You can use Jetpack VaultPress Backup‘s clone feature to migrate your site to a fresh WordPress installation on any host, or to create a copy of your site to use for testing and development.
This documentation offers guidance for using Jetpack VaultPress Backup’s clone feature from your WordPress.com Dashboard. An enhanced cloning experience is available via Cloud.Jetpack.com. The cloning tool there allows you to clone to a staging site or to a new hosting provider. If you wish to operate from your WordPress.com Dashboard instead of Cloud.Jetpack.com, please proceed to the guide below.
Before you start
Your source site (the current live site) should be online and accessible, without any DNS changes made yet.
Your destination site (the site at the new server) should not yet be using the original site’s domain or have the DNS records changed yet. The destination site should use another URL or a temporary/staging URL, and the domain should be pointed to the new site only after the migration is done.
How to start
Set up SSH/SFTP/FTP credentials on your current site
Cloning is only available if you’ve added SSH, SFTP, or FTP credentials to your WordPress.com dashboard. If you’re not seeing the option to clone your site, check that you have working credentials added for the site you’re hoping to clone.
For more information on finding and adding your server credentials, read our related documentation.
Choose and set up your new hosting plan
- Ensure your new host plan meets the minimum WordPress requirements.
- Ensure that your new host has adequate resources for your specific site, including disk space, bandwidth, memory, and CPU. Not sure what you need? This guide on hosting plans can help you figure it out.
- You need a working WordPress install at the new host. Since we do not back up WordPress’ core files, you will need a working WordPress installation to perform a clone restore.
Note: While not necessary, a fresh WordPress installation is highly recommended. This is because the clone/migration process will not delete any files currently on the destination WordPress site.
Prepare for migration
It’s important to migrate when you aren’t planning to publish any new content. You might lose that data if you create new content during the migration. It’s also a good idea to do the entire process when your site isn’t too busy, so there’s minimal interruption to visitors. This time will be unique for every website, but may mean that it’s best done over the weekend or late at night.
Jetpack’s clone feature transfers your WordPress site and its data to a new server, but will not transfer other services, such as email accounts. If you have email set up with your old hosting provider, now might be a good time to migrate this to a dedicated email host (like G Suite or Microsoft 365), which typically offers more features than standard hosting email. At the very least, make sure you have a plan for any email accounts you have set up.
Before you start, there are a few things you’ll need on hand:
- SSH/SFTP/FTP credentials for your new web host.
- The login for your DNS host. This will usually be your domain registrar, but could also be a standalone DNS provider such as Cloudflare.
- The DNS records for your new server. This will usually be the server IP address, which you can obtain from your new hosting provider.
Let’s get cloning
To start the cloning process, visit your WordPress.com dashboard.
- Go to Settings → General.
- Scroll to the Site Tools section at the bottom and select Clone. If this option is not showing up, please check or add the SFTP, FTP, or SSH credentials on the settings page for the site that you’re going to clone from (the site connected to your Jetpack plan).
- A page will show you some basic information about your website, including the destination site title and the destination site URL. If it’s all correct, click Continue.
- Enter your destination site title and destination site URL. This is the new host you’re cloning to — in most cases, you’ll need to enter your temporary/staging URL rather than your original site’s domain name. If you are changing your live site’s URL, enter the new URL. Click Continue.
- Enter your new server credentials. Jetpack will use these to clone your site from your current host to your new host. If you’re unsure, check with your new host for the right information.
- Enter the destination WordPress path. This is where your site’s files are stored and is probably something like /public_html. If you’re unsure, your new host should be able to provide this information. Click Save.
- Select Clone current state to use the most recent backup. Or choose Clone previous state to choose an earlier backup. If you choose the latter, you’ll be taken to your Activity Log to select the desired clone point. Click Yep! Begin cloning to kick off the clone process.
- You’ll see a confirmation screen that allows you to return to the site’s Activity Log. Click To the Activity Log! to follow the progress.
Test the cloned site
To check if your migration was successful, it’s useful to check the website before pointing your domain name to the new host. Ensure that your content is loading as expected and all functionality works properly. This isn’t a step to rush. Be thorough and take your time.
Point your domain name to your new host
Once satisfied that the migration was successful, you’ll need to change your DNS settings to point your domain name to your new server. The specific process for this depends on your provider, but here are the typical steps:
- Log in to your domain registrar or DNS provider and locate the area to update your DNS settings. Again, this will vary based on your provider, but they should supply clear documentation.
- Change the A record to your new server IP address. The exact steps depend on your provider. You can also ask your provider to make this change for you. Important: Don’t remove, edit, or delete any other DNS settings unless you are certain you no longer need them.
- Once you’ve saved your settings, you must wait for the DNS changes to propagate. DNS changes can take up to 48 hours to update around the world. For this reason, it’s important not to immediately cancel your old hosting until you’re confident that propagation has finished. You can verify propagation with tools such as DNS Checker.
After migrating your site, you’ll be prompted to log in to the copied version. For that, use the WP-Admin username and password for the site you copied from. The cloning process overwrites everything, including the WP Admin user information.
Important: After logging in to the new site, the Jetpack Safe Mode prompt will be shown everywhere on the dashboard. You can read more in our Safe Mode article.
You should not need to update any URLs in your database after cloning. This process automatically updates all of your site’s URLs.