WP Clone Plugin – Can't Move Backup from Localhost to Production Site

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    Robert Gadon

    At the April WP meetup, Chris K. showed how easy it is to move a WP site using the plugin ‘WP Clone’ by WP Academy. So I tried it at home. Didn’t work for me; lots of problems. I’m at a stuck point with moving a site, and would appreciate any help anyone can offer.

    My hosting provider is GoDaddy (chosen by a client of mine). I created a test production site in a subdirectory under the top level domain (TLD) called ‘mysite.com/wp’ and installed a fresh copy of WP (v3.9.1 as of this writing) running the ‘2014’ theme on which to experiment with WP Clone. I deleted all plugins with the new install, and then installed just the WP Clone plugin. When I attempted to restore my dev site on the test production server, I received the following error message:

    ‘The plugin encountered an error while extracting the zip file using WP’s zip file extractor,the following error message was returned:

    Error Message : Incompatible Archive.

    Temporary files created in /home/content/17/11571317/html/wp/wp-content/wpclone-temp will be deleted.’

    Apparently this is not a new phenomenon, as a search of the WP support forum confirmed. The workaround is to copy the backup zip file created by WP Clone on the dev server and upload it via FTP to the test production server. Place the zip file in the target directory: wp-content/uploads/wp-clone. Then paste the backup url from the dev site into the ‘restore’ field on WP Clone, and select ‘Restore’. Should work.

    I can’t get that far because I can’t move the zip file up to the test production server using SFTP. The transfer times out because the zip file is too big (about 600 MB). This in itself is surprising, since a backup of the site normally is about 180 MB.

    A GoDaddy customer rep suggested unzipping the zip file, and parceling the package up in pieces. Probably a good idea, but it defeats the purpose of the zip file. They said the time out was imposed by my ISP (Charter Communications) to prevent media piracy.

    Any suggestions on how to proceed? Is something amiss with the size of the backup by WP Clone? Should I use another file copy system, like WordPress Duplicator (recommended by others)?

    I want to prove to myself that I can successfully clone a site from development to test production before I attempt this with a live site.

    Robert Gadon

    Well, I solved the problem and moved the site. Details on the solution are available in the WP Support forum for the WP Clone plugin. . Lessons learned from the whole experience:

    1) Moving a site with the WP Clone (WPC) plugin is not as straightforward as the plugin authors make it out to be. Cutting & pasting a url from one site to another did not restore the site on a new server. I had to upload the zip file from my localhost to the production server, AND overwrite the production server db tables using my site db backup. WPC only installed part of my site. Not a satisfying experience.

    2) The security plugin ‘WordFence’ interfered with changing the data strings in my database from my dev to production site url. That’s 2 security plugins that have given me problems (Better WP Security being the other). Not sure how I’m going to deal with securing my site in the future.

    3) Even though my ISP’s upload speeds tested out at 4-5 Mbps, the actual upload speeds via (S)FTP were barely 10% of that. My ISP imposed a 5-minute data transfer limit with SFTP. Given the large size of the site backup, I had to use unencrypted FTP. I’m going to have to look into how I can improve upload times from my localhost to production server. Data transfer was a major bottleneck in moving the site.

    Another plugin that looks interesting and promising for cloning and moving a site is ‘Duplicator’. If anyone has had experience using that, please post here and let us know what you think.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 4 months ago by Robert Gadon.
    • This reply was modified 8 years, 4 months ago by Eric Juden.
    Eric Juden

    Thanks for posting your findings Robert! The link to your solution was broken, so I edited and fixed it.


    In my experience I have had nothing but issue after issue when doing just about anything regarding migration of WordPress from GoDaddy hosting to a superior hosting platform (namely our own). As it pertains to the WP Clone plugin I just ran into a similar instance. Here is problem I encountered and the solution I used and how it worked perfectly for me.

    As the plugin instructions depict you must first install the plugin on the site that you are wanting to move.

    After the plugin is installed you make the back up and are issued a link to the zip file.

    Next you have to go to the new hosting platform with WordPress installed and upload and install the WP Clone plugin on that instance.

    You select the “restore from backup” radio button and paste the link produced in the first step into the required field, check the box and submit.

    In a perfect world this would install the copy on your new WordPress site…VOILA! Right?

    Well..I got a server error! So here is what I did to resolve the issue.

    I opened up the original site via FTP (since GoDaddy does not offer a WHM or cPanel for their WordPress hosting platform- my client chose them not me). I went to the wp-content/uploads/wp-clone folder and downloaded the zip file that was created initially.

    I then used the file manager on the new host and uploaded the zip file to my root directory

    Next I went into WP CLONE and chose the restore backup option.

    I pasted the link back in and changed the domain name to the new domain like so http://www.newdomain.com/file.zip

    I checked the box confirming the installation and hit the “go” button or whatever it is…and BAM…the site was up on the new host with no problems.

    I hope this is helpful. I realize this post is not very new, but it popped up at the top of the SERP’s and so it is likely that someone else may experience this problem and so it is my hopes that this solution will benefit you. If you need any further assistance with it hit me up at https://www.adwebvertising.com and I will be glad to assist.

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