How to Set Up a Mirror WordPress Site


As a WordPress webmaster, it is important to have a backup of your site in case you need to restore it. Many site owners also keep a mirror site that can be used to test plug-in compatibility, upgrades, and template changes. Setting up a mirror WordPress site provides extra security and flexibility, but does take some knowledge of MySQL databases and WordPress software.

Things You'll Need

  • Web hosting account with FTP access
  • Decide where to host your mirror site. If you only need local access to your site, you can host the installation locally on your personal computer. Using a local host allows instant changes without an Internet connection. Remote hosting, through a web server, gives you access from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. It is best to test user functionality before moving a change to your production site.

  • Set your mirror URL. Log into your domain name control panel and add a sub-domain for your mirror site. If you are using a local host, install a program like WAMP and set up a directory localhost that you can access through your web browser. If you are using a remote host, choose a domain like or to use for hosting.

  • Install WordPress into the mirror directory. If you are skilled at editing databases and php files, you can copy the database and WordPress directory directly to the new host. If not, use the WordPress installation wizard or your hosting WordPress installation tool to setup a new WordPress site hosted at your new URL.

  • Copy your production WordPress site to the new installation. WordPress has a user friendly export/import function that will automate the data transfer. In the WordPress administration panel, you can find the export and import functions under the "Tools" menu.

  • Copy your template and set your file permissions. Using an FTP client, copy your theme files and set your file permissions on the mirror site to match your production site. Also, make sure you have a .htaccess file that is writable by WordPress with 775 file permission so your new site will function properly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using a remote host allows you to access your site from any computer and protects your files in case your personal computer crashes.
  • If you use a remote host, be sure to keep the site private and use the WordPress function to block search engines from crawling your private mirror site.

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