Last updated on August 1st, 2018 at 06:52 pm
If you work with WordPress on a consistent basis, you will soon be faced with moving WordPress from one host to another. If you’re lucky, you will be forced to switch to a new hosting account because your blog has become popular and now your it’s starting to pay off for all your hard work.
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Maybe you’re forced to migrate your WordPress website because your hosting account has been experiencing a lot of downtime? Regardless of why you want to migrate WordPress to a new host, this tutorial will walk you through the entire process to make it easier for you.
The thought of migrating your site can be stressful. However, it’s not as difficult as you may think it is. If you follow along, you will learn everything you need to know about how to move WordPress from one host to another.
Before we dive in, it’s important to state that many hosting companies will provide migration services for first time buyers. If you are unsure of whether the hosting account you’re looking at offers free migration, contact customer support and ask them.
Utilizing free migration services is great if you only have one site. Most hosting companies will only move one WordPress website and then charge you a fee for each additional website. SiteGround charges $30 for each additional site they move. So if you can’t move your own site, you better be prepared to pay a pretty penny.
One more thing. There are a few different ways you can backup and migrate your WordPress website. The most common involves using FTP software and making the backup yourself. Many people choose to use a paid plugin like Backup Buddy to migrate their WordPress website.
Since everyone is different, this tutorial will walk you through step-by-step on how to migrate your site without the help of a paid plugin.
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1. Choosing Your New Host
This can be a complicated decision and one that takes a lot of research. You don’t want to move to a hosting provider only to realize that you are unhappy with their service. You might be considering leaving your current hosting account because you’ve outgrown them or are just unhappy.
Below are a few of my favorite hosting providers that I recommend. Hopefully, my recommendations will help make your decision easier. The final decision is up to you, but I’ve personally used and continue to use these hosting providers in my personal and WordPress freelance business.
If you’re just starting a WordPress blog and are looking for a simple shared hosting environment. If your blog is NOT receiving a lot of traffic yet, this type of hosting is perfect. It will allow you to get affordable hosting at a low-cost. Once your traffic starts to increase you can upgrade from the StartUp plan to something more suitable.
Another bonus about shared hosting with SiteGround, they offer free migration services for your first website.
It’s the same hosting provider I use for this site. You can’t go wrong with SiteGround and I highly recommend them for someone who is on a budget.
I use this company for some of my WordPress freelance clients. WP Engine is a great hosting company for anyone who is looking for a managed WordPress hosting environment. This means that they do everything for you. All you have to do is provide the content and drive traffic to your blog.
You won’t have to worry about anything else. It’s like having a team of WordPress experts on your side who are constantly watching your back.
Listed below are some of the offerings you will get with a WP Engine hosting package:
- Daily website backups
- High-level of WordPress security
- Automatic security updates
- easy site transfers with Blog Vault
- Great Customer Support
Plus they are great for customers who are currently getting a lot of traffic. They grow with your website and you won’t have to worry about migrating your website when it’s traffic increases.
From my personal experience, I can tell you their customer support is great. They are quick to help their customers and you won’t regret hosting with them.
Have you chosen your new hosting provider yet? Good, lets start the migration process…
2. Backing Up And Migrating Your Existing Files
Before you can migrate your WordPress website, you will need to purchase your new hosting. You will need access to your login credentials along with new Nameservers before you can actually make the site transfer.
Once you have made the decision on which hosting account you want to use, it’s time to backup every element of your WordPress website. This is something you should be doing on a regular basis, just in case anything ever happens and you need to restore your WordPress website.
When your site is backed up and you are ready to migrate to a new server, you will open up your FTP client. For this demonstration purpose, I will be using Transmit. If you’re on a Windows computer, I recommend Filezilla, since it is free and easy to use.
Connect to your site
Connect to your existing website via FTP. If you have never used FTP before, here is a WordPress tutorial for using Filezilla. In order to connect to your new server, you will need your username and password that your new hosting account provided you with.
Once you have connected successfully, you will see a bunch of files. Navigate to the public_html folder.
This is where all your WordPress files are contained. What I like to do is drag all the folders from that site onto my computer desktop. This makes it easy to find the site’s files when I am ready to upload them to my new hosting account.
Depending on the size of your website or Internet speed, it can take a while.
