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Issue 'Clone' actually seems to be functioning more like 'merge'

Discussion in 'Plesk Extensions' started by Ian Bowden, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. Ian Bowden

    Ian Bowden New Pleskian

    Nov 25, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada
    I am a WordPress developer/designer that has seen much potential promise - and the avoidance of a number of tedious and time-consuming steps - in the cloning function within the WordPress Toolkit. And just to set the situation straight at the outset, I'm an end user and have no control over Plesk and its functionality. That's the responsibility of the folks I pay to host my site! I have joined this forum and posted this issue specifically because the people who host my sites can't directly respond to this with any authority or inside knowledge.

    People like me are constantly creating new WP websites, whether it be for playing around and testing or actually creating a site for a client that will eventually be moved to its final destination. In doing this, we like to create an ever-evolving "starter site" that contains the WP theme, plugins, and configuration settings that we then use as a source for creating new copied sites. We copy our starter site to a staging location, do some work on it, then send it off.

    Personally, my preferred way of working would be to create the starter site at mysite.com/starter and then clone it to mysite.com/newsite from there. That way, I don't have to wait for any DNS records to propagate to obtain access to the new site to work on it. However, this would seem to be a nonstarter for Plesk's cloning function because it refuses to work this way; it seems unable to consider that mysite.com/newsite is a suitable target.

    This leaves me with creating the starter site at starter.mysite.com, then cloning it over to newsite.mysite.com - and then waiting up to half a day or more to actually be able to get onto newsite.mysite.com because of DNS propogation. Oh well.

    In order that I might avoid this DNS lag problem, it seemed to me that today I could create newsite01.mysite.com and newsite02.mysite.com as reusable website containers, so to speak, and then repurpose those sites repeatedly for different projects. So, today I could use mysite01 for Client A's project and then tomorrow, clone starter over top of mysite01 and begin anew with a starter site for Client B, loaded with my theme, plugins, and configurations.

    What I have found is that, in this situation, cloning is not cloning - if you consider that term to essentially mean "overwrite" or "replace." If the starter site contains Theme A and Plugins B and C and mysite01 has Theme D and Plugin E leftover from a previous project, the result is mysite containing A through E! In other words, you end up with a lot of detritus in mysite01 that now has to be cleaned out. What would happen to the configuration specifics of a specific plugin if the one was on both the source and target remains to be determined.

    Of course, in the above example, I could have used Plesk to first obliterate mysite01 and then clone starter into mysite01, but I'm not sure of what that would do with DNS records. Stopping and then starting them up a few minutes later might be problematic - and I'm back to potentially waiting to actually do work on the site.

    In summary, it would seem to me that when the target domain is not empty of WP files, then a site being cloned into it is not really being cloned - it's being merged. Is this by design? Is there a way to actually totally overwrite what's there and make the source and target sites both exact copies? (Excepting, of course, URLs, database names, and such.)

    And, now knowing what you know about what I want to do, can you think of a better way to do so using Plesk or some other tool or method?