How do I clone a WordPress site without access?

Knowledge Base > Migration > How do I clone a WordPress site without access?

Cloning a WordPress site without access to the traditional admin panel or backend might seem challenging, but it’s possible with the right approach. Whether you’ve lost access to your WordPress admin credentials or you’re dealing with a site you didn’t originally build, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clone a WordPress site without access:

1. Identify Your Hosting Provider:

Before attempting to clone a WordPress site, determine the hosting provider. Different hosting services have various methods for accessing files and databases. The most common hosting providers include Bluehost, SiteGround, GoDaddy, and others.

2. Access File Manager or FTP:

Log in to your hosting account and navigate to the cPanel or equivalent dashboard. Look for the “File Manager” or “FTP” option. If using File Manager, you can directly access and manage your site’s files. If using FTP, connect to your server using an FTP client like FileZilla.

3. Locate WordPress Files:

In File Manager or through FTP, find the root directory of your WordPress installation. This is where files like wp-config.php, wp-content, and wp-admin are located.

4. Download WordPress Files:

Select all files and folders in your WordPress directory, excluding the wp-config.php file. Download these files to your local computer. If using FTP, you can achieve this by dragging and dropping files from the server to your computer.

5. Access the Database:

In cPanel, look for the “phpMyAdmin” option. This is where you can manage your site’s database. Identify the database associated with your WordPress site.

6. Export Database:

Within phpMyAdmin, select your WordPress database and choose the “Export” option. This creates a SQL file containing your site’s database information. Download this file to your computer.

7. Create a New Database:

If you’re moving the cloned site to a new server or hosting provider, create a new database on the target server. Note down the database name, username, and password.

8. Import Database:

In phpMyAdmin on the target server, select the new database and choose the “Import” option. Upload the SQL file you downloaded earlier.

9. Update wp-config.php:

Open the wp-config.php file from the cloned WordPress files on your computer using a text editor. Update the database name, username, password, and other details to match the new database.

10. Upload Files to New Server:

Using File Manager or FTP on the new server, upload the cloned WordPress files (including the updated wp-config.php) to the root directory.

11. Adjust Site URL (if needed):

If the site URL is changing (e.g., from to, update it in the database. You can do this in phpMyAdmin by locating the “wp_options” table and modifying the “siteurl” and “home” values.

12. Test the Cloned Site:

Visit the new site’s URL in your browser and test its functionality. Check various pages, posts, and functionalities to ensure everything works as expected.

By following these steps, you can successfully clone a WordPress site without access to the WordPress admin panel. This method is particularly useful when migrating or duplicating a site across different servers or hosting providers.

Common Questions

  • Why would I need to clone a WordPress site without access?

    There are various scenarios, such as losing admin credentials or inheriting a site, where you might need to clone a WordPress site without traditional access. This method allows you to duplicate or migrate a site without using the WordPress admin panel.

  • Can I clone a WordPress site without technical expertise?

    While some technical understanding is beneficial, our step-by-step guide is designed to be user-friendly. Following the instructions carefully will help even those with limited technical knowledge successfully clone a WordPress site.


  • Is cloning a site without access safe for my data?

    Yes, when executed correctly, cloning a WordPress site without access is safe. However, always back up your files and database before making any changes. This ensures you can restore your site if any issues arise during the cloning process.


  • Can I use this method to move a site to a new hosting provider?

    Absolutely. This method is particularly useful for migrating a WordPress site to a new hosting provider or server. Just ensure you create a new database on the target server and update the wp-config.php file accordingly.


  • What if I want to change the domain during the cloning process?

    You can change the domain during the cloning process. After moving the files and importing the database to the new server, update the site URL in the database using phpMyAdmin. This ensures your cloned site reflects the new domain.


  • Are there specific precautions I should take before starting the cloning process?

    Yes, before cloning, always perform a comprehensive backup of your site’s files and database. This ensures you have a copy of your site in its current state and can revert to it if anything goes wrong during the cloning process.