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There’s something about a great website that makes you endlessly spend time on it for hours. It might be the design, the valuable content, the user-friendly interface, or all of the above that makes it so fun to navigate. If you’re an entrepreneur who wants to have a similar website or web designer who gets inspired by these, the good news is that you can clone a website with a few simple steps these days. Before we get into it, let’s first discuss what website copying is all about, when you should do so, and how to clone a website free of worries. Whether you want to copy a WordPress website or choose the simpler route of cloning via Strikingly’s efficient method, we’ve got you covered.

What Is Website Copying?

Website copying can entail copying the design of the site or copying the files of the site. Before you think twice, we’re here to assure you that it’s completely legal and that you don’t have to worry about anything. Just keep in mind to not breach the IPs, copyright, patents, or trademarks of existing businesses. Doing so can run the risk of others taking legal action and ruin your business altogether. You may duplicate information, but it has its limits. Likewise, there could be similarities, but it shouldn’t be an exact copy. Feel free to duplicate anything public domain but always double-check to be sure.

Having said that, when you copy website via files, it would be simple to think that you just need to copy the HTML and CSS of the browser you like. And while this may be true, it would be bothersome to remove the branded coding one by one to suit your own website. Learning how to code websites in HTML and CSS can be an arduous task on its own, and these days, who has the time for that? While you can buy books that will walk you through HTML coding, sometimes it can be too complicated to fully understand the technical terms. The good news is that modern-day technology allows you to perform what were once unnecessarily long and hard processes more efficiently by using the right tools. One of them is Strikingly’s one-click copy site function, which allows you to clone a website easily with just a single click.

Strikingly Clone Website
Image taken from Strikingly

This copy website function can be seen in your dashboard where your sites are. Just go to the settings icon and click on “CLONE” to duplicate the site of your choice. This function serves multiple purposes, and it’s ideal for batch site building which can greatly enhance your website building efficiency. Do take note that cloned sites will not be published immediately, and if you make changes to your original site, it will not automatically edit the clone website. As you see below, you need to manually publish it before it goes live.

Strikingly Unpublished Clone

Strikingly Published Clone
Images taken from Strikingly

Strikingly also allows you to copy website pages if you need to by going to the Home tab, clicking the settings icon, and selecting “Duplicate this page” if you don’t want to clone the whole website.

Strikingly Duplicate Page
Image taken from Strikingly

Why Do You Need to Copy a Website?

Aside from aesthetic reasons, there are other scenarios wherein you need to copy website. Some of them are:

  • To back up your website - One of the most important things to do as a web developer is to back up your files and database. This allows you to be worry-free when you accidentally delete code or the server crashes. Just like having your documents backed-up into a hard drive, when you copy website data via cloning, it ensures that you have access to important web files at an offsite location. Whatever happens to your website, the data won’t be lost because you have a similar copy of your content and data with you.
  • To test compatibility - Just like any project before launching, you need to test whether the website components work flawlessly before you publish it. Compatibility testing is always recommended to check whether the code base is ready to be up and running on various software. When you copy website files, you can first test the new themes, templates, website plugins, or widgets to the clone website before making it live on your actual site. You don’t want to accidentally prematurely launch something that doesn’t work or isn’t compatible and run the risk of affecting brand image and losing potential clients.
  • To move to a new server - As a business develops, so does its online presence. The social media accounts of a company continuously need to be updated to stay relevant, and so does the business website. When you copy website files, you can use this to transfer a website to an entirely new server and get an upgrade. If you want to change web hosts, you can take up the site and set it up exactly as it was like on your old server. It is easier to copy the whole thing than just parts of the web files to avoid the risk of things malfunctioning and ending up with a broken archive.
  • To clone a website for a similar project - If you are in a time crunch and need to develop multiple websites at once for different businesses, it will be more efficient to copy website files and databases instead of building them from scratch every time. This means you can already use premade plugins configurations, customizable codes, and themes that can be interchanged with just a few edits. This not only allows you to worry about downtime, but it can also reduce errors and have a highly-accurate staging site to test on the go.
  • To take a website live - While it’s still best to first test new configurations offline before launching, it’s common practice for more experienced developers to build websites and take them live on the go. By cloning the website to the preferred local environment, there would be no more downtimes nor breaks during the transition. If you’re a web developer and you choose to take this route, you would still need to have a complete backup of your database.

How to Copy a Website

Now that you’ve read all the benefits cloning a website can do for you, you may be wondering what the steps are on how to clone a website. This time, we will use WordPress as an example, with the steps laid it out for you below:

  1. Move the web files

Whether you want to back up your website or create a new one altogether, the first step is to move all important files and folders to a safe location. This is done by opening the file directory and downloading all of them (WordPress users should open the public_html directory).

  1. Export and import database

Then, you need to export the database into a single archive. This is usually done using a duplicator plugin. The duplicator will backup your WordPress database, images, plugins, templates, and other files. If the files are too big, you can always compress them into a zip. Make sure to label them properly, so you don’t get confused. Once you’re done exporting and organizing the files, you can upload the compressed zip file to the new location. You should be able to do so by logging in to the database manager of your choice.

  1. Update file configuration

To make sure that the new website will work seamlessly, you should note that the files are readable, and this means that they have the same configuration. For WordPress users, the wp-config.php file should be updated so the new database can install it.

  1. Test the website

Once you’ve done steps one to three, you can now launch your cloned website to check whether it’s working properly. Have someone from the front end navigate your website so they could give constructive feedback, and you can consequently edit any mishaps from the back-end.

  1. Delete temporary files

After checking that the cloned website is running smoothly, you can not delete the installation files from using the duplicator plugin. This cleans up your stored data so that there aren’t unnecessary files should you choose to go back and re update the website.

By following the methods listed above, you can now copy website inspirations and tweak them to your liking. As you can see, to have a fully functioning and beautiful website doesn’t have to be hard — you just need to follow the five steps involved, which are moving the web files, exporting and importing the database, updating the file’s configuration, testing the website, and deleting temporary files. The majority of the time, people typically duplicate WordPress sites. If you don’t want to go through all the trouble, then the most straightforward way is just using Strikingly’s copy website function, which allows you to do so with just one click. If you need more clarification, feel free to ask any one of our happiness officers.