How to Duplicate Your WordPress Database Like an Expert

As a webmaster with over 15 years of experience, I know first-hand the importance of being able to duplicate a WordPress database. Creating a copy of your live site allows you to experiment with changes in a safe sandbox environment.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through two easy methods to clone your WordPress database using phpMyAdmin. I‘ll also share some pro tips I‘ve learned for managing duplicated databases efficiently as a site owner.

The Benefits of Cloning Your Website‘s Database

Here are some key reasons you may want to duplicate your WordPress database as a webmaster:

  • Test updates and theme changes – Make tweaks on a staging copy before updating your live site. No more worrying about breaking things for your visitors!

  • Troubleshoot problems safely – Duplicate your site to test solutions before applying them to your production database.

  • Migrate to a new host – Move your site to new hosting while keeping the old one live by cloning your database and files.

  • Back up your site – Create a quick backup by duplicating your database. Restore it if your main database gets corrupted.

  • Work on custom features – Develop new functionality on a copy before going live. No need to disturb your current database.

According to WPMUDev, over 52% of developers clone their websites to safely develop new features. Duplicating with phpMyAdmin saves you time versus re-installing WordPress from scratch.

Method #1: Cloning Your Database in phpMyAdmin

This method creates an exact duplicate of your WordPress database with just a few clicks:

  1. Login to your hosting control panel and navigate to the phpMyAdmin icon. Look for it under the Databases section.

  2. Select your live WordPress database from the left-hand menu. Click on the Operations tab at the top.

  3. Scroll down to the "Copy database to" section. Enter a descriptive name for your duplicate database like "staging" or "dev".

  4. Check the boxes for "Structure and data" and "CREATE DATABASE before copying". This clones your existing structure and data.

  5. Click Go. phpMyAdmin will now duplicate your database.

Once finished, you‘ll find your cloned database in the left-side menu. Everything should look exactly the same as your live database.

Method #2: Export and Import Your Database

If your web host doesn‘t allow direct cloning, don‘t worry! You can export your database as a SQL file and import it into a new database:

  1. In phpMyAdmin, click Export on your current database. Choose "Custom – display all options".

  2. Scroll to Output and select "Save output to a file". Leave other settings as default.

  3. Click Export. Your browser will download the SQL file containing your database data.

  4. Create a new empty database in your hosting control panel‘s Databases section.

  5. In phpMyAdmin, access the new database and click Import. Select your downloaded SQL file.

  6. Click the Import button. All your WordPress data will be imported into the new database.

While this method requires a few extra steps, it accomplishes the same end result – an identical copy of your site‘s database.

Expert Tips for Managing Duplicated Databases

Here are some pro tips from my experience for working with cloned WordPress databases:

  • Name it properly – Give your duplicate database a descriptive name like "staging" or "dev" to differentiate it from your live database.

  • Limit user access – Only allow admin user access to duplicate databases as a security precaution. Don‘t let subscribers or customers into copies.

  • Clean it up routinely – Optimize and clean up duplicate databases regularly to keep them running lean and efficient.

  • Delete when done – Remove duplicated databases when you no longer need them to avoid clutter and resource overhead on your host server.

  • Automate database clones – Use a dedicated staging plugin like WP StageCoach to automate cloning your live site on a schedule.

Pros of Staging Plugins Cons of Staging Plugins
Automate database + file cloning Cost money for premium features
Schedule recurring clones Require configuration
Sync content from live to staging Use more server resources
Easy clone installation Can clone entire site when you only want database

Final Thoughts

As you can see, duplicating your WordPress database is easy using phpMyAdmin‘s cloning and export tools.

Cloning your live database allows you to freely test changes in a safe sandbox environment. I hope these phpMyAdmin methods and pro tips help you easily create WordPress database copies for all your testing and development needs.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help out fellow webmasters.

Written by Jason Striegel

C/C++, Java, Python, Linux developer for 18 years, A-Tech enthusiast love to share some useful tech hacks.