Support » Fixing WordPress » What’s the best way rebuild site using a new theme & keeping original site live?

  • I have a wordpress site that I’m not sure if I want to change or not. I would like to test the site out with a new theme but don’t want to delete the original until I know I like everything. What’s the best way to go about this?

    Also, would it be ok to just copy and save everything in my original site folder as a way to back up the site. Then I could just try out my new themes in the empty folder? If so, can I simply copy and paste all my original site files, store them in a folder on my hard drive and if I want the site back up at a future date, can I just paste the files back in?

    Just confused. Thanks to anyone who can shed some light.

    p.s. I know I can just add a new theme to my current site and switch between it and the new but this method doesn’t work because I’ve had too many modifications to my site.

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Can you install WordPress in a different directory from what you’re using now? If so then you can export/import your current posts, upload the new theme you want to work with, and play away with the copied version without making changes to your main one.

    Thanks Jessn. I can do that I guess. I guess I’m looking for a short step by step since I have no clue how to do that. This is what I would do, can someone tell me if I’m wrong:

    1) Buy a new domain name to act as the site name for my new site build.

    2) Create a new directory in my main folder to act as my new site build folder.

    3) Install wordpress in the new directory and install the new theme.

    4) Work on site until finished, including adding posts from original site to the new one.

    5) Once new site is completed, backup the old site using a backup plugin.

    6) Delete all files from original site folder and copy/paste all of the new files from the new file build folder over to the original.


    1) How do I fix all my broken permalinks?

    2) Is there anything else I should worry about?

    3) Can I simply delete all contents of a folder and just copy and paste like I mentioned above?

    Well, lets say your current WordPress website is on What you can do is install WordPress a second time in a subdomain. Then you would have one install at the root, and a second install in the folder /wordpress/. You don’t need to buy another domain name unless you want the second install to be a new permanent site.

    After you install WordPress a second time make a copy of your current theme files and upload those to your new theme folder and activate. Now your new install should look the same as the old, minus the posts and content.

    The log into your old site and go to “Tools”–>”Export” and download a backup copy. The log into the new and go to “Tools”–>”Import” and upload that backup. That should import most of your posts and pages.

    When you’re done making changes to your new theme then make full backups of the old, including template files and posts/pages, then upload your new template files.

    What about installing 2nd WordPress at http://www.yourdomain/test/ ?

    Export from Original site – Import into test site.

    Put new Theme on Test site and modify as wanted using the Imported data for test.

    When Test Theme works (assuming you are not changing the base WP code) copy the Theme from Test and install it on Original Site and activate.

    Then Original Site always has the most recent data, and if your users go up in revolt you can flip the site back to the Original look and feel in a couple of minutes (one site I visit changed their site and the users got out the pitchforks, literally)

    No need to move Original data and all links stay the same.


    It might be easier just to keep your existing theme live and then testing another theme as an admin using the plugin link below

    Thanks so much for the replies. I will see what I can do with the mentioned methods. Intimez, it appears that plugin hasn’t been updated in a long time but there is another similar plugin available. Some people are claiming the plugin causes errors so I may pass on it to be safe.

    Hi everyone, similar question… but a slightly different set up.

    I am making a website for a new client who doesn’t currently have wordpress as their cms. They are using good old html for their website. From the previous posts, I understand that existing wordpress websites can be kept live while the new wordpress theme is being worked on in a sub directly, but is there a way to keep a non wordpress site live while I work on creating the new wordpress site on the same hosting. Would it work the same way (just creating a sub-directory)?

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciate. Thank you very much.

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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