Screencast Weekly: Using Duplicator to Backup or Move your Headway Powered Site

It’s that time of the week again!! We’ve all been busy working on getting the marketplace up and running and filling it with blocks and child themes. While we’re excited for the launch of that, the past few weeks took a toll on me and I wasn’t able to get out a screencast. I do apologize about that but the good news is we’re back! And this week’s I think you are going to love.

We get asked this question a lot, How can I move my Headway website, and typically our answer is to use BackupBuddy. It’s the best product on the market that meets the needs of both backing up and moving your site. However, we understand some people don’t want to purchase another product to do that, so we took the advice of our customers and I spent a little time playing with Duplicator, a free plugin that seems to do a lot of what BackupBuddy does, but more stripped down features. So this week’s screencast, I’m showing you how to setup Duplicator and how you can use it to move your site from one place to another. I do want to point out, that I didn’t have internet when I went to make this screencast, so there were some weird issues when it came in getting the installer.php file needed. Other than that, you should be able to use this to move your own site from one place to another as long as you’ve got the necessary information. This video is a little on the longer side (around 15 minutes), and so when I get some more time, I’ll update the video, and hopefully it will not include the errors I encountered.

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45 Responses

  1. Hi, I use another WP plugin for this (also free one) Xcloner: Steps to clone WordPress production site to test environment with Xcloner WordPress plugin: 1. clone your WordPress production site by free “Xcloner WordPress plugin” ( & 2. build local server on your PC/notebook via “XAMPP” ( OR use your Internet WordPress Test subdomain (ask your hosting company to set it up for you)
    3. re-clone your WordPress production web site to your WordPress test environment (locally or on Internet)
    And this plugin works (too) 🙂

      •  @GrantGriffiths No problem 🙂 As I (really) went through (testing) literally more then 10.000 WP plugins on (I was doing it more than 4 months) I’m available for any of your questions on this topic, if you (or others) would have need for that.PS I’m not full WP “addict”, just a little bit 😉

    •  @Ivica
       Xcloner sounds good.
      If Backup Buddy was a one off payment, I’d buy it, but there are continual payments to keep up to date.
      Did you compare Xcloner and Duplicator?
      I’ll check out your links – appreciate the info sir.

      •  @wmwebdes I didn’t try Duplicator as with Xcloner I managed to clone numerous WP web sites. There is only 1 thing I didn’t like about Xcloner – when plugin is active it is slowing web site more then I would tolerate (it has some backlinks in his code – I found out while web site optimization), so i did one simple thing: when I finish with web site cloning I deactivate plugin and my web site speed is OK again 🙂

    • @Ivica This is a reply to your old post.  I just wondered if you have any updates or can recommend any tools that will help me develop on local host and transfer to live production? I’d like to develop my themes on my laptop, and then update the live site. Will one of: BackupBuddy XCloner, or Duplicator work for this? It looks like you were discussing the other direction ( production->local only?)
      Thanks for any tips

      • @augustSartori  @Ivica I switched to BackupBuddy for cloning purposes. Why? As I started to use Instant WordPress local PC testing environment Xcloner was not enough accurate (it was cloning web sites but they weren’t 100% the same as original ones – some design issues) and Duplicator (which is fantastic tool) stopped to be compatible with the Instant WordPress testing environment I started to use for development purposes on local PC. Therefore, I had to switch to some other tool ad the best one was/is BackupBuddy. So currently I’m using combination of Instant WordPress tool + BackupBuddy for both directions: production > local and local > production = they are functioning perfectly together, in both directions. I know that BackBuddy isn’t free tool but this is too important step in development to overlook it just like that. This combination already “saved” me several times, as I could revert to old state (after several issues in testing phase), I didn’t have to re-do it all over from the beginning 🙂
        However, I wish you good luck!

        • @Ivica Thanks so much Ivica! This helps a lot. I hadn’t heard about Instant WordPress yet….I’ll also check it out. Everyone seems to love BackupBuddy, and although I don’t buy too much software, I think BackupBuddy will be well worth the cost.
          Thanks again!

  2. I think this is a major weakness of Headway.  How are we supposed to develop websites if we cant simply import/export them into other WP installs.  

    •  @swinterroth COMPLETELY AGREE.  All frameworks have an import/export so you can make updates to the theme without disturbing the entire site.  This while process is a bit of a workaround until the import/export function is developed.

    • @swinterroth and we (especially freelancers) often develop for someone who already has wordpress website and want new theme only. Maybe it’s my biased opinion, but although I really love headway, tried it and want to buy it, but lack of simple import|export of everything theme related (layouts, skins, setting – everything) stops me from buying it, cause I will not be able to use it in my “business” most of the time. Will wait until you do something with that.

        • @GrantGriffiths  @swinterroth wow, finally, could you tell us how such a FULL export looks like (what needs to be done) and is it really full (with all the layouts, blocks settings, skins, custom css, background images, SEO settings etc)?

        • @GrantGriffiths   I am very interested in this cause this would change a lot for me. I don’t really care about SEO settings (although it would be useful) but about possibility to simply export all the Headway settings regarding look of a blog – all the layouts with skins connected and attached to pages (index, post, page) and custom CSS so my client can just import it (without a need to know headway) and it would just work. If there was simple import – export of that, i”m sold. Background images (also from Custom CSS) would be very useful but not so essential for me. Is it really possible now?

