Downloading a wordpress site without cpanel or ftp access

One of my new clients wants me to move their wordpress site from their existing developer. I do not have cpanel or FTP access. When I try to install any plugin, it is asking for FTP info. Is there any other method to download the entire site and database?

I have wp-admin access.


  • Vinod Dalvi
    • WP Unicorn

    Hi @cornelius,

    I hope you are well today and thank you for your question.

    When I try to install any plugin, it is asking for FTP info

    It can be fixed by executing following command in the terminal using SSH or changing ownership using FTP but yes it will need FTP or SSH access

    $ sudo chown -R www-data:www-data wordpress

    Is there any other method to download the entire site and database?

    To download the entire existing WordPress site and database, you should have cpanel or php my admin access and FTP or SSH access. You can get it from hosting provide.

    Alternatively you can download the WordPress version from here same as existing site, install all plugins & themes and export all content from existing site from Tools -> Export or using any of the following plugin and import it in new site.

    Best Regards,

    Vinod Dalvi

  • faydra_deon
    • WordPress Warrior


    Do you, by any chance have Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 or later?

    If so, a company called Webassist that makes Dreamweaver extensions, has an extension for Dreamweaver called Site Import.

    Here’s a link:

    It’ll get you all the content from the WordPress site, images and text.

    I’ve used Site Import a number of times, and it’s amazing.

    It won’t get you what’s in the database. If the goal is just to get the content out of the other developer’s hands, then this will do it.


  • faydra_deon
    • WordPress Warrior


    You’d need the path to log into phpMyAdmin, and then you could put in the database username and password to get to the database tables.

    If you could get to the WordPress Dashboard, then you could install Snapshot, which would duplicate everything, including the plugins, themes and the database tables.

    You could set your destination folder to Dropbox to get the snapshot file to save to your computer and not to the developer’s server, and then you could repoint her domain, no a fresh install of WordPress, install/activate Snapshot on the fresh install and then restore the Snapshot that you created from the site she has now.


  • faydra_deon
    • WordPress Warrior

    @wouter Jan Kok:

    To me, it sounds like the client’s current developer is holding her site “hostage,” and she’s trying to get it out of his/her control so she can work with someone who is less of a control freak.

    The very fact that she doesn’t have admin access to her site gives me pause and makes me think the developer has cut her out so he/she can keep the client from going elsewhere.

    I’d say it’s extremely bad form to keep a client from having full access to his/her site. If it’s because they’re hosted on your account, then don’t host people on your account. Make them get their own hosting, and give them access to their site.

    Then again… we both could be wrong. I’m choosing not to assume that @cornelius_butler is doing something underhanded, but that he’s trying to help someone out who’s in a bad situation with a less-than-savory developer.


  • cornelius_butler
    • DEV MAN’s Mascot

    Faydea you are 100 percent current. Her current developer won’t give her access to anything. She doesn’t have cpanel or FTP access. She has to contact him to even have an email account setup~ She came to me because it has been an emotional roller coastter for her and I’m trying to help her get through it. She knows i’m a techie and will figure out a way to get her back what she has already paid for but can’t have access to.

  • Clay
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    The problem is that a lot of so called developers will have their clients choose their own domain name but the developer buys it and hosts it so even if you do get the site information they may have to get a new domain name.

    That being said, your client has several options. Ask for the current developer to release the information and domain name for a price. A common problem is a lot of clients will select a developer and then find something else that is cheaper. So the client will just drop the developer and go else where. In order to prevent that they do and will hold their clients domain and content hostage. Just be open and ask them what a fair price would be to get the information so they can move on with their project.

    Chances are they are going to ask a high amount hoping the client pays.

    Option two.. Im sorry to say this but Start Over with a new domain name.

    If you have a contract with the developer you may just have to start over depending on the contract.

    I am not sure if an attorney can get that information for you. I do all I can to educate clients on what they need to get from a developer to protect them but most of the time its to late.

    on the other hand there are site copiers out there. I do not advocate this practice as a lot of people use them to just steal other peoples work, therefore I will not list them.

    Good luck with your project but if I were you I would just have the client be honest. if not just start over chances are they will dump the domain and you can have godaddy watch for it as it expires build on a new domain and then point it back when you can buy it again.

    hope this helps.


  • faydra_deon
    • WordPress Warrior


    Apologies for the delayed reply. I was on a 7-day cruise. I wasn’t ignoring you.

    It’s okay about misspelling my name. We all make mistakes.

    Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you help your client get her site back into her control. I totally dislike when developers hold sites hostage. That’s just so wrong!


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