Support Home > Backups and Restores > Cloning/Migrating a Site

Cloning/Migrating a Site

Cloning allows you to use your Jetpack Backup to migrate your site to a fresh WordPress installed on any host.

The cloning feature is helpful when you are moving your site to a new host or if you want to create a copy of your site to use for testing and development.

Before you start

Your source site (the current live site) needs to be online and accessible, without any DNS changes, and with working server credentials.

Your destination site (the site at the new server) should not yet be using the original site’s domain or have the DNS changed.

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 this option, check that you have working credentials for the site with the backups you’re using to clone.

For more information on finding and adding your credentials, read our documentation.

adding SSH/SFTP credentials to Jetpack
Jetpack credentials page.

Choose and set up your new hosting plan 

  1. Ensure your new host plan meets (or, better yet, exceeds) the minimum WordPress requirements.
  2. 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 article can help you figure it out.
  3. 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 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 WordPress and its data to a new server but will not transfer other data 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 name provider 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 you can find from your hosting provider.

Let’s get cloning

Jetpack Backup screen asking for a destination site title and URL
Getting started screen.

Start the cloning process from your WordPress.com account for your site:

  1. Go to SettingsGeneral.
  2. Scroll to the Site Tools section at the bottom and select Clone.
  3. This page will show you some basic information about your website. If it’s all correct, click Continue.
  4. Enter your destination site title and destination site URL. This is the new host you’re cloning to — in most cases, you won’t be changing your URL and should enter your current one. If you are updating your URL, then input the new details. Click Continue.
  5. Enter your new server credentials, which we spoke about earlier. Jetpack will use these to clone your site from your current host to your new host. If you’re unsure, check with your host for the right information.
  6. Enter the destination WordPress path. This is where your site’s files should be stored and is probably something like /public_html. If you’re unsure, your new host should be able to provide this information. Click Save.
  7. Select Clone’s current state to use the most recent backup. Or choose Clone’s previous state to choose an earlier backup. If you choose the latter, you’ll be taken to your activity log to select an appropriate clone point. Click Yep! Begin cloning to kick off the copy process.
  8. 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.
Confirmation screen.

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 content is loading as expected and all functionality works properly. This isn’t a step to rush. Be thorough and take your time. 

There are a few ways to do this:

  1. Use a proxy service such as hosts.cx. This super simple way to test works on nearly every operating system. Simply enter your new server IP address and the website domain name (be careful here — ensure everything is correct, including www vs. non-www).
  2. Change your host file. This file sits on your computer and allows you to point a domain name to a different IP address. The process changes depending on your operating system. Click here for more information.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Change the A record to your new server IP address. The exact steps depend on your provider, but domain.com has a great example. You can also always 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. 
  3. Once you’ve saved your settings, you must wait for the DNS 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. More information about Safe mode is here.

FAQ and Troubleshooting

Do I need to update any URLs in my database after cloning the site?

No, the cloning process automatically updates all of your site’s URLs.

The option to clone the site isn’t showing up

To clone your site, the Jetpack connection to your current site needs to be working properly, and you need to have added SFTP, FTP, or SSH credentials to the settings page for the site that you going to clone from (the site connected to your Jetpack plan).

Still having trouble?

Please contact support directly. We’re happy to lend a hand and answer any other questions that you may have.

Privacy Information

This feature is deactivated by default, and unlocking/activating it requires an upgrade to a paid solution.

Data Used
Site Owners / Users

 

We currently back up the following data: WordPress database tables (any tables which begin with your WordPress table prefix and also have a unique key or a primary key). We also back up the files in your plugins, themes, and uploads directories, as well as select files from your WordPress root directory and `wp-content` directory. This includes all the unique and irreplaceable data in WordPress, as well as everything properly integrated into the WordPress installation.In addition to the data that we back up and store, we also use (and store) your server access credentials (if provided): SSH and/or FTP/SFTP. These credentials are explicitly provided by you when activating Jetpack Backups.

For feature usage tracking (detailed below): IP address, WordPress.com user ID, WordPress.com username, WordPress.com-connected site ID, user agent, referring URL, timestamp of event, browser language, country code, and user site count.

Please also refer to the Activity feature’s privacy information.

Site Visitors

 

None.

Activity Tracked
Site Owners / Users

 

We track several events around the usage of this feature: backup requests/downloads/confirmations, restore requests/confirmations/cancellations, and date-picker changes/expansions.Please also refer to the Activity feature’s privacy information.

Site Visitors

 

None.

Data Synced (Read More)
Site Owners / Users

 

None. Please also refer to the Activity feature’s privacy information.

Site Visitors

 

None.

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