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Jumpstarting Your WordPress Development Process with BackupBuddy

BackupBuddy can do more than backup, restore and move your WordPress sites. It can also be used to speed your WordPress development process, too.

Most developers begin with a default WordPress site, then add and customize a theme, install and activate plugins, then set up pages and a menu system. This process is repeated again and again for every site that is developed.

With BackupBuddy, you can package your base WordPress development install with all of your usual customizations so you can easily deploy when you’re ready to begin work on a new site.

Here’s how to use BackupBuddy to jumpstart your WordPress development process:

Step 1:  Install and Customize WordPress Settings

First, install WordPress on your web server or a localhost. Once WordPress is installed, you should make the changes you would normally make for a new website, such as changing permalinks and time formats.


Step 2: Install and Customize Your Theme

Install your favorite theme and activate it. Many web developers have a theme they work with regularly. (If you don’t have one already, we recommend using iThemes Builder and the new Air child theme as a great starting point for development.) If you have several themes that you frequently use, you can either install and customize each of your themes in this base package or make a base package for each theme individually.

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Next, make changes to the CSS and functions.php file of your active theme (or child theme). (If you do not normally make changes like this or do not know how, you can skip this step.) Start by modifying the CSS for your theme with any normal changes you usually make such as changing the default font or background color. Then, modify the functions.php file with any bits of code or shortcodes you regularly add.

Step 3: Install and Configure  Your Plugins

Most web developers have a handful of plugins that they use on almost every site. Install all of your frequently-used plugins and activate them. This is also a good time to add plugin registration codes, license keys or tweak any plugin settings.

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Step 4:  Add Sample Pages

While this step is not critical, it’s helpful to have several commonly-used pages with sample text content as you begin work on a new site. Having standard pages such as “About,” “Services,” and “Contact” can save time later. You can fill these pages with ipsum text or even a sample picture to give your site some content when you begin editing the styling later.

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Step 5: Create the Site Menu

Next, set up the default web site menu in the WordPress menu editor. Add your pages to the menu and set it as the menu that will display in your theme. If you’re using iThemes Builder, you should select the menu in the navigation module of the layouts you’ve preconfigured.

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Step 6: Package your Base Site

Now, a good base site has been created and is ready to be packaged up. Using BackupBuddy, create a complete backup of the site and save the zip file in a safe location or send the file off-site to your BackupBuddy Stash account.

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When You’re Ready to Build a New Site…

Later, when you’re ready to build a new site, simply restore the BackupBuddy file complete with your theme customizations, plugins, and sample pages. You’ve just saved LOTS of time and tedious work in the process.

A Final Tip – Keep Your Base Site Up-to-date!

When updates are made to a few of your plugins or to WordPress itself, it’s a good idea to create a new base site. Restore your existing base site package, update your plugins, themes and WordPress, then create a new zip file with BackupBuddy to store away for future use.

Watch the Video: Jumpstarting Your Development with BackupBuddy

Stay tuned for more BackupBuddy for Freelancers posts this week, May 13–17. We’ll be sharing more tips for client work and speeding up your WordPress development workflow with BackupBuddy.


  1. You guys have been watching me! I have been doing exactly this for the last 12 months, makes deploying a new site a breeze!

  2. I love you – but i would love you more if you could explain to me how you would go about using multisite in your workflow…Even though backupbuddy has backed away from trying to support and develop specifically for multisite – we who love multisite still could use a few pointers … I currently use backupbuddy for my dev .sites but never … never .. never use the base/root site as a dev site but only the subsites/directories…. this allows backup buddy to do its job and you don’t have to use beta functionality is my take from experience…

  3. Why, oh why, have I not thought of this before?!? Such a common sense approach. Thank you for pointing this out. I will do exactly that over the weekend. Installing WordPress and setting up the usual plugins, CSS modifications and the like, does take valuable time when done each and every time.

    I love Backup Buddy even more now!

  4. I just realized recently that this might make sense. Thanks for the reminder and the proof that it is indeed a good idea.



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