Step by Step Free Guide on How to Update WordPress Safely and Create a Cloned Copy of Your WordPress Site
This is the second post of Part I on free guide on how to update WordPress safely, I covered on my previous post just an introduction where I discussed when and why WordPress releases a new update and then I made a comparison between minor and major releases and finally how to upload your backup to Google drive using UpdraftPlus plugin
In my previous post, I covered the following topics
- Introduction to WordPress updates
- Minor release vs Major release
- Upload your backup to Google drive using UpdraftPlus plugin (optional, I always do it)
In this post, I will cover the following topics
And in the next post, I will cover the following topics
- Cloning an exact copy of your WordPress website to your local PC
- Installing the new WordPress core, plugins and themes updates on your local PC
- Testing and applying the new WordPress core, plugins and themes updates on your WordPress site (assuming everything went well and no issues were found on your local cloned WordPress copy running on your PC)
I will begin now with
Creating your WordPress backup using Duplicator plugin
Search for duplicator plugin, it should be the first one to show up on search results, click on Install Now button as shown belowMy powers are ordinary. Only my application brings me success. (Isaac Newton) Click To Tweet
Then click on Activate button, it will take you to the Plugins screen.
On the plugins screen, under Duplicator click on Manage button.
Duplicator will show up the Packages screen with No Packages Found message in the middle of the screen, click on Create New button
Duplicator plugin will create the backup name as today’s date followed by underscore and your website name, on the first package you will create you want to make sure not to check Archive Only the Database option under Archive folder shown below as you want to backup files and database, on the next backup you can select this option assuming you did not update your WordPress (no new plugins or images uploaded)
On the scan screen, you just sit and wait, no action from your end.
After the scan gets completed, click on the blue Build button.
Building your package will start, again no action from your end.
After your package gets completed, you should download 2 files, first file is called Installer (full filename is Installer.php) and the second file is a zip file which contains all the WordPress folder from your web hosting account.
You can also click on the One Click Download hyperlink but remember you have to first select Always allow pop-ups and redirects from your website as shown below, you have to click on the little icon with red dot on upper right corner.
Finally make sure to save your files under a known location as you will use it later.
Downloading and setting up DesktopServer
Now it is time to download an application on your PC or laptop called DesktopServer, just go to ServerPress website, this application will let you run WordPress on your local PC without internet connection, it comes as Premium version and a free one, I will use the free version here
Scroll down all the way to end of page and click on Free – Add to Cart button
This will take you to the checkout page as shown below, type your information as all fields marked with asterisks are mandatory, check the Agree to Terms checkbox and then click on the Free Download
This will download a file called dsl-win-v391 as of writing this post (new versions may be released later)
Double click on the Install DSL v391 to start the installation process
Click on the Continue button to proceed, you may get a message like the one I got during my installation, it says something like port 80 is being used by another application or service
Anyway I opened Services and I suspected that the World Wide Web Publishing Service was causing this issue and I was right
Other solution is to download the cPorts application from ServerPress itself as a zip file, extract it to a folder and run the cPorts.exe, this will help you detect Port 80 used by which application
After installation of DesktopServer gets completed, it will create a folder called C:xampplite, go to this folder to make sure that you got files there, I recommend to create an icon for DesktopServer application on your desktop.
Also I downloaded an add-on from ServerPress called Database-Archive, it creates files which contains all your databases and their configuration, in case you want to run it on multiple PCs or to restore it later in case of PC crash.
When you extract the files, copy the inner folder which is called database-archive as it comes with MAC (_MACOSX) and Windows versions and paste it under C:\xampplite\ds-plugins, remember to make sure that the database-archive folder which you are going to copy does not contain sub-folders but only the required files only.
Now run the DesktopServer exe from inside C:\xampplite or from your Desktop icon.
DesktopServer starts with 2 options, by default Yes, Start Apache and MySQL services is selected by default, notice that the Database Archive is there, this is the one which we copied earlier to C:xamppliteds-plugins.
Note: when I did not find it for the first time I ran DesktopServer application and I realized that when I copied the folder, it was [database-archivedatabase-archiveall files] so I only copied [database-archiveall files], just pay attention to this.
Next step, it will notify you that Start web and database services are completed, click Next button as shown below.
By default, the Create a new development website is selected, click Next.
It will ask you for the site name, I always recommend to create the exact domain name without the extension as shown below.
Note: Blueprint is a drop down list which contains WordPress versions, you can download latest version and add it to Blueprint drop down list if you want to (DesktopServer has WordPress-4.9.6 at the time of writing this post, while WordPress was on 4.9.8 version)
Anyway to update the Blueprint, download your WordPress version (whatever, it can be before 4.9.6) and copy the zip folder to C:xamppliteblueprint, in this case you have to close DesktopServer and start it again to refresh the Blueprint drop down list
When you click Create button as shown above, you will notice a list of steps taken to prepare your local copy of WordPress site then the word Done! right below, click Next button as shown below.
After installation gets completed, you will see a URL as shown below, I always ignore it as I don’t want to setup my WordPress from scratch, I just want to copy my existing WordPress site to my local.
For now to verify that everything is in place, open any web browser and type localhost in the URL, you should see the page loads something similar to the screen below.
To recap, I discussed above the following topics
- Creating your WordPress backup using Duplicator plugin where I talked about Duplicator plugins and how it creates a copy of your WordPress site with installation file (Installer.php) to be deployed again when needed
- Downloading and setting up DesktopServer as you will need this application to install/run your WordPress on your local PC.
On the next post, I will discuss Part II of the step by step free guide on how to update WordPress safely
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