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Existing Projects

The majority of the Trellis documentation focuses on setting up new projects. If you are collaborating on, or taking over an existing project, the process is a little different.


This documentation presumes your project follows the Roots Example Project recommendations.

# Gather Information

To work on an existing Trellis project you need the following:

  • Git repository access
  • The Ansible Vault password
  • Permissions for provisioning and deployment
  • Your site's development URL
  • A database dump and a copy of the project's /uploads folder

# Git Repository Access

Roots recommends that Trellis projects be kept in private Git repositories. Make sure you have permission and access to the project's Git repository and any dependent plugin or theme repositories.

# Ansible Vault password

Trellis stores passwords and other sensitive data in encrypted vault files. Retrieve the project's vault password from someone who already works on the project.

# Permission for provisioning and deployment

If you need to provision this project's remote servers or deploy the project to staging or production, add your SSH keys to the necessary remote servers either by accessing the server directly, or by having someone who already has access add your SSH keys to the Trellis configuration and re-provision the server.

# Your site's development URL

Review the project's trellis/group_vars/development/wordpress_sites.yml and note its URL:

      - canonical: example.test # <-- this is the development URL

# Clone Your Project

$ git clone

# Ansible Vault

Determine whether your vault files are encrypted by looking at the vault.yml files in trellis/group_vars/

6237663637353638653266616562616535623465636265316231613331 etc.

If any of the vault.yml files look like the example above, follow the vault instructions to configure your Ansible Vault and vault password.

# Create Your Development VM

Run the following from any directory within your project:

$ trellis up

Confirm you can access the development site at the development URL noted earlier.

# Import the database

Retrieve an export of the current project’s database.


For easy access during the import process, place the database export in your local project’s site directory.

Run the following from any directory within your project:

$ trellis ssh development

Navigate to the web root:

$ cd /srv/www/

Import the database with wp-cli:

$ wp db import

If the export is not from another development environment, search-and-replace the site's URL with wp-cli:

$ wp search-replace http://example.test

# Import the Uploads

Retrieve a copy of the current project’s uploads directory and place it in your local project's site/web/app directory.


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