        • @GrantGriffiths Ok, so I went out to find an answer. Made theme with Headway and tried to move it. Unfortunately it is not satysfying at all. As I said I don’t care too much about SEO settings and background images from Custom CSS (but it would be very useful), I do care about exerything else – I would like to transfer design between wordpress installations easily (without knowing Headway) and it’s not possible:- when you export your layouts (one by one), there is no way to export connections between them (blocks that are being mirrored). you have to recreate them manually;- there is no way to export Responsive/no responsive setting (and probably few others on the same level) – have to do it manually;- when exporting skin, there is no way to export settings attached to specific layouts- recreate all of them manually – really painful (deal breaker for someone who is using “Customize for Curent Layout”);- no way to export Header/Footer Scripts – copy and paste them manually;That are just few things that should be included in one file/click export to make it easy to move. There are probably others I didn’t found. It’s huge thing that is overlooked in my opinion. To spark an idea – it would be ideal if you could export Headway with it’s settings, so that on other wordpress installation you could just take that package, install it as a theme and it would be installed with your design and all the settings (like there is starter theme with some default settings when you install Headway).I will be checking it out once in while. Really lloking forward to it.Regards,MironZ

  3. As a person trying to evaluate Headway for purchase or not, to use for a large site, I find I can’t make heads nor tails of things because you do not date your posts or comments. Today, as I write, is June 5, 2012. I cannot figure out whether you released 3.0 last week or last year, so I have no way to evaluate your credibility with claims that child themes are coming soon. Also, as part of assessing a purchase like this, it is a benefit to be able to see the user forums in action, and I don’t seem to be able to do that with Headways (but may have not looked hard enough.) 

    •  @rrwriter I’m sure this is done intentionally. More sites skip the dates on posts so readers can’t see the velocity of posts.

    •  @rrwriter I doubt if you can view any premium theme’s forums. Like all the other premium themes and frameworks, our support area is for members only. If it wasn’t why would anyone not just go to a pirate site and download Headway. Then if they run into issues, run to the forums everyone can access.  
      Not a good business model.
      As far as the blog, we will be updating the blog design in a few days and we are bringing back dates.  As for our new Marketplace, that will be open in a few days too.  There was a delay in getting our child themes up.  This was due to the fact there was not a ready made solution out there to handle our Marketplace the way we needed and wanted it to happen.  As such, we had to basically build an entire new product ourselves to handle our shopping cart, ecommerce, customer registration and marketplace.  

      •  @GrantGriffiths Respectfully, I disagree about the accessibility of forums on premium sites. Squarespace:, for one, allows this. It’s an important chance for a potential user to see how active the community of support is (always touted as wonderful, but not necessarily always delivering wonderfulness), and also to see how owners respond to questions, and how quickly. On that point – kudos for the blazingly fast response to my post.

        •  @rrwriter And you are comparing apples to oranges.  Squarespace is not limited by the GPL license WordPress hinders premium developers with.  
          For a better example of another premium WordPress theme and how we all handle this.  Take a look at  iThemes, Woothemes, Thesis and Studiopress.  All of them are also premium WordPress themes and do not allow public access to their forums.

  4. That is a good point, and something I did not know. It puts you at a competitive disadvantage, I think. Other premium themes offer transparency by having a money back guarantee, so it’s possible to see and experience support options before making final decisions. PageLines, GraphPaper Press, and Thesis all have 30 day money back guarantees. I didn’t check the others on the list you sent, but have direct experience with these three, having built a site in both Thesis and PageLines, and now considering GPP. A money back guarantee might be useful for Headway if those are you competitors.

    •  @Brad Dalton Have not. Really this was just to provide with another solution, but as you can see, I had troubles getting it to not show up correctly. So I guess if you want something that appears to be a little sporadic and maybe not as updated as BackupBuddy, then this solution is for you. BackupBuddy does way more and is still our recommended solution.

  5. I’ve really enjoyed reading your different articles. They are so informative and interesting. This post give truly quality information. I’m definitely going to look into it. Really very useful tips are provided here. thank you so much.Keep up the good works.

  6. Will duplicating a site to a local installation to work on the theme and then reloading it back on the live server wipe out any posts done after the off-site duplication?

  7. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks

  8. I’ve really enjoyed reading your different articles. They are so informative and interesting. This post give truly quality information. I’m definitely going to look into it. Really very useful tips are provided here. thank you so much.Keep up the good works.

  9. Thank you – I just took a site from development on my computer to my bluehost server with these directions.  Duplicator has been updated a bit and was easy to use.

  10. I’ve been using duplicator to transfer a single site multiple times for my clients without any issues. It’s easy, and the install works quickly. As a designer, not a developer, I found it very easy to use.
    Just a general tip, for Dreamhost I had to make sure I upgraded my hosting to PHP 5.3 in order to package the site. Haven’t experienced this issue with any other hosts yet but it’s probably a good thing to be aware of so you don’t have to hunt to find out why it isn’t working (like I just did for three hours)

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