Create A New Domain On Your New Hosting Account
Once all the files have downloaded, it’s time to log into your new hosting account. You’ll want to add your domain to your account.
Navigate to Addon Domains
Click on Addon Domains so you can add your domain to your new hosting account. Fill out all the necessary information and click add “Add Domain.”
Upload Your Old Site To Your New Host
Great now you have to upload those files you placed in a folder on your desktop to your new server.
Open up Filezilla or Transmit again if you closed them. This time you are going to login to your new hosting account server, so we can access the domain we just setup on the new hosting account.
When you access your new server, it will be empty. You will want to open up your folder so you can see all your WordPress files. Highlight them all and drag and drop them onto your new server.
Drag & drop all the WordPress files, not the folder they reside in. Once you have done this, you have successfully migrated your site’s content to your new hosting account.
Now that your WordPress files have been migrated to your new hosting account. It’s time to migrate your WordPress database to make the transfer complete.
How To Move Your WordPress Database
Hopefully, you haven’t logged out of your cPanel. If so, log back in and navigate to your phpMyAdmin. This is where all your WordPress databases are stored.
Find The Right Database
If you have more than one site, you will want to find the database to the site you are migrating. Once you locate the correct database, click on it.
The size of your database will vary, depending on the size of your site. Scroll to the very bottom and check “select all.” Next click on export.
This will export your database so you can import it into your new hosting account.
Creating A New WordPress Database
Before the site can actually work, you will need to create a new database so you can connect it with your WordPress files. Navigate to your cPanel and scroll down till you see an app called “MYSQL Database Wizard.”
The database wizard will walk you through the entire process. If you missed it, I created a step-by-step tutorial on setting up a database.
Be sure to keep all your database information on a notepad document so you can refer to it to complete the final step of the migration.
Import Your Database
Log into your new hosting cPanel and go to the phpMyAdmin.
Now you will click on import database.
Click the “browse” button and locate the sql file of the database you exported from your old hosting account. Once you locate it, scroll down the page and click on “go.”
This will import all your database tables from your old hosting account.
Update Your WP Configuration File
Now you need to update the wp-config.php file with the database information you created on your new hosting account.
You can access your wp-config.php file by going to “File Manager” in your cPanel dashboard. If you prefer, you can access it via FTP, which is the way I always make changes to mine.
Change the following three items on this file. database name, username and password. Click save to in order for your changes to take effect. Once you make those changes the migration will be complete.
Switching To Your New NameServers
Migrating your website using these steps will ensure you have the least amount of downtime.
The final step to complete the migration of your website to your new hosting account is to point your nameservers to the new hosting account. Follow along with pictures as I point my nameservers to SiteGround.
When you signed up for your new hosting account, you most likely got a welcome email with your nameserver and login credentials. The nameservers will look something like this.
Log into your Domain Registrar where you registered your domain name. Locate the nameservers from your old hosting account. Simply paste the new nameservers on top of the old ones and click save.
Sometimes it can take up to 24 hours for your new nameservers to take effect. However, I’ve noticed that it usually happens instantaneously.
Now that you have learned about moving WordPress from one host to another, you won’t have to worry about ever paying anyone to help you migrate a site.
Let’s recap what you just learned to ensure you’ve completed every step of the process. By reviewing the migration process, you can refer to the steps below to ensure that you followed them, which will make the migration process go smoothly:
- Choose your preferred WordPress hosting account
- Backup and download your WordPress files from your old hosting account via FTP
- Log into your new hosting account and create a domain where your WordPress files will reside
- Access your new hosting account public_html file via FTP and upload all your files
- Create a database on your new hosting account.
- Export your current database from your old hosting account.
- Import your database into your new hosting account.
- Change your wp-config.php file with the database credentials from your new hosting account.
- Finally, change your nameservers to point to your new hosting account.
If you’ve completed all the steps above, then you have now learned how to move WordPress from one host to another. Now it’s time to log into your blog on your new hosting account.
Hopefully, the steps above have shown you how easy it can be to migrate your site from one WordPress host to another. If you are still having issues and find the steps above too technical. I highly recommend you contact your new hosting account and ask them to help you walk through the migration process, or they may even offer to do it for you for a fee.
Have you ever tried moving a WordPress website to another host? If so, did you run into any technical difficulties? Did you complete the site migration successfully? Let me know what you experienced or if you have any questions, maybe I can help you better understand the process.