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How to Clone a Website with PHP Files and Database

How to Clone a Website with PHP Files and Database

This article will shed light on “How to clone a website with PHP files and database”.

PHP and a database are used to create dynamic webpages. Dynamic web pages, unlike static ones, are parsed on the web-server, and static code is returned to the web browser.

This provides security and convenience but may complicate things.

If we want to clone a website: Things are not that straightforward.

Website cloning software allows you to copy a whole website to your Desktop PC or Mac, but that does not apply to dynamic websites.

You may get a clone of a dynamic website with software, but that will merely be the parsed code returned by the server.


How to Clone a Website with PHP Files and Database

There are 5 main steps necessarx to clone a website with PHP files and a database:

  1. Downloading Files to clone a website
  2. Downloading the Database
  3. Uploading Files to Another Server
  4. Uploading the Database
  5. Updating links in the Database

If you are to clone the website you will probably be looking for a mirror image of the parent.

Below I will guide you through the necessary steps, but there are few prerequisites:

  • You will need a good understanding of the Web Server you are dealing with.
  • You have an understanding of the languages used for dynamic websites, e.g., Php, JavaScript, and SQL.
  • It would be best if you had authentication to the server. Cloning from an unauthenticated server is subject to security holes, but that will merely be an act of immorality. Such training would never be part of our objectives.
  • You need to have the capability of downloading files from your server. You may downlod directly using the web interface or an FTP program.
  • You need to be able to download and edit the Database with an app like PhpMyAdmin.

If all of these prerequisites are fulfilled you are off to a good start.

If not this endeavor is not recommended. Now let us go through all of the necessary steps to clone a website using PHP and a database:


1.Downloading Files to clone a website

Dynamic website one created using Php, and a database comprises of different files and Database.

These files usually have .php extensions, but there could be images, Cascading Style Sheet files with extension .css, and JavaScript files with extension .js.

All of these should be downloaded to the machine. These could take time depending on the size.

Like FileZilla, an FTP program is recommended as downloading manually from the Web Interface will make the process tedious.

If the server allows compressing the whole of the directory and then downloading the zip, this could be the best option.

Once the files are downloaded, we can move to the next step, which is downloading the Database.


2.Downloading the Database

A database may be residing on some Database Management System (DBMS) like MYSQL. Apache server usually comes bundled with MYSQL.

It has an app, “Phpmyadmin,” which provides GUI to interact with the Database instead of writing queries.

This also allows exporting the whole Database along with all of the tables. The Database should be exported to the machine using one of such app.

The Database may also be exported using SQL language commands. Once the Database has been exported to the machine, the next step would be to upload files to the other server.


3.Uploading Files to Another Server

The files downloaded in Step 1 must be uploaded to another server. If the server allows extracting the compressed files, then uploading the compressed archive would be the best choice; otherwise, the archive must be extracted, and files are to be uploaded to the server using some program like FileZilla.

Uploading individual files and folders using the FileZilla may take time. Once the files have been uploaded, then we can go to the next step of uploading the Database.


4.Uploading the Database

Uploading the Database would require you to go to a program like Phpmyadmin and use the Import option.

It would help if you had a database already created with a similar name or different. You can recreate all of the tables by importing the file you’re exported in Step 2.

Once the files and Database have been uploaded, the website may run on that server, but there could be a problem.

We may need to change the structure of links in the Database. The Database may have links to different images, documents, and other files.

If we are using the same domain name on this server, then it’s perfectly fine. Otherwise, we would have to update the links in the Database.


5.Updating links in the Database

A database may be edited with a program like “Phymyadmin”. Authenticated users can change values in different fields.

Links stored in the fields could be updated to reflect a new domain name. Once the links have been updated correctly, the website would surely work.


The Downsides of Cloning a Website


Or can’t this whole process be automated?

It depends. If you are using some Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress and it has a good market share, you have the opportunity to automate the process without writing the extension yourself.

WordPress is powering up to 30% of the world’s websites and has a lot of free extensions developed. These extensions can be installed using the backend.

One of the plugins for migrating a WordPress-powered website is the free plugin “All-in-One WP Migration”.

In this article, I discussed “How to clone a website with Php files and database“. We hope this has been useful. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.