting.
Duplicator also has some settings that you might want to check out.
For detailed explanation of how Duplicator works you may watch this video:
What is the difference between the free and PRO version of Duplicator?
Huge! The free version is quite limited to smaller file sizes and basic cloning operations. The PRO version provides you with much more power. These differences are described in details here: Versions comparison page.
So what do you think of this plugin, friends? Would you use it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and spread the word about this post in social media as well.
See you soon!
*The images are embedded from the WordPress.org page of the plugin