My latest at ProfHacker: Backup and Development with Installatron

A screenshot of cPanel

It’s no secret that we love WordPress here at ProfHacker. It powers this blog, and many of us use it for our own personal, professional, and/or course sites.

As with anything else digital, it’s important to back up your WordPress installation, and to check those backups regularly.

We’ve also noted that, when making significant changes to your site, it’s good practice to work in a development environment, rather than on a live site. So we’ve also covered how to set up a development environment on your computer.

The ability to manage one’s own backups either manually or with a plugin, and to set up and maintain a local development environment, are good skills to have. Still, not everyone has the time or the inclination to develop these skills — and sometimes, even those who have the skills just want to get a job done quickly.

Happily, there’s a tool available that makes it easy to accomplish a number of the tasks associated with maintaining and developing a WordPress site. It’s worth checking to see whether your hosting provider makes Installatron available.

If they do, you’ll find it in your cPanel, as shown in the lead image. Installatron can be used to install a number of different applications, including WordPress. If you installed WordPress independently, Installatron will give you an option to import the installation.

Once that’s done, backing up your WordPress site requires all of two mouse clicks. Cloning your site for development purposes is nearly as simple. If you want to clone your site to a subdomain in your webspace, you’ll need to create the subdomain. (Alternatively, you can clone it to a directory of the address you’re already using.) Once that’s done, it’s again just a matter of a couple of mouse clicks, and you have a fully-functioning clone of your site that you can experiment with.1

If you’ve tried Installatron, what’s your experience with it been like? Do you have other favorite tools for WordPress backup and cloning? Let us know in the comments!

[CC-licensed image by the author.]

  1. There is one important caveat: if you’re cloning a WordPress installation on which you’ve enabled Multisite, Installatron appears to clone the entire setup. The main site will appear at whatever address you chose during the cloning process. However, other sites in the network appear to retain the same address as the original, so I would not recommend doing development work on any but the main site. (I did my testing cloning to a subdomain; I haven’t yet had the chance to clone to a directory to see if that makes any difference.)?

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