The following article and video were submitted by Rosalind Gardner’s Academy member, Mark Washburn, who was keen to share what is undoubtedly the best solution to date for complete and easy WordPress backups (including blog, membership software, forum and more…) and WordPress blog cloning.
Read Mark’s review of the WPTwin plugin and watch the video below to see how simple it is to use.
I’ve made a point to back up my WordPress database and files routinely over time. These days you can’t afford not to because sites get hacked, code get’s messed up, or databases run into problems. Any one of these things can take a site out of commission and and the logical remedy is to run regular backups.
In theory, restoring a site from a back up shouldn’t be too hard. You save the database and some primary folders that contain the theme and plugins, install WordPress again,and the rest should be easy…unless something goes wrong… and a few weeks ago, something went wrong for me.
I decided to move a fairly small WordPress site from one host to another. I followed the normal routine and then found, when I launched the site at the new location, things got really screwed up.
Somewhere along the way a forum lost all of it’s content, many of the plugins didn’t activate properly, and my theme got screwed up…so basically I found myself having to set the site up all over again. I was really disappointed.
Nevertheless, I kept thinking about the fact that so many other things are incredibly easy with WordPress, but backups continue to be kind of “primitive“. There are a handful of backup plugins that you can install and use but some haven’t been updated in quite awhile and others end up being helpful but they aren’t a complete solution.
A few days later I shared my frustration with a friend of mine and he told me about a new program called WPTwin that is designed to easily and quickly clone or replicate an entire WordPress site from top to bottom. I have to admit, he piqued my interest, but I didn’t buy the software right away.
A few days later however, I went back into that WordPress site I had tried to relocate. I wasn’t even close to getting everything back to it’s original form. It was going to take at least a few hours, if not days of work and it made me sick to even think about all of that.
And then I remembered something one of my online mentors once told me. He said:
“You have to spend the majority of your time being focused and working on things that matter most, and if you’re trying to make money online, you better be focused on generating great content, finding great affiliate offers or products, and building good incoming links for traffic…everything else is minor and usually a distraction!”
And he’s right. You don’t make a dime endlessly tweaking (i.e. fighting with code) to bring a theme to perfection, or while you’re constantly researching that next great article that you can’t seem to get written, or…doing the mundane work of backing up and hopefully restoring a website should the need arise.
With that said, backing up your work is critical, so you might say I finally saw the light of common sense, and bought WPTwin. If it had the potential to save me days of unnecessary work and helped me avoid future frustrations, it was worth my time to test it out!
After getting the program, I read through the instructions and found the replication process to be very simple.
The program contains two php files. The first one is uploaded into the root folder of the WordPress site that you want to clone. Once uploaded, you simply access the url of the php file page and click one button. Usually within about 30 seconds (large sites may take longer and the system has been tested on sites as large as 4 gigs), you’ll have a replication file that’s available for downloading to your computer.
Using the example of moving a website from one host to another, you would simply set up a new WordPress install on the new hosting account. Upload the replication file along with another small php file which contains the deployment code into the root folder of the WordPress install. Then by simply visiting the url of this php file, entering the email that you provided when purchasing WPTwin, and clicking a final button to activate the process, within another 30 seconds or less you’ll have a fully functioning, identical clone to your original site!
After testing the process on one of my sites, I continued to back up and test the deployment of a handful of my other WordPress based sites. Several of these included unique plugins such as the Wishlist Member membership plugin and the Simple Press forum plugin. And in every case the process worked flawlessly!
All content, comments, videos, pictures, settings, login information, and plugins (and their settings) are duplicated precisely. The only thing you’ll likely want to change is in the general settings folder of WordPress where you can change the title of the new site.
The instructions that come with WPTwin are clear and easy to understand but you’ll probably only need to read through them once. It also comes with video tutorials that cover every step in the implementation process should you ever need them. Customer support has been very good at responding to questions in a timely manner and according to them, several updates are planned in future releases, one of which includes a scheduling module to create automatic backups as often as you need them.
With all of my WordPress sites now backed up and secure I’m confident that I won’t ever have to go through the recent turmoil of rebuilding a site from scratch again.
For well under $100 WPTwin has turned out to be one of the best investments I’ve made in software in several years. I simply can’t recommend it highly enough. It finally brings the WordPress back up process up to speed and makes it so easy that anyone can do it without fear and frustration.