WP Twin is a script that lets you “clone” any WordPress site to a new WordPress install. On the face of it, that may seem pretty useless, but as it turns out, it’s actually rather excellent, for certain purposes.
In this article, I’ll quickly go over what exactly WP Twin does, what kind of stuff it’s good for and what kind of stuff it’s not so good for.
WP Twin Overview:
|Creator:||Jason Fladlien, Wilson Mattos|
What Exactly, Does It Do?
There’s actually a ver useful illustration of how WP Twin works, on the sales-page for WP Twin. So let me just grab that and comment it:
You start out with a blog that you want to clone and a fresh WordPress install on a new domain or directory (this can be on a completely different site, different server etc.). You then upload one of the script files into your original blog folder and open it up. This is very easy to do and takes just seconds, with an FTP connection or via your hosting account. When you run this file, you’ll simply be able to push a button to “clone” your blog and it will create a clone file for you, that you can save to your hard-drive.
Then, you copy another script file into the directory of your new WordPress install (again, takes just seconds) and run that. You upload the twin-file you got from the previous step and, once again, push a button to deploy the clone.
That’s it. Depending on the size of the blog you are cloning, this can take anything between a few seconds and a few minutes.
What you get is a perfect copy of your original site in the new location. WP Twin doesn’t just copy over some files from one location to another. Here are some things that I noticed, that make it more than just a copying tool:
- Automatically changes all internal links properly. So, if you had an internal link on the old site like this http://oldsite.com/interesting-page/, on the clone site it will automatically be: http://newsite.com/interesting-page/
- The above also applies to link-redirects. I was using a link-redirect plugin on RichQuickReview, with tons of links set up (alas, GhostURL didn’t exist yet, when I set them up). All of the link “cloaks” or link redirects were automatically updated for the new, IM Impact domain. I didn’t have to touch a thing.
- Automatically carries over all themes, all plugins, all theme-settings and all plugin-settings from the old to the new site. I had over a dozen plugins with customized setups running on one of the sites I cloned and they all worked perfectly after cloning, without needing to deactivate and reactivate or reconfigure any of them.
- Automatically carries over any subscribers or members you have, with any membership script.
And What’s the Point?
Ok, so it makes perfect, hassle-free clones of WordPress sites. But what for?
For me, WP Twin was perfect for the move from RichQuickReview to IM Imact. So, if you’re rebranding or otherwise moving domains, this is a very helpful tool. Apart from that, it can be a great time-saver for anyone who sets up WP sites routinely. If you build niche sites (especially those of the micro-niche variety, where you have to build tons of them), you probably have something of a ritual you go through after installing WordPress. You change the settings to match your preferences, upload and install your favourite themes, upload and install your favourite plugins, configure the individual plugins and so on and so forth.
WP Twin eliminates almost all of that, because you can create one “template” with all your settings and plugins ready and then simply deploy that on every new site you set up.
In addition, it can also be used to create backups of your sites. This, however, needs to be done manually with the standard version of WP Twin. Automatically scheduled backups are available as an upgrade for an extra $47.
I’m very happy I had WP Twin for the site move and it’s saved me at least a few hours in setting up various sites for marketing purposes as well as sites for my link network. Is it an absolutely “must have” essential tool? No, certainly not. It’s useful for anyone working with WP a lot, but it’s not something you should buy if you don’t have a clear idea of how you’re going to use it.
The only downside I can see is the price. I feel that at $97 it is a tad over-priced for what it does.
If you have a use for blog-cloning and the 100 bucks don’t hurt your bottom line too much, I give it a thumbs up.