Staging/Cloning Issue With Serialized Data In WordPress

When creating a staging site, the rewriting of urls does not seem to be taking into account serialized data in WordPress. The serialized data is corrupted when the domain length changes, but is not updating the variable in the serialized string.

For example:


when changed to


would corrupt the serialized string because the length is not being updated as well.

In my case, I am using Advanced Custom Fields (which is widely used in the WordPress community), and the link field data is being wiped anytime the urls are replaced, as is the case with staging sites, cloned sites, or updating the domain etc.

I love the staging feature, as it allows me to easily spin up a site to make changes and show my clients before going live… but the missing data causes a bunch of problems that only confuses my clients and causes usability issues as they’re testing out new features. Any help with this is appreciated!

Yes Ryan, you are quite right.

Nor do they have correct search and replace within serilaized data on the migration tools. It is an issue mentioned many times in feedback. For migrations I use Better Search Replace (Delicious Brains) to fix this issue.

I am not sure that they think things through very well when planning development flows.


I appreciate the suggestion, that’s actually what I’ve used in the past. I was just hoping that their staging feature would truly be an all-in-one solution, but this is a serious flaw.

Thought I finally had found the perfect host with Cloudways. To be fair, their server infrastructure is quite nice, but I’m quickly finding that the support is unable to properly understand and address these issues.

Such a shame… after reading through this forum I’m getting more and more discouraged. Now thinking of just being my own sysadmin, building a custom server stack on Digital Ocean, and sacrificing the pretty interface and convenience.

I’m looking at SpinupWP (actually by Delicious Brains themselves) as a possible alternative.

Takes a different approach and sounds like you, similar to me, don’t need the hand holding that Cloudways purportedly offers, but I found their replies to be pretty prompt so far and to the point. However if you only have one server it may not makes sense from a pricing perspective.

I am trialing them at the moment and like the fact that it provides much of what Cloudways offers, however with the ability to directly manage the cloud services and additional benefits they can offer (ie. AWS users can get the benefit of 62k sendmail per month for free), and thus get the direct savings benefits as your hosting scales (Cloudways pretty much doubles the raw cloud hosting pricing).

Hello All,

Issue regarding serialized data while staging/cloning the WordPress site has been resolved by our DevOps team. Please test and report any issues.

Ibad Rehman
Community Manager

1 Like

Can confirm this is working now! Was excited to see this in my inbox this morning as this was a key piece of functionality I was looking for before fully making the switch to Cloudways.

You really pulled through on this one and restored my confidence. Thank you!

I appreciate your prompt feedback and thank you for trusting Cloudways. :slight_smile: