A Free Must-Have Plugin for Cloning Your WordPress Blog

Brick Wall

Image copyright Kuraman Creative – iStockphoto.com

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.

The process:

  1. Copy my site’s WordPress folder to my laptop.
  2. Export the database from the live site.
  3. Create a new database on my laptop.
  4. Search and replace references to thehobbyblogger.com with the web folder name on my laptop.
  5. 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.

Article by Bryan Kerr

I love breaking down the techie side of blogging into easy-to-understand tutorials. That's mostly what you'll find here on The Hobby Blogger.


  1. Now I feel happy to use blog engine other than WordPress. With no 3rd party utilities, it is backed up to 2 other hard drives and synchronized with web storage.

    By the way, I think you need to implement the rel=”nofollow” for links you put in your articles, to not spread the Page rank. I am using it with blog editor application, as sometimes I don’t need the nofollow attribute, but in case of WordPress and MacOS client that could be done by another plugin, perhaps.

    • Bryan Kerr says:

      Are you saying I need to “nofollow” the links on my development copy?

      • No. The links in your blog. Here. You are using it for comments, perhaps that’s what WordPress is doing for you automatically, but you are not using it when composing the article. It’s not that you “have to”, but that would benefit your website in SEO sense.

        • Bryan Kerr says:

          That’s right. By default, WordPress comment links are NoFollow. I’m intentionally leaving content links as DoFollow because I truly believe sharing “link juice” is what the web is all about. The sites I link to are enhancing my blog, and I feel they should get credit and better page rank for it. I am, however, NoFollowing my affiliate links.

          • Good then. My personal policy regarding the “follow” directive is that I only allow following for the links which I would sort of recommend. When I am mentioning Microsoft or Google, for example, there is no point in leaving the follow directive, as their rank is somewhere in exosphere anyway, so I just spare the GoogleBot’s time and space in his database. But “following” really interesting resources, especially if they are relatively unknown (even ProBlogger is in this category) is a must for me.

  2. Great post. Very helpful. Thanks for the info.

  3. I used Duplicator and when I uploaded the package and installer to a blank subdomain I got the following message:

    Internal Server Error

    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Please contact the servor administrator …… inform them of the time the error occured and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

    Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered whie trying to us an ErrorDocument to handle this request.

    Got any info on this? All help is needed.


    • Bryan Kerr says:

      Sorry, Marcy. It could be a whole bunch of possibilities. Probably best to contact the developer of Duplicator and see if he can help troubleshoot.

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