Migrate, Copy, Or Clone A Site

In this lesson plan, you will learn how to move your site from one server to another.


After completing this lesson, participants will be able to:

  • Migrate, copy, or clone a site to another server.

Prerequisite Skills

Participants will get the most from this lesson if they have familiarity with:

  • Basic cPanel/Plesk knowledge
  • FTP Client

Notes for the Presenter

  • Show all of the steps on the live server rather than ” MAMP, XAMPP, WAMP ” since it is needed to use FTP client and handle the database.

Example Lesson

First Things First You Need the Old Site’s Database

PHPMyAdmin or Aminer

To export your old site’s WordPress database you need to head into the PHPMyAdmin section of your hosting provider. Every hosting provider different when it comes to how you can get to your PHPMyAdmin section, so I won’t be covering that here. Google “Hostname PHPMyAdmin” and hopefully you can find some documentation. Once you are logged into PHPMyAdmin, you should see something that resembles the screenshot above (older versions of PHPMyAdmin might look slightly different but the principles here are the same) You will need to select the correct database to export. If you do not know the database name you will need to figure that out from your wp-config.php file on your old WordPress website. (See screenshot below)

Finding Your Database Name


Search for the line that looks like:


That second value is your database name.

Setup and Install WordPress for the new site

Setup the clean WordPress site on your new server, download your wp-content folder from an old one and upload your old wp-content folder into the new one. The wp-content folder has your old sites themes, plugins, uploads etc.

wp-content folder

Find and Replace in old site’s database

This step can be skipped if you are migrating the site “ If the URL is staying the same but you are just changing the server or hosting provider “ Since you already saved your old database in SQL format on your computer the next step is updating the URL in the database from an old one to a new one. What you want to do is open up your MySQL export file ( a .sql file) with a text editor. Use Notepad++ on Windows or TextWrangler on Mac (It doesn’t matter too much what you use as long as it has found and replaces functionality) Make a copy of the .sql file before making any changes, just in case you screw the pooch. Now, Find and replace all instances of your old URL. So find www.oldsite.com and replace with www.newsite.com in that open text document. Make sure you are replacing the www.oldsite.com with the location of that fresh WordPress install you just set up.

Clear out the new WordPress installs Database and Import the old

By now you should have edited the old MySQL database and updated the URLs to fit the new destination site, installed a brand spanking new version of WordPress for the new site and uploaded the entire wp-content folder from the old WordPress site. On the new site hosting provider, go ahead and log into phpMyAdmin just like in the first step (do this for your new site and make sure you are in the new database, it should have a different name than the earlier exported database) Open up the new MySQL DB by clicking into it (just like before). Now check all tables and click drop. It will ask you to confirm the drop, go ahead and do that.

Check all boxes and select Drop

After dropping the database, import the one that you edit before. Please note that some servers are not allowing large database upload, so you might consider creating a .zip of it before upload.

Editing wp-config.php

When you are done make sure that the database prefix is the same in wp-config.php and inside your PHP MyAdmin. If that is not the case, just simply edit the line i.e:

$table_prefix = 'wp_'; // Only numbers, letters, and underscores please! $table_prefix = 'y77_'; // Only numbers, letters, and underscores please! 

Your website should be cloned correctly and it should look like an exact clone of the source one. Don’t forget that the different PHP and MySQL versions could cause issues in the proper functioning of the new website but mostly in the case when the versions are lower on a destination than on the source server. There are also a lot of plugins and SaaS that can help in making this job easier.

  • WordPress Duplicator
  • WordPress Move
  • BackupBuddy
  • WP Migrate DB Pro
  • myEASYbackup
  • UpdraftPlus
  • WP Clone by WP Academy
  • All-in-One WP Migration
  • ManageWP