See how to easily clone your site to a cloud sandbox using the UpdraftClone service.
And, see what you need to test so that you’ll be ready for the next workshop.
!!!! IMPORTANT !!!!
Read all of the instructions on this page. Don’t just scan and start clicking things!
You may want to read through the whole tutorial before taking action.
A few of the steps have choices to make about which scenario applies to you.
And, you’ll want to know what to expect along the way.
We are cloning our site in this workshop. In the next workshop we’ll update to WP 5.0.
UpdraftClone has excellent support. And 99% of sites will clone without issue. But, if you encounter anything, you are welcome to post here to see if anyone else in the workshop has dealt with similar. However, you will also want to contact UDC support. I won’t have access to your site, hosting account, or UDC account to do direct troubleshooting. They will.
FYI, UpdraftPlus (UDP) is a backup plugin. UpdraftClone (UDC) is made by the same company.
Table of Contents
The following TOC will help you quickly access sections of this tutorial for easy reference.
- How the token system works
- Purchase your UDC tokens
There are multiple ways to clone your site, including:
- Migrating to a sub-domain on your hosting
- Setting up your computer as a server and migrating the site into it
- Migrating to a staging site at your host
- Migrating to a 3rd party platform
I have not found the first 3 to be things that work well or are easily done by an end user.
- Migrating to a sub-domain sets up a security and performance issue on your hosting account.
- Making your computer a server can be resource and space intensive.
- None of my clients or webmasters have been able to get staging sites to work on either SiteGround or A2 Hosting.
So that leaves migrating, or cloning, to a 3rd party platform, and that is the one covered in this tutorial.
The folks at Updraft have created a clone to cloud service that makes it easy for you to create a sandbox version of your site.
You purchase the service and time for how long your sandbox site is active via tokens.
- It takes one token to clone your site for one day.
- Each additional token extends your site time on the cloud for another week.
The minimum token purchase is 5 for a one-time fee of $15.
(They also offer a monthly subscription for $12, if you’re interested.)
So, 1 token to set up, and then 4 weeks of extended service.
This will give you a month to test and play on your sandbox site.
Thank you for using my affiliate link to purchase your tokens.
The small commission is how I keep workshops like this so inexpensive for you.
NOTE: The price I saw at the top is $12. Don’t worry about that. Just keep going through this tutorial.
Scroll to the bottom and fill out the cart as shown for the one-time purchase.
That will redirect you to a page to show you the contents of your cart.
Scroll to the bottom and click the Proceed to checkout button
You will be redirected to a page to enter your billing details.
NOTE: The instructions below are for existing accounts, and then new accounts. Choose which best suits you.
Click the Returning customer link at the top.
Verify your username/email and password and then click the Login button.
You will be redirected to a Billing Details form that should already be filled in with your account info.
Verify that the info is correct.
At the bottom, choose your payment method.
Click the Place order button or Proceed to PayPal, depending on the payment option you selected.
Then follow the rest of the steps above for payment.
You will receive an email with your purchase receipt and a link to the instructions page.
Go to the UDC instructions page https://updraftplus.com/support/installing-updraftplus-premium-your-add-on/ for reference, while following the instructions below.
There are 3 scenarios covered on the instructions page for installing the new add on:
- Use premium version of UpdraftPlus
- Use free version of UpdraftPlus
- Have never installed any version of UpdraftPlus
Then this new feature will simply be an add on to it.
Skip to the instructions below to Turn on the Add On.
You will need to deactivate and delete your current plugin.
Then download the new plugin from Step 2 in the directions page linked above.
Then upload the new plugin. (See how to upload a plugin below if you need help with this.)
Then follow their directions in Step 3 of the page linked above to Enter your UpdraftPlus.com account info of email and password.
Then skip to the instructions below to Turn on the Add On.
Download the new plugin from Step 2 in their directions page linked above.
Then upload the new plugin and activate. (See how to upload a plugin below if you need help with this.)
(If you need extra help with this step)
On your site, go to Plugins > Add New
At the top, click the Upload Plugin button.
Click the Browse button and locate the .zip file you downloaded.
Then click the Install Now button.
From there it will be like installing any other plugin. Simply activate.
UPDATE: If you were already using the UpdraftPlus premium plugin, you can refresh your add-ons, but most folks are never seeing any additional “clone” add on. They have told me that they just did the steps below and it worked.
No matter which scenario above you used, you should be ready for Step 3 on the instruction page linked above to enter your UpdraftPlus.com account info of email and password.
