How To Clone A Blog (And Why)

You know the old saying... (and pardon my French for a minute)... "Shit happens". And it is particularly annoying when said shit happens to YOUR blog. Whether it be an upgrade, a plug-in, or you get hacked... at some point while running your blog, you're very likely going to come face-to-face with the truth in the saying, "shit happens".

You know the old saying… (and pardon my French for a minute)…

“Shit happens”.

And it is particularly annoying when said shit happens to YOUR blog. Whether it be an upgrade, a plug-in, or you get hacked… at some point while running your blog, you’re very likely going to come face-to-face with the truth in the saying, “shit happens”.

Which brings up the obvious topic of blog backup. Now, I’ve talked about developing a blog backup strategy before, but since then many other solutions have come out. Some of the more robust solutions include Backup Buddy and Vaultpress.

Vaultpress is a monthly service and, at least in my view, isn’t exactly cheap. Backup Buddy is actually pretty darn nice and is just a 1-time fee.

But, recently, I hung out with Jason Fladlien and came to know WP Twin. WP Twin is marketed as a solution to clone your Wordpress blog. Different terminology and perhaps aimed at a different market, but don’t get confused – this is BACKUP.

Why is cloning a better, more automated way to go?

Well, most (free) blog backup solutions are manual. You have to remember to do it manually unless you set up an scheduled job with CRON. Plus, many free solutions only back up your database. As for the files, that’s up to you to backup separately. When it comes time to restore from one of those backups, its a royal pain in the butt. And if it is hard, you’re less likely to do it.

The more robust (non-free) solutions can backup EVERYTHING. And the idea of “cloning” the blog means that restoration is designed to be easy.

See, why might one want to clone a blog? Well…

  • To backup a blog before an upgrade or before trying a plug-in.
  • To create a COPY of a blog for testing purposes. (like testing a new theme, but you want to do it in a private “sandbox” of your live blog)
  • To quickly create a copy of a blog on another domain (quick setup of niche blogs, perhaps?)
  • To quickly set up new sites with all the right settings. For example, you can set up a Wordpress-OptimizepressWishlist combo for a membership site, get all the core settings and pages just right…. then clone it. Now, whenever you want to set up a new membership site, you just restore the clone on your new domain. You’ll have the entire setup done for you in a few seconds, then you can get right into populating your content. HUGE time saver.

The two solutions best suited to something like this are Backup Buddy and WP Twin.

Personally, I recommend WP Twin over the other… and here’s why…

  • WP Twin doesn’t run as a Wordpress plug-in. Think about it…. how secure is it, really, to have your backup solution depending upon the very thing its supposed to backup? What if your WP installation gets hacked and your plug-ins just can’t run? WP Twin runs independently and is just a matter of a single script.
  • WP Twin can be used on unlimited domains for one price. With Backup Buddy, it starts at $75 for 2 sites. But, again, this comes down to the targeting of “backup” rather than “cloning”. If you want to be able to easily do BOTH and not have to worry about how many domains you want to use it on, WP Twin is the way to go. I mean, if I want to clone a membership site onto a new domain, I really don’t want to have to worry about whether I have a licencing restriction. And, if you want an unlimited license with Back up Buddy, its more expensive than WP Twin.

On the flip side, Backup Buddy is pretty nice. Their interface is quite nice. Plus, they have integration into Amazon S3 and Dropbox (a nice feature).

Really, what it comes down to is: backup or cloning? The approach makes a big difference. A backup is usually a lot more of a singular thing, whereas a cloning system is designed to work quickly and easily on any domain you want. After all, that’s the purpose of cloning.

So, your quickest way to clone a blog and quickily deploy it to anywhere you want is WP Twin. It is a REAL time-saver. As a guy who has manually done clones before – it is a HUGE pain. I have a “sandbox” version of PCMech.com for private testing and it has always been a real PITA to sync updates.

Not anymore.

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