WordPress website
WordPress website

Creating a Local Copy of Your WordPress Website: A Step-by-Step Guide

In this comprehensive tutorial, we’ll walk you through the process of creating a local copy of your WordPress website. If you’re considering migrating your WordPress site from another hosting provider or simply want to experiment with changes in a safe environment, you’ll find detailed instructions here.

Section 1: Benefits of a Local WordPress Installation

Before we dive into the technical steps, let’s explore the advantages of having a local WordPress installation:

  1. Testing Ground for PluginsCreate a safe playground to test new plugins before deploying them on your live website. This reduces the risk of causing issues on your production site.
  2. Problem IdentificationTroubleshoot potential problems in a controlled environment. With a local setup, you have ample time for error analysis without affecting your live site.

Section 2: Tools for Setting Up a Local WordPress Installation

There are various tools available for establishing a local WordPress installation. In this article, we will focus on two user-friendly options:

  1. Installing XAMPPTo set up a local web server and MySQL database, we recommend using XAMPP. Follow these steps:
    • Download XAMPP and install it in your desired directory (e.g., C:xampp).
    • Note: XAMPP is also compatible with Linux and Mac.
  2. Using an FTP ProgramYou’ll need an FTP program like FileZilla Client to download your WordPress files.
  3. Customizing with Better Search & Replace PluginTo adapt your local WordPress installation, we’ll utilize the Better Search & Replace plugin.

Section 3: Setting Up Your Local WordPress Installation

Now, let’s delve into the step-by-step process of creating your local WordPress environment:

Step 1: Download WordPress Files

  1. Create a new folder under C:xampphtdocs (e.g., wp-test-environment).
  2. Using an FTP program, copy all files from your live WordPress installation into this folder.

Step 2: Identifying and Exporting the Database

If you’re unsure about your WordPress database, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your IONOS customer account.
  2. Navigate to the IONOS App Center and check for your WordPress installation’s database name (up to the first point).

Next, export the database:

  1. In the IONOS customer account, go to Menu > Hosting > Databases.
  2. Click on the desired database and select Export.
  3. Save the exported database file to your computer.

Step 3: Installing WordPress Locally

Ensure that your local web server (Apache) and MySQL are running in XAMPP. If not, start them.

Step 4: Importing the Database

  1. Start the XAMPP Control Panel.
  2. Click on “Admin” for MySQL to open PHPMyAdmin.
  3. Create a new, empty database and import the previously exported database into it.

Step 5: Customizing the Local Database

Modify the database entries “siteurl” and “home” with the local URL:

  1. In PHPMyAdmin, click on the table ending with “options.”
  2. Edit “siteurl” to match your local WordPress URL
  3. Edit “home” with the same local URL.
  4. Ensure the changes are in the option_value column.

Step 6: Customizing Files

Update the wp-config.php file to match your local database:

  1. Open the folder containing your local WordPress installation (e.g., C:xampphtdocs/wp-test-environment).
  2. Edit the wp-config.php file and replace the following data:
    • DB_NAME: Name of your local database
    • DB_USER: root
    • DB_PASSWORD: leave empty
    • DB_HOST: localhost

Step 7: Customizing Links

Use the “Better Search & Replace” plugin to update links:

  1. Access your local WordPress admin area
  2. Install the “Better Search & Replace” plugin.
  3. Go to Settings for the plugin.
  4. In the “Search for” field, enter your online installation’s URL.
  5. Activate “All – Search and Replace!”
  6. In the “Replace with” field, input your local WordPress URL
  7. Click “Start.”

Section 4: Utilizing Your Local WordPress Installation

To work with your local WordPress installation, follow these steps:

  1. Start the XAMPP Control Panel.
  2. Ensure Apache and MySQL are running.
  3. Access your local site in the browser using the local URL

By following this comprehensive guide, you can create a secure local copy of your WordPress website for testing and development purposes, reducing the risk of disrupting your live site during experimentation and troubleshooting.

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