Then do Step 4 in their instructions to click the link for activate it on this site.
Then do Step 5 in their instructions for getting your Add On update and refreshing your plugin.
Once you activate the Add On, you should see a pop up that your Claim was successful and you can now use your purchase. (This is one of the things that you may not see if using the premium plugin.)
!!!! Important !!!!
Do not make any changes to your site of any kind during the cloning process!!!!!
After the migration is complete you can return to editing your site, but those changes will not display on the cloned site, of course.
You should still be on the UpdraftPlus Premium Extensions tab, but if not, go to Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups.
Click the Migrate / Clone tab.
Click the button for Create a temporary clone on our servers
Input your UpdraftPlus.com credentials again, if needed, and be sure to check the box to accept the Terms and Conditions.
On the left you’ll see your clone tokens available. I purchased 5 and it shows 7. I don’t know why.
On the right, your host’s current PHP version should be displayed. You can test at a higher PHP version now if you like, but I wouldn’t, as it may introduce other issues and I don’t know if it can be changed on the cloud service.
Do select your Clone region. If in the U.S. the choices are New York and San Francisco and it really doesn’t matter which.
Then click the Create Clone button.
This may take a while, depending on your site size.
A progress bar will appear at the bottom with the migration status.
I migrated a site that was about 2GB of disk space and it took about :30 minutes.
The time it takes your site will depend on the size of the site and your host speed and various internet connection speeds from your host to the UDP cloud storage.
Links Above Progress Bar
You will see links for accessing your cloned site. These will be emailed to you once the migration is complete.
NOTE: You do not need to stay logged into your site during this process, but you can, if you want to quickly monitor the migration process.
You can always return to Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups to monitor. The progress bar is on the first tab for Backup / Restore.
Once the migration is complete, you’ll receive 2 emails.
The first email will say the backup is complete and will be used to create the clone.
The second email will have all of the URLS for viewing and accessing your Dashboard, as well as other methods of access, such as SSH and SFTP logins.
The only link you need is for the Dashboard.
That will take you to your login page for the clone site.
Your normal login will work.
Make note of your automatic renewal dates at the bottom of that email.
It should be weekly until you run out of tokens – 1 token per week.
There is also a link there where you can also purchase more tokens if you want to extend beyond the 1 month period that you already purchased.
!!!! Important !!!!
The migration notification email is just to let you know that your site files have been transferred to the cloud service.
It will still take time for the service to actually deploy your site.
I visited the cloned site’s Front page using the link in the migration completion email immediately after receiving that email.
Below is what I saw.
You must wait for the site to be deployed prior to using it.
You can also check the status with the first link on that page, just below the logo.
Depending on your site size, this could take some time.
The 2GB site I cloned took another :15 minutes to deploy after I receive the email.
The Deploying site data wheel may never stop turning!!
So, don’t rely on that screen, no matter how many times you refresh it.
Simply go to your Dashboard link. If there is a login screen, then you’re good to go.
You will see this notice at the top of your Dashboard after you log in:
When you go to Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups, you may also see this notice at the top to Delete Old Directories.
These are from the backup that was taken to create your migration clone. Don’t worry about them here.
On the Migrate / Clone tab, you may also see a module to manage your cloned site at the bottom. Or, you may see the same message to clone a site that you see on your original site.
Either way, you’ll want to access your Updraft.com account directly to manage your clones.
Open your list or spreadsheet of plugins that talk to the outside world or 3rd party platforms.
Deactivate them on the clone site.
A few examples include, but are not limited to:
- Google Analytics
- Instagram or Pinterest Feed – for coming in or going out as auto posting
- Medium, Story Chief or any plugin that auto posts to a 3rd party
Deactivate any caching or performance enhancing plugins.
Be sure to purge caching plugins first.
If you only have 1 license, then your premium plugins may not work, as your cloned site is no longer on the domain with the license.
If you have 2 licenses, check to see if you can activate on your clone, and then later deactivate it.
!!!! Important !!!!
Some premium plugins offer a dashboard to activate/deactivate licenses.
But some require that you deactivate on the site to reinstate your additional license availability. So, if you delete this clone site without deactivating that extra license, you will likely have to contact their support to square it out.
Open the list or spreadsheet you made of your important pages and site functions.
Check that they all work on the clone site.
Make the following to test that all works well.
- Page – upload at least one new image too
- Post – include common elements to test, like a recipe or other special content
- Widget – perhaps a sidebar widget
We’ll do a methodical upgrade to WP 5.0 so you can easily identify issues as you go.