The latest version of DesktopServer version 3.2.8 for premium members includes the ability to import full backups from both iTheme’s BackupBuddy 2 and BackupBuddy Classic. BackupBuddy provides a convenient and clean method to easily backup your WordPress website and migrate it to another website or to your local desktop for development. Now DesktopServer makes local development even faster and easier with native support for BackupBuddy. In this article, I’ll show you how easy it is to use BackupBuddy to export your site and use DesktopServer to import and view a BackupBuddy archive.

While there are dozens of ways to import your live website into DesktopServer, there are some key differences to DesktopServer’s import abilities that you should be aware of: 1) DesktopServer uses different functionality from “import buddy” by leveraging native code for Intel and PowerPC processors (for both Mac & Windows) and in many cases is much faster then “import buddy”. 2) DesktopServer’s import routine has broader migration abilities that scrubs (search and replaces domain name definitions) in both WordPress tables and plugin generated tables, and WordPress theme files. Like BackupBuddy, you can adjust DesktopServer’s import process to omit scrubbing of select database tables in addition to files and folders.

Backup Your Website

Backing up your website with BackupBuddy is really easy. Simply go to the BackupBuddy menu in WordPress’ admin screen and select the sub menu “Backups” in BackupBuddy Classic or “Backup & Restore” in BackupBuddy 2. From there, you will be presented with a list of backup archives that you have created prior. You can download the backup by simply clicking the backup file title or create a new backup by clicking the “Full Backup” button.

Once you have the backup downloaded to your computer, you can use DesktopServer’s import feature to import either the BackupBuddy Classic or the newer BackupBuddy 2 website archive format.

Import into DesktopServer

Importing will allow you to create a new DesktopServer website from the BackupBuddy website archive.  To begin importing, launch DesktopServer Premium and select the last option titled “Export or import a website” followed by “Import an existing WordPress website archive”. You will see the import screen with a field for the import file.

Note for Macintosh users: The current version of DesktopServer opens as an Administrator with the default folder set to the currently logged in user. You can easily navigate files from the Macintosh HD:Users folder to locate your Downloads, Documents and Desktop folders which my differ from the Administrator’s Downloads and Desktop folder.

Clicking the import field will display the open dialog that will allow you to select the BackupBuddy zip file archive. Select the website archive you want to import. The remaining fields define the following options:

  • Site Name – Specify a site name to refer to your DesktopServer website. DesktopServer will replace the top-level domain name with the fictitious .dev (dot DEV) domain to ensure you are accessing a localhost website.
  • Site Root – This is a read-only field that indicates the location to place your WordPress website files for your newly imported website.
  • Browse – Use the browse button to specify a different Site Root to store your website files. Click the button to display a folder selection dialog window.
  • Customize scrubbing options – Use this check box to define custom scrubbing options or leave it unchecked to accept recommended settings.

You may change the domain name by altering the Site Name field. For security purposes DesktopServer will change the top-level domain to .dev (dot DEV). Clicking the next button will start the import process and your new website URL will be presented to you on the last screen.


With DesktopServer’s BackupBuddy compatible import feature, you can import your live website, complete with plugins, themes, configurations and settings. DesktopServer can empower you to redesign an existing site, or test out new designs and features in a safe offline copy for faster untethered development. You can learn more about BackupBuddy at the iThemes website or by visiting their online tutorials by clicking here.

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About Stephen Carnam
I’m a San Diego, California based computer programmer and graphic designer that has been consulting, developing, and maintaining web & software applications for well over ten years. My languages and interests include PHP, Java, JavaScript, 3D rendering/sculpting, and snow boarding.


  1. Carlos says:

    By doing this . It will generate the Dreamweaver file?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Stephen Carroll says:

      Correct. If you have selected “Enable Dreamweaver Support” when starting web and database services, then a dreamweaver.ste file will automatically be created in the site’s root folder on your harddrive. You can check if the “Enable Dreamweaver Support” is checked by using DesktopServer’s first option to “Stop or restart…”.

  2. lagoosbook says:

    Hi Stephen,.. Just wondering with free trial DesktopServer. There is no Dreamweaver.ste as you did mentioned. Does this Dreamweaver support only available for DesktopServer Premium? USD49.9 is quite pricy to me (South East Asia) especially to student and could you considering any discount?

    1. Stephen Carroll says:

      Hello Lagoosbook,
      Correct. Dreamweaver support is only available in the Premium version of DesktopServer. We do not currently offer discounts at this time. Because our product offering is apart of a service for Professional WordPress Developers, members are entitled to product and services including future offerings that fall within the duration of their membership purchase (within 1 year of purchase). I can tell you that with every release that contains new features, or new products and services on this site, the membership price will continue to go up to match our valued offerings.

  3. lagoosbook says:

    Hi, Stephen,…just a simple question. Why I couldn’t find Dreamweaver.ste after creating new site with DesktopServer (free). Do I need to purchase premium one?

    1. Stephen Carroll says:

      Dreamweaver support is only available in the Premium version of DesktopServer, as well as the advanced Import and Export features.

  4. AntlerVision says:

    Does this handle backups made with BackupBuddy that have a ImportBuddy password set when the back up is made?

    1. Stephen Carroll says:

      Unfortunately it does not, or at least it has not been tested! :-(

      I will be addressing new file formats in the coming weeks and a the next release will feature an installer with upgrade option to make updates quicker and more frequent from our end. Expect to see more releases with new features very soon!

  5. epiconion says:

    Will this work with BackupBuddy 3?

    1. Stephen Carroll says:

      Yes. DesktopServer will read and import native BackupBuddy 3 full site archives. While BackupBuddy includes its own migration tools, you can import a WordPress single site installation using DesktopServer’s import option. Support for ManageWP and other archive file formats will arrive in newer DesktopServer releases.

  6. siriusly says:

    So, can I import a site using the XML archive created with the export function built into WP3.4?

    1. Stephen Carroll says:

      Hi Siriusly,
      You’d actually use WordPress XML archive import function. That’s native to WordPress.

  7. siriusly says:

    To clarify my earlier question: Can I import a site using an archive created with anything other than BackupBuddy?

    1. Stephen Carroll says:

      Yes! You can import using Duplicator, or you can create your own using the documentent ZIP archive format. In the next release, we’ll be adding support for WPManage and a few other WordPress backup formats. You can find a list on importing here: