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How to Move Your WordPress Website from Localhost to Cloudways Using WordPress Duplicator Plugin

Updated on December 8, 2021

9 Min Read
WordPress Duplicator

There is no shortage of environments and setups for WordPress website development. When developing a custom-coded website, however, you require a localhost environment along with the compatible PHP and MySQL, MariaDB versions with the live server. The best practice is to use the latest stable release. 

When developing sites through themes and page builders, it would be easier to build the site in a live environment and then just push it to the live URL. This can be easily done on Cloudways, which gives you a temporary URL with each app. You can then build a site before pushing it to the live domain by connecting the domain to that specific app. This avoids the time-consuming migration process. Here, you can see how you can connect the live domain to a site built on the temporary domain on Cloudways.

If you decide on doing it locally and the project is working as expected on the localhost, the next step is to move the project to an online host. Fortunately, WordPress offers WordPress duplicator solutions in the form of several plugins. These simplify the entire process of migrating WordPress sites from localhost to a live server.

For the purpose of this article, we will demonstrate how you can move a WordPress website from a localhost to a Cloudways managed server running a WordPress application. While there are several plugins that work very well (I encourage you to experiment to find the right fit for your requirements), for the purpose of this tutorial, we will use the WordPress Duplicator plugin.

Let’s roll,

WordPress Migrator Plugins

Moving your WordPress website manually is time-consuming, and there is some technical knowledge needed like updating URLs in SQL files, etc. You need to make sure that all steps are executed in the correct order.

Fortunately, there are several excellent WordPress migration plugins that take care of all the steps of the process and ensure that your website gets migrated from the localhost to its new Cloudways WordPress web hosting server without any issues.

Best Cloning Plugins

Here is the list of the best WordPress migrator plugins that you can try out:

As mentioned earlier, we will use the Duplicator plugin for demonstrating the process of WordPress website migration.

WordPress Duplicator: Local Server to Cloudways

In this tutorial, we will be going to describe how you can move your WordPress website from localhost to Cloudways using WordPress Duplicator plugin. Duplicator has a great 5 out of 5 stars rating on the WordPress repository and has been downloaded and installed over one million.

Why Use WordPress Duplicator Plugin

The Duplicator plugin provides WordPress administrators the ability to migrate, copy or clone, a WordPress site from one location to another.

Using this plugin, you can forget your worries about backing up the database, plugins, themes, and moving all these components (whether in full or in parts), because the WordPress Duplicator can do everything for you!

Even if you are a newbie with little to no knowledge, this plugin can help you migrate WordPress site from localhost to Cloudways server easily. However, you do need to know a bit about finding your database credentials and related information.

Benefits of WordPress Duplicator

  • Easily migrate WordPress websites from one host to another
  • Take manual backups of WordPress websites
  • Pull down a live site to localhost
  • Easy website duplication
  • Schedule backups at your convenience
  • Expert support available
  • Email notifications
  • Additional developer support
  • Connect to cPanel directly from installer
  • Database creation built into the installer
  • Integrated transfer to cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Amazon S3

What You Need for Moving WordPress Sites to Live Servers

To move your WordPress website from localhost to another server, you need to have two elements. Firstly, you must have a functional WordPress website developed on a local server on your computer we suggest (XAMPP or WAMP). Secondly, you should have a web hosting plan matching the resource requirements of a site and compatible with PHP and MySQL/MariaDB you’ve used on the localhost.

WordPress Duplicator Plugin Installation

Downloading and installing the WordPress Duplicator plugin is made simple by following the standard WordPress plugin installation.

Step 1: Download and Install Plugin on the Local Site

From your WordPress Dashboard, navigate to Plugins → Add New. Search for the WordPress Duplicator plugin in the top-right search bar. Next, click the Install Now button. After successful installation, click the activate button.

add duplicator plugin


The second less popular and time-consuming method is to go to the WordPress Plugins Directory and directly download the Duplicator WordPress Migration Plugin from there. Next, add the plugin manually to the WordPress website. For this, simply go to Plugins → Add New, and then upload the plugin.

After activating the plugin, you will see the Duplicator menu on the left side of your WordPress Dashboard.

Step 2: Export the WordPress Site

Now in this step, we are going to describe how you can package the WordPress files on your local computer using the WordPress Duplicator plugin so that these files can be easily moved to the live server.

Create a New Package

After activating the plugin, you will see the Duplicator menu on the left side WordPress dashboard. Go to Duplicator → Packages and click the Create New button to build a new package.

duplicator setting

This process has the following major steps:

1- Setup

Simply click the Next button to start the process.

packages setup

2- Scan

Click the Build button.


3- Build

When you are done with the setup process, you will receive two files; Installer and Archive. Download both files on your desktop.

installer & archive

Next, let’s move the website files to the live site.

