If you need to move or copy your entire WordPress website from one location to another then you have come to the right place.
Today we are looking at the best WordPress migration tools for moving an entire site. These tools could be used to move your development website to your live web server and public domain once it’s ready for visitors, or perhaps moving your website from a penalised domain to a freshly registered new home.
You could even use these tools for quickly deploying your stock WordPress installation, theme, and plugins of choice, with all your custom settings and configurations when starting work on a new website.
Whatever your reason for wanting to clone and migrate an existing WordPress website, these are some of the best free and premium options for doing so.
Duplicator is a free and popular plugin with over 750,000 downloads and a very healthy 4.9 stars out of 5 rating.
The developer of the plugin is quick to point that this tool is still in beta and that it shouldn’t be used by those new to WordPress or have a limited technical background. However from personal experience and the number of positive reviews that this plugin has received, we can safely assume that Duplicator does allow you to move your entire WordPress site from one location to another without much trouble.
The process of duplicating a WordPress site with Duplicator is documented in this three minute YouTube video and requires you to install the plugin on the site you want to create a copy of, and then build the package by clicking the appropriate buttons on the dashboard.
Then once the installer and archives have been created you must download them and then upload them to your web space, or place them in your local environment for setting up a development version of your site. WordPress must not already be installed where you want to deploy your website.
The only potential stumbling block in the process is creating the MySQL database that the new WordPress website will use. However, this step is nothing to worry about as you will soon see.
When it comes to the database that will be used by the WordPress site you are deploying, you have two options:
- Create a new MySQL database
- Connect to an existing MySQL database ( which will remove of its all data)
If you are creating a local installation of WordPress using XAMPP then these instructions will show you how to create that essential new database in three quick steps.
If you are deploying your WordPress site to a webserver then check the documentation from your webhost, or give these instructions a try for creating a new MySQL database with cPanel.
Once you’ve created your database and made a note of the name of the database, the username and the password, browse to the installer file on your server and follow the on screen instructions.
Then once the installer has run, you should have an exact copy of your WordPress website in the location of your choice.
While the developers point out that this isn’t a migration tool for everyone, it is very simple to use for a basic site copy with helpful instructions available to keep you on track. Creating a new MySQL database might sound a bit daunting to the uninitiated, but it really isn’t difficult so don’t let it put you off using Duplicator.
Amongst its great backup features, Backup Buddy from iThemes is also a tool that will be of interest to anyone who wants to move a WordPress website to a new location.
This service is popular with developers who need to quickly and effortlessly move the website they have created offline for a client, to a public facing webhost connected to a live domain.
As you would expect from a premium service, all content including themes, plugins, styles, and widgets are moved over the to the new location. The migration takes place in your WordPress dashboard and after you’ve entered the database credentials, the plugin will do the rest.
One issue that can occur when migrating a website from one location to another is the references to the URL in the database. Thankfully Backup Buddy takes care of this for you and updates the database records with the new domain. The plugin even includes a tool for replacing other text in your website that relates to the old location, and changing it to the new location.
Backup Buddy is a premium service but as it includes automated backups and a restore tool in addition to the migration features, it’s a good investment:
- For two sites: $80 per year
- For 10 sites: $100 per year
- For unlimited sites: $150 per year
- For unlimited sites with lifetime updates: $297
If you want an effective and on-going backup solution for your website that also makes it easy to clone your websites, then Backup Buddy is well worth investigating.
WP Twin is a premium service but it’s one that aims to make the process of cloning or migrating a WordPress website as painless as possible.
With WP Twin everything is cloned including the content, themes, plugins, and all configurations and settings.
After signing up, it’s basically a case of uploading WP Twin to your website and then clicking the clone button and downloading the generated file. Then to deploy the website, upload WP Twin and the clone file and hit the deploy button.
As this is an online, web based application you will need an active internet connection to use the service, but that shouldn’t rule many WordPress users out.
Your money gets you access to a team of dedicated support staff who are on hand should you run into any trouble during the cloning or migration process.
WP Twin is available on three pricing plans:
- Light: $97 – 10 domains
- Standard: $147 – 25 domains
- Unlimited: $297 – unlimited domains
While there are alternatives that allow you to clone your WordPress site for free, if you want to a service that requires minimal user input then WP Twin could be for you.
So there you have three options for cloning and migrating a WordPress site. The two premium options aim to take the pain out of copying a WordPress site. However the 100% free Duplicator plugin made light work of making an exact replica of a WordPress site, with just a few additional steps.
If you want a good all round premium WordPress backup solution that also gives you the option of moving your website, then Backup Buddy is a great option.
For those who don’t need the backup functionality of Backup Buddy and don’t mind paying for their sites to be cloned, then WP Twin is worth a closer look.
But for those that don’t mind getting stuck in, and are happy to use a free tool, the Duplicator plugin comes highly recommended.
If you need any help with migrating your WordPress site, please leave a comment below with your questions.