Last updated on August 1st, 2018 at 06:51 pm
Moving to a new hosting account can either be a pleasurable or terrifying experience . It’s kind of like moving into a new home. You hope and pray that the pre-inspection caught all the flaws before you signed the contract. If not, then you’re screwed and all the expenses come out of your pocket to get them fixed.
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Unfortunately, as your blog starts to grow, you may find yourself moving to a new hosting account. (which can be a good thing, because it means that your blog is growing and making money) Of course, if you’re not confident enough in your techie skills you will have to pay someone to help you with the migration.
Just be prepared to pay a pretty penny. I’ve seen people charge upwards of $60 just to move a WordPress site. I know I charge my clients a hefty price to move their sites.
They’re willing to pay me because they know that they won’t have to deal with any headaches after the migration.
Regardless of why you’re moving to a new hosting company or moving away from one. This tutorial will help you out if you ever need to move your blog off of WP Engine.
Quick Story Why I Created This Post
A while ago a client asked me to move his blog from WP Engine to SiteGround. I’ve moved hundreds of sites from host to host and it’s actually not that difficult.
However, when I migrated the WP Engine site, I ran into some issues I’ve never run into. I thought I was going crazy, after all I’ve moved several sites without any glitches.
So I couldn’t for the life of me, figure out what I was doing wrong.
Long story short, after nearly pulling out my hair and spending hours trying to figure out how to migrate away from WP Engine.
I finally figured it out. To date, I’ve migrated several sites away from WP Engine successfully without any issues. I thought I would go ahead and create this step-by-step tutorial for you, in case you ever need to move away from WP Engine.
So follow along and learn how I migrate an actual live site for a client, without experiencing any downtime.
How to Migrate A WordPress Blog Away From WP Engine
Moving a WP Engine is no different. You will still need to move all the WordPress files as well as import the existing database to your new host. If you are migrating your website, I’ve written a step-by-step tutorial on moving WordPress from one host to another.
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As always just as there are several ways to install WordPress. There is more than one way to migrate a WordPress blog away from WP Engine. I am showing you what works for me. Feel free to follow me as I migrate a site from WP Engine to SiteGround.
Let’s Get Started…
Create A Backup Point for Your WordPress Blog
Log into your WP Engine account and head on over to
backup points > Backup Now
WP Engine creates nightly backups, but if you’ve made any changes you might want to back up your site again.
If you’re ready to start the migration backup click on the newest backup file and click download zip file.
You’ll get an email stating that your backup is ready to be downloaded.
Open Up The Zipped Site Archive File
I like to move the site archive file to my desktop and unzip it. This zipped file contains all your WordPress files that you will be migrating to your new hosting account.
If you choose you can migrate your WordPress files to your desktop accessing them via SFTP on your WP Engine.
Dragging & Dropping WordPress Files Via SFTP
You will just need to setup your SFTP account inside WP Engine so you can access your files.
Once you’ve set up your details and saved it. You can access your WordPress files via SFTP. I like to create a new folder on my desktop for the site I am migrating.
Next, I drag all the files from the public_html folder into the folder. While the files are transferring to your desktop you can now export the database to the site.
Export Your Database From WP Engine
Now that we have our WordPress files, we want to export the database. Open up the PHPMyAdmin on your WP Engine Account.
You will see something like this
Click on the link and all your tables will open up. Scroll all the way to the bottom and make sure that all your tables are checked.
Now you want to click on export the database.
Great now we have the backup files and the database exported. Now it’s time to setup the site on your new hosting account.
Migrating From WP Engine To SiteGround
In this tutorial, I am migrating my client’s website to their Business Cloud Hosting account. If you’re using a different hosting account, you may just want to jump down to uploading files to your new hosting server.
Log into SiteGround and add your new domain.
Go to cPanel > > Addon Domains
Fill out all the required information to set up your new domain on SiteGround.
Creating The Database
The next step is to create a database for the blog you are migrating. I’ve created a step-by-step process of how I create a secure database for all my WordPress sites.
Head on over there and get your database created. When you’re done and are ready to start the migration process, come back to complete the process.
The rest of the tutorial will be here when you get back.
Uploading Your WordPress Files Via SFTP or FTP
Access your new domain you setup on SiteGround via SFTP or FTP. Since we just setup the domain, the domain folder will be empty.
While those files are uploading to the server, we can now import our WP Engine database.
Log back into your SiteGround account and go to
cPanel >> phpMyAdmin
My client’s account has several sites hosted on this SiteGround account. Therefore, it’s important to find the database we just created.
Once you find the new database click on import.
Browse for the database sql file of the site you’re migrating from WP Engine.
Now click on Go to import your old database to your new hosting account. Hopefully, your database isn’t too big otherwise you may experience some issues.
If everything went smoothly you should see this.
I always like to double check my tables. I know that the site I am migrating had 83 tables on WP Engine. As you can see it successfully migrated 83 tables to SiteGround.
Changing the WP Config File
Now it’s time to change the WP Config files and add our new database details so we can actually complete the migration.
Access your WordPress files via FTP or your file manager in your cPanel. We are going to be making changes to our wp-config file.
WP Engine adds a lot of stuff to the WP Config file. So what I like to do is generate a brand new wp-config file. If you don’t want to use that site, you can copy the code from the sample wp-config file and drop it into your wp-config file.
Look at how the wp-config file looks like that I am migrating from WP Engine.
I am not really sure what all that code means, and I don’t care. I have found that starting with a fresh wp-config file works best for me.
Once I’ve regenerated the code, I copy it and head over to my current wp-config file on my new hosting account.
Remove the old config file from WP Engine and paste in the new wp-config code that was generated.
Now it’s time to add all your database information to your wp-config file. Don’t forget to change your wp_prefix table if you’re not using the typical wp_ prefix.
Deleting WP Engine Files
This is the part of the migration that I forgot to do and I couldn’t complete the migration process. These are files that are added to ever WP Engine installation. I don’t really know what they do, but they are no longer necessary if your blog is NOT hosted on WP Engine.
If the site has been uploaded now, it’s time to delete the MU folders. I am still inside of the WordPress site file manager in SiteGround.
Go to wp-content and you will see a folder called mu-plugins.
Go ahead and delete it. This is a folder that is generated on all WP Engine websites. We don’t need it anymore since we are moving the site away from WP Engine.
While you’re at it, go ahead and delete these files .gitattributes and .gitignore from the root of your folder. They look like this.
Next we want to remove the object-cache.php file and the mysql file. These files are located inside of the wp-content folder.
Now that all the WP remnant files have been deleted. It’s time to actually complete the migration process.
Point Your DNS to Your New Hosting Account
Once you’ve completed all the steps above, it’s time to point your domain to your new hosting account. If you’ve never done this, read this tutorial on how to point Domain Name Servers to a new account.
You may have to give the site time to propagate to your new account.
Once your site is pointing away from WP Engine and is pointing to your new hosting account there are a couple more steps to take.
Log Into Your WordPress Site
Congratulations, your site should now be migrated away from WP Engine and should now be pointing to your new hosting account.
There are a few more things we need to do to ensure that the site is completely migrated away from WP Engine.
Run A Search and Replace
I always run a search and replace all the sites that I migrate away from WP Engine. If you use WP Engine then you know that they set up a CNAME for your domain that looks like
So what I always do is use this plugin to change my CNAME instances in my database. I don’t really know if this is necessary, but I do this for all the sites that I migrate away from WP Engine.
This makes changes to your database that can break your site if you don’t know what you’re doing. Read this if you’re trying to optimize your database.
Let’s Remove the WP Engine CNAME
Once the plugin is installed head to
Tools >> Better Search and Replace
Hopefully, you have the CNAME URL that was generated by WP Engine, if not go grab it.
Now just fill in the information like I have in mine. We are just going to do a dry run the first time.
After the dry run, it will show you if any tables need to be changed. As you can see from my dry run, there are tables that need to be updated.
Now it’s time to do the run again, this time we are unchecking the dry run box. We want to actually make the changes this time.
The first time I ran this, I was so nervous. If something does happen, you an always import your database, since your blog is still live on WP Engine. (hopefully, you haven’t deleted it yet)
So click on
After running a search and replace, the site migration is complete. I then let the client know that the migration is complete. Now you should be able to delete WP Engine Installation.
It’s always good practice to keep a copy of the backup from WP Engine in case something happened during the transfer. Unfortunately, things can happen whenever you move WordPress to a new host.
Final Take Away
Migrating a site from WP Engine can be a little confusing at first. The first time I did it, I was a little lost. That’s why I wanted to write this step-by-step tutorial. Hopefully, this helps at least one person.
My hope is that this tutorial shows you how easy it can be to migrate away from WP Engine.
I don’t host my personal sites there. I do have access to them via my clients sites. My clients have very small sites that don’t get a ton of traffic.
If your site is more established and gets a lot of traffic, you may want to read these reviews before you decide if this is the right hosting service for you, read this review from Harsh Argrawal. Here’s another review from Mathew Woodard detailing his WP Engine experience.
Do You Due Diligence Before Moving Your Site
As I mentioned, I don’t personally use WP Engine. My clients do and they love it. If you are looking for a new hosting account, I recommend and use SiteGround.
Migrating WordPress to another host is not difficult. It can be a little confusing for someone who’s never done it before and can come with a huge learning experience.
Hopefully, this tutorial helps someone and makes the process of moving away from WP Engine easier.
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If you were able to follow this tutorial step-by-step and move your site away from WP Engine, please let me know. You can also let me know what issues you faced while trying to migrate your site.