Everyone cheers a robust work ethic. But laziness deserves a little time in the sun, too.
The desire to duck drudgery drives countless innovations. If necessity is the mother of invention, then laziness is the sperm donor.
Life lesson: if you find yourself doing a common repetitive task that’s amenable to automation, then find out if someone has done just that. Or, if you have the chops, automate it yourself. (And share or sell it.)
Which brings me to my new Favourite Thing in the World: Duplicator, a free plugin for WordPress.
If you’ve ever had to move a WordPress installation from one server to another, you’ll be familiar with the potential headaches and pitfalls. For veteran sysadmins, it can be straightforward (if tedious); for self-taught civilians, it can be daunting.
And for both, it can definitely be drudgery.
Since I’m basically lazy, I spent a minute or two looking for a drudgery-avoiding solution.
Enter Duplicator. All that work of packaging up your files, exporting your database, changing server paths and temporary URLs—it handles it all admirably. With a few clicks, you can download your WordPress site and work on it on your local computer, then redeploy it back to the server. Or change hosts. Or create a mirror for your site.
I used this week it to bring Noise to Signal (which had been stubbornly refusing to upgrade a critical plugin) down to my MacBook. (A free utility called MAMP allows me to easily administer a web server on my laptop that’s very similar to the Linode server the site runs on.) I worked with a version of my site that included all the bells and whistles of the live version except one: an audience watching over my shoulder.
Downloading the site and getting it running was a piece of cake, thanks to some pretty decent documentation and video walkthroughs on the Duplicator website. And getting it back up and running again was almost as easy; Duplicator caught the few glitches that arose, and told me how to fix them. (One last tenacious little glitch that Duplicator couldn’t have anticipated was actually a conflict between two other plugins.)
Was it as easy as telling Siri to download my site and put it back again? No. You need to have some idea of what you’re doing, how to navigate your servers and upload and download files, and how to handle some basic troubleshooting (say, for file permissions).
But Duplicator took a big chunk of work out of my hands, and I’ll be a lot less apprehensive the next time I have to move a WordPress site around. A little laziness saved me a lot of time this week… thanks, ironically enough, to a hard-working developer.
(There’s a pro version of Duplicator, by the way, offering support, Dropbox integration and more features. Overkill for my needs, but you may find it’s just the ticket.)