Test backup of a live WP site
November 30, 2012 5:01 PM   Subscribe

I have a live Wordpress blog. I want to backup and restore it to another directory so I can test and try things before doing this on the live site. What's the best way to go about this?

I just completed a site design and installation of a WP blog with outside help. It's not a high-end site with lots of custom code, just a fairly basic setup as far as I can tell. I would like to copy this site to another WP directory and use the copy to test things out. I don't like to make mistakes on a live site. They accumulate over time and it looks amateurish.
If I want to tweak the CSS, or see what a particular button does, I can give it a go on the backup site. If things get squirrely, I can redo the backup and restore to the test site so it is once again a copy of the live site.
I'm on Hostgator. I have a backup WP install on a 2nd account I control on HG so in this scenario I would be changing domains as well as directories.
I'm thinking I can take the backup files from the live site, and copy them over the test site's directory files. I'm wondering if it's going to break things beyond being useful to do so, or what's the best practice? TIA.
posted by diode to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If there's no burning reason to have the test site live and viewable outside your own computer, I highly highly highly recommend getting yourself a copy of DesktopServer. It perfectly emulates a functional operating WordPress installation on your own computer. I coded, designed, and tested my site in pre-launch, including all plugins and installs, before going live. Just another option.
posted by mykescipark at 5:16 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

All you need to do is to copy the complete theme-directory (located at: /wp-content/themes/themename/) to the new server and activate the copied theme in the 2nd blog. You might want to export some entries from your live-blog to import them in your 2nd blog. This makes it easier to test stuff. You will have to install a plugin for the import but that's as easy as it can get.

Once you are finished with your updates, just move the adjusted theme back to the original blog.

There is no need to change settings or worry about domains, but you might need to install the plugins used in your first blog in your second blog to mirror it completely.
posted by KMB at 6:16 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Personally, I'd go with Desktop Server, as it seems to be one stop shopping, but if you can't afford that or don't want to make the investment, perhaps installing a local copy of WordPress on your computer via WAMP is what you want.

Instructions for Windows here.

Instructions for a mac here.
posted by THAT William Mize at 3:50 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

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