Are you looking to move to a new host or a new domain? There are many reasons why you may need to migrate WordPress site, but the risks associated with WordPress migration could make the process look daunting. You might be worried that you could lose data, experience downtime, lose visitors to your site and also lose rankings. But migration doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. In this tutorial, we’ll guide you through how to migrate WordPress site safely, without losing data or facing any downtime.
How to Do a WordPress Migration Without Hiccups?
The steps that you need to take to migrate WordPress website can be divided into three parts:
- Pre-migration – We’ll discuss the steps you need to take before starting to move your website.
- During migration – We’ll show you the steps you need to take to migrate your site.
- Post-migration – Learn about the measures you need to take after performing a migration.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
NOTE: In this article, we’ll show you how to move to a new hosting and a new domain.
Things to Do Before WordPress Migration
1. Register a New Domain Name
Many of you may wish to change your domain name. There are two ways of doing this:
- One, you can purchase a domain from popular domain registrars like NameSilo and NameCheap.
- Or two, you can purchase the domain and host from the same web host provider.
Many users choose their hosting provider as their domain name registrar but if you ask us, NameSilo and Namecheap are a slightly cheaper option.
2. Register With a New Host
There are many WordPress hosts to choose from. If you don’t have any specific hosting in mind, then you’ll find our post on the best WordPress hosting providers useful. We’d like to point out a few things you need to consider which looking for an ideal web hosting solution.
You will, of course, look for what your current hosting provider lacks which could be anything between the responsiveness of the support team to the security of hosted websites. Apart from this, depending on your needs and budget, you’ll decide what sort of hosting you require – shared, managed or VPS hosting.
In shared hosting, we find hundreds of websites sharing the same server. This is why shared hosting is cheap. But the drawback here is that sometimes, one website may overuse the server resources causing other WordPress sites to suffer.
Virtual private server hosting is also known as VPS and has a similar policy. But it offers larger disk space and more resources. It’s perfect for WordPress websites that draw large traffic but don’t have the budget for a dedicated hosting solution.
Managed hostings are the ideal hosting solutions. You can choose between shared or private access. And the hosting provider takes responsibility for managing your site. Therefore, managed hostings are much more expensive than shared or VPS hosting.
3. Install WordPress
If you already have a WordPress website, you’d know how to install WordPress on your newly created account. If not, there’s no need to worry. The easiest way to do this is by selecting the one-click WordPress installer on your hosting provider’s dashboard. For instance, in Bluehost, once you log into your dashboard, you’ll find an Install button that’ll help you get your WordPress installed without breaking a sweat.
4. Obtain Your FTP Details
Migrating WordPress websites entail moving all your files from one location to another. FTP or File Transfer Protocol enables you to do just that. Given its importance, FTP is kept protected. For the migration process, it’s necessary to know the FTP details (FTP username, password, and host server) of your new hosting provider. If you are on a major hosting provider and can’t find the FTP details, you’ll find these videos helpful. Alternately, you can ask your hosting provider how to obtain your FTP details. Make sure you note them down because you’ll need them later for migration. If you are not sure how to work with FTP, you can learn in our guide.
Things to Do During WordPress Migration Process
Website migration can be performed manually or with a plugin. When you are doing it manually, there are a number of things that can go wrong. To ensure an error-free migration, we’d recommend using a WordPress migrator plugin. Nonetheless, we’ll show you both ways to move WordPress and you can pick what’s convenient for you.
1. Performing WordPress Migration With a Plugin
While there are many WordPress migration plugins to opt for, choosing a reliable one is crucial. With unreliable migration plugins you run into the following problems:
- Unsupported web host
- Incomplete migration
You are unlikely to face these challenges if you are using BlogVault. It supports over 5,000 hosting providers ensures there is no downtime during migration. Unlike many other migration services, BlogVault offers a complete migration without any broken links or missing content. Therefore, let us show you how you can perform WordPress migration with BlogVault.
