How to Move a WordPress Site to a Local Host Using Duplicator Plugin

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Duplicator is a WordPress migration plugin that makes it easy to copy a website site from one host to another without messing with the command line.

Duplicator works by creating a secure package of the current WordPress website, which you can then restore anywhere you prefer. This approach is effective for both website backups and WordPress migrations.

Duplicator is powerful enough to migrate websites up to 100GB in size.

In this beginner-friendly tutorial, I show you how to move a live WordPress site to localhost using the Duplicator Lite plugin.

WordPress Migration Using Duplicator Step-By-Step

Create a package

To create a package, access your WordPress dashboard and click Duplicator > Packages. This action opens the Packages management dashboard. If there are any previously created packages, they will be listed in the window.

Create a new package by clicking on the Create New button. This action will bring up another screen displaying the specifics of the package to be created.

You’ll see a name field where you can edit the name of the package, as well as the complete path to the storage area of the package. By default, the zip file is stored in the wp-content folder of the WordPress installation.

You can configure storage options under Storage settings in the Duplicator dashboard. Duplicator Pro offers many more storage options, including various cloud storage services.

Scan system settings

Moving on, click on the Next button to proceed to the next step of our package creation. This is the scanning phase where Duplicator scans the underlying settings to ensure everything is set for our package creation.

Once everything is set, the build process starts in the next step, which is triggered once you click on the Build button. The process typically takes about a minute to complete.

If the build process goes smoothly (as it should), you should see a status page like this:

Download the package files by clicking on the large blue buttons. Whether you download the files separately or as a single zip file, they will still be extracted as individual files.

Create empty database

We need to create an empty database where Duplicator will import the data from the archive and then update the new database with that data.

You can use phpMyAdmin for this; simply launch the phpMyAdmin dashboard and create a new database in a few clicks. You can use the default root user credentials:

user: root

password: ‘ ‘

host: localhost

If you’re using Laragon, use HeidiSQL to create an empty database and then create a user for that database with all privileges granted: in the Laragon dashboard, click the “Database” button to launch the HeidiSQL client.

Run commands to:

  • Create a database
  • Use the newly created database
  • Create a database user
  • Grant all privileges to the user

For this tutorial, I created a database called “duplicator” and a user called ‘dup1’ as follows:

CREATE DATABASE duplicator; /* create a database called duplicator */

USE duplicator; /* select duplicator database to work with from a list of available databases */

CREATE USER 'dup1'@'localhost' identified by 'dup1000'; /* create a user called dup1 with password dup1000 */

GRANT ALL ON duplicator.* TO 'dup1' @ 'localhost'; /* grant all privileges to the database user dup1 on localhost */

Launch Installer

Now that we have the installer and backup files for our WordPress site downloaded, we need to place them in the right folder and unpack the backup.

You have three options here as shown in the build report: option one is a fresh install in a new directory; option two is overwriting an existing WordPress install, and option three is importing the archive file and overwriting an existing install (requires Duplicator Pro).

For this tutorial, I’m installing my backup in an empty folder.

Since I’m using Laragon as my local development environment, I’ll create a folder in the “www” directory and name it “duplicator”. Then, I’ll place the installer and zip files in that folder. I’ll then type this in the browser: “127.0.0.1/duplicator/installer.php”.

Perform requirements check

Once you activate the installer by typing the path to the archive in the browser, Duplicator takes over and starts the restoration process.

The plugin will initiate the first step in restoring your WordPress site, and you should see a setup page on the screen like this:

What happens here is that Duplicator takes the database user credentials and establishes a connection. Then, it checks to validate that all basic settings of the new database match with those of the old database.

There are minimum requirements that must be met for the restoration to be glitch-free. These are indicated with a green pill where the requirement is met, as shown in the image below:

Extract files and restore WordPress

Now you’re all set to proceed. Simply accept Duplicator’s terms and conditions and click the Next button. If there’s already a WordPress installation where you’re trying to extract the archive, Duplicator will promptly display a warning message.

You will then be prompted to use the manual extraction process. While this may be inconvenient, it prevents accidental overwrite of an existing site.

The final step is to perform a search and replace the relevant URLs, and then delete the installation files.

Thankfully, this final step doesn’t have to be manual as it is enabled by default, and you should leave it that way.

With the above step, Duplicator has finished restoring your website.

And this here is the success screen you’ll see when you log into the dashboard.

You’ve successfully restored your site using Duplicator.

Tips to make your WordPress migration seamless

Backup your WordPress site before migrating to a new host

WordPress migration can go wrong for any reason and you end up losing important parts of your website. No matter how you move WordPress to a new host, start by making a backup of the website and save it somewhere reliable.

Use trusted tools

The best WordPress migration plugin is one that works seamlessly every time. Duplicator has been around for many years and is a proven WordPress migration tool.

Use expert WordPress help

When all is said and done, it is best to rely on a WordPress migration service to copy WordPress sites from one host to another.