Step 3: How to Take the WordPress Site Live

Now it’s time to transfer the WordPress site from localhost to live server by using the WordPress Duplicator plugin.

Move WordPress Website from a Localhost to Cloudways

First things first, log in to your Cloudways account. If you are new to Cloudways, you would need to sign up and then log into your account.

Once you are in, click the Servers tab where you can see all the servers that are active under your account. Navigate to the server you wish to migrate to the WordPress website, go to Server → Server Management and get the FTP Master Credentials.

master credenticials

Upload the Localhost WordPress Site to the Live Server

In previous steps, you downloaded the Installer and Archive files to your computer. Now it’s time to upload those two files to the live server.

Upload Installer and Archive File to Live Site

For uploading these files, you can use any FTP client of your choice. We prefer FileZilla, and thus suggest that if haven’t tried it out yet, go to the  Filezilla official website and download the latest build.

Next, provide the Host, Username, Password, and Port, and connect to your server via FTP.

Note: On Cloudways, you need to use port 22 to avoid issues.

Note: Before you go ahead with uploading archive files, make sure that you delete the wp-config file (located in the public_html folder).

filezilla login

Next, go to the Applications folder and to your application’s folder. Navigate to the public_html folder and upload the Installer and Archive files from your desktop to this folder.

It will take a couple of minutes because the archive files are generally large in size.

filezilla applications

Install WordPress Website on Cloud Server

Now, it’s time to run the installer setup on the live server. To do this, you need to go to your website address and add installer.php at the end. For instance,

Now that everything is good, the next step is the extraction of the Archive file.

Step 1: Extract the Archive

After going to the installer page, you can see some like:

extra archive

Click the Next button to move on.

Step 2: Database Setup

Now, you need to add the database details. To get them, go back to your Cloudways dashboard, choose your Server > Application and click it.

Under the Application Management, you will see database details such as DB name, username, and password.

application management

If all goes well, you will set the green lights beside two of the most important fields: Server Connected and Database Found.


Now, click Next to move on to the next step.

Step 3: Run the Installer

The Duplicator plugin works best with empty databases. Hence, before moving forward, you need to remove all previous data. For this, go to the Application Management screen and click the Launch Database Manager.

Next, the database window will open. You need to check the checkbox named tables to select all the tables in the database. Next, click the Drop button to remove the selected tables.

cloudways database

Click the Yes button.

install database

Step 4: Data Replacement

Once you click the YES button, you will be given a URL, Path, and Title automatically.

data replacement

Now, click the Next button.

Step 5: Test the Live Site

Once done, the final essential step is to test your live website. For that, the WordPress Duplicator plugin will ask you to follow several important steps.

Save Permalinks: Click on Save Permalinks button and you will be automatically redirected to your live site. Here, you can change the permalink settings as per your requirements.

Test Site: Click on the Test Site button and it will open the frontend of your live site. Here, you can test if everything is working as expected.

Security Cleanup: Lastly, Security Cleanup allows you to clean all the installation files and other files created by the Duplicator plugin during the transfer process. Before cleaning up, make sure that your website is properly copied and is working correctly.

step 4: download

Now it’s time to move on to the live site.

Testing the Live Site

In most cases, all plugins are deactivated when you move the WordPress site from a localhost to the Cloudways server. To reactivate all the deactivated plugins, navigate to Plugins → Installed Plugin, select all and then click the Activate button.

Plugin activation

If you have opted to use Breeze, the Cloudways WordPress cache plugin, now is the time to set up the recommended settings of the plugin. This is an important step in finalizing the process of a successful migration of your site from the localhost to the Cloudways managed server. These recommended settings better optimize the website and enhance the speed of WordPress websites.

Congratulations! You have successfully tested and moved your WordPress website from localhost to Cloudways – A Managed Cloud Hosting Platform.

Final Thoughts!

That’s it!

Moving a WordPress website from localhost to a live server requires some time and work and thanks to the amazing WordPress Duplicator Plugin it is a bit easier. If it weren’t for a WordPress migrator plugin, the process would be longer and harder. However, in just a few clicks, you can transfer all website content successfully from the localhost to a cloud server.

The aim of this tutorial is to show users how they can move their WordPress website from localhost to Cloudways. Keep in mind, the above method is not recommended for transferring content from other hosting providers to Cloudways. If you want to do so, I recommend users to use WordPress Migration Plugin.

If you encounter any cloud migration problems while transferring your website content, don’t hold back! Feel free to ask us and leave your questions in the comment section provided below. We would love to help and assist.

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Arda Burak [Agency Owner]

Aleksandar Savkovic

WordPress Developer, Lecturer, the product guy interested in Agile product development. WordCamp and WP/Woo Meetup speaker and Organizer, and Community Manager at Cloudways. Also, a Formula 1 and MotoGP freak.


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