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[Resolved] Any progress on cloning main site?

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  • Plugin Author Never Settle


    We feel your pain! We actually had a project ourselves recently where this would have made a huge difference for us too. This is a crazy busy time for us, but this request is high on our list. Thanks for the feedback and letting us know it’s something you need too!

    Thanks for the info. I’ll stay tuned.

    Did a workaround by importing a copy of the single site before I enabled multisite.

    I vote for this feature too, would be extremely handy

    I thought it is just me. Does this really not clone the main, default site????? This is weird, right? I mean, isn’t this what we all want, to clone our main site to have an exact copy of it and then do our modifications? Hmmmm……..

    Plugin Author Never Settle


    We hear you – loud and clear, and completely get it. Unfortunately the Multisite database structure does not lend itself to automating cloning on the main site. All subsites create new tables that are numbered with the site ID. However, the main site’s tables are not numbered and are mixed in with other global network tables. It gets even more complicated when other plugins install there own tables. There’s no simple way to know what tables in the database should be cloned or not for the main site whereas it is very straight forward for subsites because they are numbered with the site ID.

    Also, it would be interesting to have a survey on use-cases. There are many scenarios where you would not want to clone the main site. It seems more common that the main site would be informational in nature describing what the network is about, and then there would be one or more template sites that would contain a different set of standard plugins / content as the starting point for member sites. How often would you want member sites to contain the same theme / content / structure / etc. as the main site?

    Regardless, it’s a challenge we still intend to crack. But no estimate on the solution. It’s much better to acknowledge the limitation than to have a feature that is highly unpredictable depending on the high degree of variance in all the different environments and plugin combinations out there. Hope this helps quantify the issue. Thanks!

    Just a note. While it’s not as quick as cloning, exporting (using the WP export feature) from your main site pre converting to multisite and then importing into the first subsite worked well for me. I was surprised at all the info that came over, even all the fields from All in One SEO.

    After that you can clone away.

    Thanks Never Settle for explaining the problem-it does sound complicated. I can see that even WP updates might break the code, if they install a new table or delete an old one etc.

    Also thanks to flojnel- I saved an export before setting up the multisite, so that might be handy. I am currently redesigning the theme, so will test when I get to the cloning sites stage.

    Plugin Author Never Settle


    REALLY appreciate the dialog everyone! This also helps us get a solid feel for the kinds of things that would have the biggest impact / benefit at large. Just wanted to say keep the comments coming as they keep us inspired to tackle challenges like this. We really do want to solve this and will post any updates on this feature to this thread.

    Plugin Author Never Settle


    Thanks for all your patience with this issue. There were a lot of hurdles getting this functionality to clone the root site to work safely / reliably. We are getting close, and if all goes well with final testing we could have an update out the door in a week or two that should finally support this.

    One of the issues complicating it is that plugins installed and designed to function at the network level (like BuddyPress) create tables that the Cloner would also mistake as Site ID:1 tables and this would lead to instant DB bloat. So we’ve had to build a lot of special cases to handle root site cloning that are never issues for sub sites. When we initially release the update it will support the more popular / well-known plugins that could affect cloning this way. However, the multisite ecosystem is vast, and it’s likely that there will be scenarios that will still cause undesired issues when trying to clone root sites. Please know that cloning the root site has additional risks because of the many differences in the DB structure compared to subsites. The more familiar you are with the DB structure and how things should look in your sites the easier it will be for you to catch any issues that we haven’t foreseen particularly with various plugin combos, and we’ll need the community’s help to identify what additional special cases we need to account for in the root site cloning code.

    We’ll update this topic when the new version is available, hopefully soon!

    Team NS

    Plugin Author Never Settle


    It’s OUT and available for immediate update – Main Site Cloning support in the new release of the Cloner! Please read the in app warning: it’s a complex feature under the hood and we have tested thoroughly but we can’t anticipate all the different environment quirks out there. Backup your data and files and/or test in a non-production environment as close to identical to your live system as possible.

    You can read more about the new version here:

    Thanks for your patience and we hope this helps everyone who has been waiting for it!

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
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