How do you setup your base WP installation for cloning? to save time setting up new sites

(Rob) #1

Hi WP developers
I have a need to create a base WP installation, a template. I mean a basic WP site that has common plugins already installed and preconfigured. This will save me time when I want to create a new site and don’t have to start from scratch. I’ve done this before, using the WP Duplicator plugin if remember right.

Anyways just wanted to see how everyone else does it and if there are any tips you would like to share.
What plugin do you use to clone your base WP template installation?
Any other tips or advice?


Start using WP-CLI. Nearly every major WordPress project is building add-ons, but even if they weren’t, WP-CLI is the hammer in a WP dev’s toolbox.

To install WordPress to a current directory:

wp core download

Since you are likely installing on a VPS, that is super fast, and you can then install a bunch of plugins like:

wp plugin install jetpack wordpress-seo disable-google-fonts

That will install each of those from the public repo, but you can check the plugin docs for installing from other sources, such as zip files or a git repo.

As for setting up a site, my workflow is:

  • VVV (plus VV for new site creation) - full, virtualized WordPress instances (that means they are contained, and can’t mess with my system). So I build my sites locally, and adding plugins or themes is normally just copying them into the correct directory.
  • WP Migrate DB Pro - once the local site is ready and configured, sync this up to production.
  • scp wp-content/ remotehost:/path/to/wordpress/wp-content - copies all the theme, plugin and upload files to where they will live online.

I know that looks like a lot, but once it is set up you don’t really need to worry about it, and it lets you develop anywhere your laptop can go, and then is ready to be moved over in place when you are ready for production.

For custom themes and functional plugins, I use WP Pusher, and webhooks to notify the sites, so I develop in a dev branch or something, but all pushes to master are also synced to its respective site, no extra steps for me.

With this workflow, starting a new site takes me about 5 minutes, most of which is spent making a cup of tea while VVV is installing a brand new, isolated WordPress instance for me. :slight_smile:

Network's Themes' Node Module Bloat
(Jeffrey Carandang) #3

+1 for WP CLI if you’re comfortable with using SSH :slight_smile:


(Yash Chandra) #4

If wp-cli is not an option for you, then look into using the duplicator plugin. It is awesome.

(Leland Fiegel) #5

You could make an “app” with ServerPilot. Just upload WP and all the plugins/themes you need to the app folder, with a MySQL database to go along with it.

Whenever you spin up a new server, just use the app you created as a base. No need to mess with installing WordPress + Duplicator and then uploading a large backup file to “restore” it, etc.

A little bit of a learning curve, and it will only work on “cloud” hosts like Digital Ocean or Linode, but I prefer it to any plugin-based solution.

(Rob) #6

Thanks, I’ll review these later and reply. I’m actually on a SiteGround shared hosting and will eventually move up to a VPS.

(David McCan) #7

I use WP-CLI for most local installs. I’m planning on setting up a model site and then using All in One WP Migration to clone for new setups.

(Rob) #8

I noticed my typical WP “base” consists of:

  • Several default pages (about us, contact us w/ contact form already setup, homepage)
  • Main menu + footer menu setup with general links.
  • Several key plugins (some available on the WP directory, some premium ones) AND their setup options pre-configures.
  • 1 specific premium theme I use for just about all sites.

I think some of the tools mentioned are better to try and capture all of this for a cloning process than others.

WP-CLI - I’m vaguely aware of but from my understanding it won’t take care of some things such as cloning plugin settings, installing premium plugins not available from the WP directory, installing my premium theme?

Cloning plugin / Duplicator plugin - Seems this would do the trick, all I have to do is keep my master WP copy updated and tweak it as needed, then simply clone it. Yes, there are additional steps such as creating the database before hand, then deleting Duplicator (or keeping it if needed for backups).

Server pilot - @leland this option is new to me. I’m not on a cloud hosting yet, only using shared account for now. Wonder if I could clone plugin settings as well.

@ychan Yes, I’m actually a fan of Duplicator plus their support is GREAT!

@maiki and @phpbits and @DavidM seems like WP-CLI is popular, thanks for recommendations. Am I right about its limitations for my case?



As for cloning settings, you can do anything with WP-CLI that you can do using /wp-admin. But you’ll need to read the docs to understand how.

Also, be aware that “cloning” and “duplicating” are marketing terms. If you are searching for them while considering better tools, you aren’t going to get the information you need. It would be better for you to quote a bit of text from a doc and post it here for clarification, than to assume something doesn’t work.

There have literally been millions of people before you that had these same challenges. :slight_smile:

(Laurent Vergnaud) #10

If you have a bit of time to learn WPCLI it’s definitely worth it.
If you want a more easy solution, we provide that feature on Just create a site and clone it for each new project.
We won’t charge the source site and we don’t charge neither during development.
Dont’ hesitate to contact me if you want a demo!