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We have a site configured as . This site is built using custom site definitions and have lot of features attached to it. All are Publishing based site

Now we need to create a new stage copy as with the same data and the

reason for this is we are planning for a rebrand for this site with alterations in content What is the best way to accomplish this? Later we will configure a content deployment from this site to the new webapplication created in Production

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Backup/restore process should do the the thing. But it's necessary to perform restore to a separate content database. SharePoint doesn't allow two site collections with the same ID in one database.

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I think the best and simplest way is to create site collection backup and restore it on new url. It even will deploy libraries to GAC if needed.

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What will happen to the wsp references? will that reference be added to the newly created site? – Thomson Feb 8 '12 at 5:29
I don't know in details but I do it myself. I created a backup of site collection with some custom field types in lists and Visual Studio workflows in order to create second test environment. It works great although I had to redeploy project on new site collection via Visual Studio automatic deployment - something was broken and I'm not sure what it was. But the whole concept works quickly and fine from my experience. – Alex Boev Feb 8 '12 at 6:03
WSP Reference are based on web app. If they are not referenced you can activate it from the solution management. – user994521 Jul 16 '12 at 6:46

You might want to try exporting the entire site then importing the site into the new url. One of the reasons for doing this is GUID reference. I do not think the GUID references will come across the way you need them to with the backup/restore method. When you extract the site in its entirty, the GUIDs in the Requirements.xml file will be the same as your site along with all of your list, so nothing should break as far as list go. try running this script to export:

stsadm -o export -version 1 -filename yourfilename -includeusersecurity -url https://whereyouwantit -nofilecompression

the -nofilecompression will allow you to go into each xml file and make sure you GUIDs match along with the ability to quickly add or remove groups, users, or anything else you might want to change on the fly then run this to import:

stsadm -o import -updateversions 2 -filename yourfilename -includeusersecurity -url yournewurl -nofilecompression

give this a try.

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instead I would prefer stsadm -o backup command with site collection as the export command is not suitable for site collection. – user994521 Jul 16 '12 at 6:45

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