Thump! Thump! Thump!
That’s the sound of my head banging on a brick wall with a shoddy mortar job.
Okay, not really, but that’s what it felt like over the last three nights while trying to install a copy of The Hobby Blogger on my laptop. Fortunately, I found a great free plugin that allows you to easily copy your blog to another location.
I wanted to start changing the look of my blog, but I needed somewhere other than the live site to test and view the changes. It’s not a good idea to make changes that can be seen by readers while they’re actually trying to read the blog. And testing plugins on a live site risks crashing it.
I thought about creating a test (aka development) site on the same server that hosts this blog, but I don’t want to slow down the live blog, and I also want the ability to tinker without an internet connection.
So I began trying to copy my blog to my MacBook. Since Apple’s OS X comes with web (Apache) and database (MySQL) servers built in, I thought setting up the clone site would be straightforward.
- Copy my site’s WordPress folder to my laptop.
- Export the database from the live site.
- Create a new database on my laptop.
- Search and replace references to thehobbyblogger.com with the web folder name on my laptop.
- Import the modified database to the one I just created on my laptop.
I almost got it to work. For some reason that I wasn’t able to figure out, the permalinks would not work. The homepage looked fine, but if I clicked on a link to a given post, I’d get a 404 error.
I searched for and tried various fixes to no avail. Figuring it was worth $75 to quit wasting time, I almost resorted to purchasing BackupBuddy to fix the problem.
Still hesitant to pay the cash, though, I did a little more digging and happened on Duplicator—a free plugin that will let you move your WordPress site to another location in three simple steps. Cory Lamle, the plugin’s developer, has a nice step-by-step how-to on his site.
Initially, I tried to use Duplicator with the Mac OS web server, but I was still having the same issue with broken permalinks. I then tried installing the XAMPP web server package that Cory recommended in his how-to post, making sure to disable the Mac OS web server.
Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!
I now have a clone of The Hobby Blogger on my laptop that I can tweak until my heart’s content. If I want to update the clone so that it has the live blog’s most recent posts and comments, syncing them up again only takes a couple minutes.
Duplicator is beta software, so you might come across some bugs, but I highly recommend giving it a try.