The WPMU DEV cloning tool duplicates a site’s files and database and re-creates them in a new WordPress installation, resulting in a new site identical to the original but with a new domain name.

Cloning generates an exact copy of a site – including themes, plugins, content, and site settings – and uses those files to create a new site. Once the cloning process is complete, use our Adding Domains guidance to add the new site’s permanent domain.

The new site can be added to your account at any hosting level, and the selected plan can be upgraded or downgraded at any time from My Account.

Cloning does not copy domains, SFTP/SSH users, and staging configurations.

You can clone any existing WPMU DEV hosted site, or create and use your own custom templates, or clone pre-configured WPMU DEV templates with the theme & plugins pre-installed.

Cloning can also be used to move a site’s hosting location from one geographic location to another. See Migrate a Site to a New Region below for more info.

15.1 Accessing the Cloning Feature

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You can access the cloning feature from several locations in your Hub.

From the Add Site screen:

Cloning a site in the Hub

From the site options menu for any site on the My Sites screen:

Cloning a site in the Hub

From anywhere under the Hosting tab when viewing details of any WPMU DEV hosted site:

Cloning a site in the Hub

15.2 Clone an Existing Site

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To clone one of your existing sites, click the Clone from my sites button and select the site to be cloned from the dropdown.

Hosting select site to clone

Select the hosting plan you want for the site you’re cloning. Then click the blue arrow to continue.

Select hosting plan

The cloned site will reside temporarily on a tempurl.host domain, which can be replaced later with a permanent domain. Enter the temporary domain name you prefer into the field provided, and click the blue arrow to proceed.

Hosting cloned site url

Next, use the drop-down menu to select where you would like the new site to be hosted, geographically. We recommend choosing a location as close as possible to your primary audience in order to minimize distance-related performance issues.

Hosting cloned site location

When ready, click the blue arrow to proceed and the cloning process will begin. The time required to clone a site relies entirely on the size of the site. Some sites may take only a few minutes, while others may take hours. Either way, the site admin will receive an email notification when the new site is ready.

15.3 Clone from a Template

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If you choose to clone a new site from a template, you’ll have the option to select one of the 23 pre-configured WPMU DEV templates, or one of your own custom Site Templates.

All of our available pre-configured templates are listed under the WPMU DEV Templates tab.

Clone a new site from a template in the Hub

The WPMU DEV templates are built exclusively with popular free themes and plugins found in the WordPress repository, in addition to our Pro plugins. Defender, Smush, Hummingbird, Forminator, Beehive, and SmartCrawl are all enabled and the settings are optimized for the site. There’s a default Forminator contact form on each template as well.

You can pop open a live preview of any WPMU DEV site template in a new tab by clicking the Preview link. Click the Use Template button to select the template you want for your new site. Search for a specific WPMU DEV template using the Search field, or display only those that interest you using the Filter option.

Filter WPMU DEV site templates in the Hub

Any custom templates you may have created are located under the My Templates tab.

Clone a new site from a custom template in the Hub

To clone a new site from one of your custom templates, simply click the Use template button. (You can’t preview your custom templates though as they’re actually backups. See Custom Templates FAQ for details.)

Regardless of whether you select a WPMU DEV template or one of your custom templates, you’ll first be prompted to select the hosting plan you want for the new site.

Select hosting plan

Next, enter the temporary URL you want to use for the new site.

hosting-temporary-website-url

Then if you have selected to use a WPMU DEV template, you’ll enter the credentials you want to use for the administrator account. This step is not needed if cloning a site from one of your custom templates, as that admin user already exists in your template and will be included automatically.

Hosting-cloned-site-admin-account

Finally, choose where you would like your site hosted. For best performance, select a location closest to the majority of your visitors. See the Locations & Regions chapter below for more info.

Hosting-cloned-site-location

When ready, click the blue arrow to proceed and the site cloning process will begin.

IMPORTANT

When you use a template to create or clone a site, the new site will be created on our basic Bronze hosting plan. You can of course upgrade the hosting plan of the new site after it’s created. But it’s important to keep this in mind when creating your custom templates and ensure they are not larger than what the Bronze plan can handle (max. 15Gb) or the site creation will fail.

15.4 Migrate a Site to a New Region

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If you wish to migrate an existing site to a different hosting region, using the Cloning feature is the simplest way to get that done.

Start by following the instructions in the Clone an existing site chapter above and, when you get to the Server Location step, select the new region where you’d like your site to be located.

Once the site has been cloned, take some time to verify that everything works as expected on the new cloned site.

When you’re satisfied that all is well on the new cloned site, go to the Domains tab of the original site in your Hub, and delete your domain name from there. Then go to the Domains tab of the new cloned site, and add the domain name to the new site.

Then adjust the DNS settings of the domain name to point it to the new cloned site.

Finally, once both DNS and SSL check green in your Hub for the new cloned site, delete the old original site. Done.

See the Domains documentation for more info on domains and DNS.

Does it cost me anything to move the site like this?

That really depends on how much time you take between creating the new cloned site and deleting the old original site.

For example, let’s say you want to move a site that is currently costing you $10/month, and you clone it on the 1st day of the hosting billing cycle for that site.

The new cloned site would create an additional hosting instance on the same plan as the original, and you would incur an additional charge of $10/month for that new site.

If you delete the original site after taking a couple of days to verify the cloned site, your account would be credited a pro-rated amount for the remaining time in the current billing cycle of the original site. So the above example would actually cost you only 2 days of hosting for the original site (about $0.64).

Here are a few examples to give you a better idea of how pro-rating hosting credits would work:

Scenario A:

  • You pay for site A – day 1/30.
  • You clone it to site B on day 5 of site A’s billing cycle.
  • If you delete site A minutes after cloning it, you would get 30-5 days of pro-rated account credits.

Scenario B:

  • You pay for site A – day 1/30.
  • You clone it to site B on day 5 of site A’s billing cycle.
  • You then wait until day 15 to delete site A. You would get 30-15 days of pro-rated account credits.

Scenario C:

  • You pay for site A – day 1/30.
  • You clone it to site B on day 5 of site A’s billing cycle.
  • You then wait until day 29/30 to delete site A. You would get 30-29 days of pro-rated account credits.

See How WPMU DEV Hosting Credits Work for more info on hosting credits.

15.5 Troubleshooting

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Analytics

If you had the Analytics feature enabled in the WPMU DEV Dashboard on the original site, you may see those same statistics appear on the cloned site as well.

To fix this possible issue and reset stats for the cloned site, simply deactivate the Analytics feature in the WPMU DEV Dashboard on the cloned site. Then click the “Check again” link in “We last checked for updates [x] hours/mins/seconds ago – Check again” at the bottom of the screen.

Once you reactivate the Analytics feature, the stats will be fresh and relevant to only the cloned site.

Refresh WPMU DEV Analytics data on cloned site

Database

Note that when cloning a site, the database name of the new site will be identical to the original site’s database name, and cannot be changed.

This is by design as some sites might have huge databases, and “renaming a database” function doesn’t exist in phpMyAdmin. So to have a new database name on the cloned site, the process would be export, create new, import, delete old. That process could create disk space issues and could break at any point, so we decided to just transfer everything “as is” to the new cloned site.

This should not be an issue at all as each hosted site is a totally separate hosting instance, and the new database of the new cloned site would be tied to only that site.