Cloning a website with Softaculous

If you are looking to create a staging or development site - where you would like to be able to push file & database changes back to a live site then Softaculous also has a Staging facility that may be more appropriate than cloning for this purpose.

Cloning in Softaculous allows you to quickly make copies of your applications. It can also be used to alter those copies, for example:

To move a site from a sub-directory/folder to the web root - clone to

With little work it can be used to help you switch from http:// to https:// (as long as you have the SSL certificate in place), for example:

Clone to - remove the original site and then clone back from to

In this article we are going to clone a WordPress site. Prior to starting this clone I have setup the sub-domain clone to receive the cloned site. You may also want to apply a LetsEncrypt SLL certificate to the cone domain to maintain HTTPS. This cloning process is similar for all other Softaculous managed applications.

You can only clone sites that are already managed within you local Softaculous Apps Installer. We have a separate guide on Importing applications in to Softaculous.

Always make sure you have a good backup of your site before making any changes - so you can roll-back if anything goes wrong.

Pre-requisite - Check current installation details

Before you make a staging or clone site it's important to check all required files will be included e.g. additional files required by a security or other plugin.

You can do this by clicking the Pencil (Edit Details icon) next to the site in the Softaculous Current Installations list.

There click the + icon to drop-down the Select additional files/folders file list.

Click the checkbox to tick any additional files/folders you want included in your stage or clone site. Here we've ticked the .user.ini and wordfence-waf.php files as these are required for the WordFence plugin.

Should you clone or stage a site and find that when you visit it you get an error or a white screen it's likely the cause could be missing files.

Click the Save Installation Details button to finish.

Creating the Clone site

  1. Open the Softaculous Apps Installer from the Software section of cPanel
  2. Click either the All Installations icon or the Installations button.
  3. From your installed applications list, click the Clone icon next to the site you'd like to work with.
  4. Select the appropriate options from the drop-downs for:
    Clone Installation URL - Protocol, Domain and optional directory
    Database Name - can be changed here if necessary
    Click the Clone Installation button to complete the process.
  5. You'll see a success notice once the clone has completed.
    Click Return to Overview to get back to the WordPress installations dashboard.
  6. You'll see the newly cloned site under Current Installations.
    - The URL under the Link column will take you to the site homepage (if you've updated your DNS). See our article on viewing your website before updating DNS to test the new site.
    - The person icon under the Admin column is a one-click link to the WordPress admin dashboard - you will be automatically logged in.

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