Step 1. Prepare Your Destination
The first thing you need to do prior to cloning your website, is decide where you want to put it.
While you can simply put it inside a "subdirectory" (i.e. https://yourdomain.com/NEW), this can be a bit confusing, especially if you have your existing WordPress site in the root directory (i.e. https://yourdomain.com/).
To keep things neat, I prefer creating a subdomain where all the files are isolated in their own file structure (ie. https://new.yourdomain.com).
You can easily do this by going to cPanel -> Subdomains and entering your information:
If you're using SSL on the website you're trying to clone, it's probably a good idea to follow my tutorial Your Guide To Free And Automatic SSL (https) to set it up on the new subdomain.
Once this is completed, you're ready to clone your website!
Step 2. Point And Click To Clone
This next part assumes you've installed WordPress using the Softaculous Apps Installer in cPanel (available on all our hosting packages).
If so, you'll need to access your installation by going to cPanel -> WordPress (under Softaculous Apps Installer):
You'll notice under options, you have four icons:
- Clone (paper icon)
- Backup (file icon)
- Edit (pencil icon)
- Remove (x icon)
You'll want to click the paper icon to clone.
The next three fields, you need to select the items to point to the subdomain you setup above.
If you're wanting to install on the ROOT of the subdomain (i.e. https://new.yourdomain.com) you'll want to remove WP from the "In Directory" field and leave it blank.
You may also want to call the database something that you can easily spot incase you're wanting to remove your current database after the changes are made:
If you followed by SSL guide I linked to above, you can ignore that big red box about a trusted SSL certificate. Sometimes the auto installer doesn't immediately recognize Let's Encrypt, but as long as you have the green lock, you're all set and can safely ignore.
Finally, you just need to confirm the installation you're cloning and click Clone Installation:
Congratulations! You've successfully cloned your WordPress installation and have a completely separate installation where you can carry out your work.
Video Tutorial: How To Clone Your WordPress Website
If you've made changes to your .htaccess file (such as adding the WordFence security plugin) it's possible you may get an internal server error on the cloned site.
To show you exactly how to clear that up, I filmed a step-by-step tutorial to show you how to clone, resolve that, as well as how to remove your old installation if you're using this as a staging website setup:
Remember, if deciding to remove your old installation, PLEASE make sure to take a full cPanel backup and store it on your desktop just incase!