Step 1: Install and activate the BlogVault plugin. Then add your website to the BlogVault dashboard (Note: You don’t need to add the plugin on the new website). The plugin will immediately take a backup of your website. Proceed to migrate by selecting the Migrate option from the dashboard.
Step 2: Remember when we told you to keep your FTP details ready. Here’s when you’ll need it. Enter the FTP details of your new hosting provider. Following this, you’ll need to select the folder where your WordPress files are going to be transferred. After that choose public_html.
Step 3: On the next page, for those of you who’ve purchased a new domain name, insert the URL of your website. Then click on Continue and the migration process will begin.
Depending on the size of your website, it’ll take some time to migrate WordPress site. Once the migration is complete, BlogVault will notify you about it.
That’s all you have to do. Now that you have migrated your website there are a few post-migration measures to need to take. For that jump to Things to Do Post-Migration.Migration can be a daunting experience but it need not be that way. With the right kind of guide, it’s a walk in the park (almost). 😌 Click To Tweet
2. Moving WordPress site on Your Own
To manually migrate WordPress site you’ll need to execute quite a few steps. Those are:
- Download WordPress files and database
- Upload WordPress files and database to new hosting
- Modify the config file
Step 1: Download WordPress files and database
A WordPress website consists of files and a database. To prep your site to transfer, you’ll download your files and database to your local system.
Downloading WordPress files: You can download the files through File Manager (via your web host account) or an FTP client. We’ll use an FTP client because the File Manager has limitations. For instance, if your site is over 2GB, you can’t upload it with the File Manager.
- Download and install Filezilla, a popular FTP client. And then enter the FTP details of your existing website. Note: You can find FTP details with the help of these videos or consider asking your web host.
- After the connection between FileZilla and your website is established, you’ll find the files on your website appear on the dashboard of the software. Now, you’d want to download the root folder also known as the public_html file. It’s where all your WordPress files are stored.
Simply right-click on public_html and select Download.
It should take a few minutes you’ll have a copy of your files on your computer (recommended read: Pros and Cons of Storing Backups on Your PC).
Downloading WordPress database: Hosting providers enable site owners to download the database of their website. Just log into your hosting account and navigate to phpMyAdmin where you’ll find an Export option.
In the Export page, you are given 2 choices – Quickly or Custom export. If you wish to export only specific tables, choosing Custom enables you to do just that. If not, then go for the default Quick option.
By now, you’ll have a copy of both files and database. It’s time to upload them to the new hosting account.
Step 2: Upload WordPress files and database to new hosting
Early on, we spoke of obtaining the FTP details from the new hosting. You’ll use that to connect your site to Filezilla. In the next step, we’ll show you how to upload files and database of your website to the new hosting account.
Uploading WordPress files:
1. On the left corner of FileZilla, there an option called File Manager. Select that.
2. In the FileZilla File Manager, you’ll add your FTP credentials (host, username, and password) and then take the following steps:
- Under Protocol, you’ll choose FTP which is the encryption we want to use.
- Under Encryption, choose to Use explicit FTP over TLS if available. It means that the data coming from your computer to your website is protected.
- Under Login Type, select Normal.
After that, click on Connect.
If the connection is successful, you’ll see all of your files appearing in the Remote site section of FileZilla. But if you are getting an FTP connection error saying that it’s impossible to establish a connection to the server then recheck your credentials. Verify with your hosting provider if you have the correct information.
After uploading the files, it’s time to upload the database.
Uploading WordPress database:
The ways to upload database differs from one web host to another. For instance, on FlyWheel we found that you had to log into your account and then navigate to Advance and then Import.
But on Bluehost, after logging in you’ll select the option MySQL Database and then you’ll Create a New Database and Add a New User.
IMPORTANT: Remember to note down the database name, database username and password.
In the next step, we’ll link the new user to the new database. Just open the MySQL Databases page once more and scroll down to the section called Add User To Database.
After successfully adding that user to that database, what we now need to do is import the database we had downloaded earlier.
For that, you’d want to go to phpMyAdmin from your hosting account, then select Import and then go ahead and import the database from your computer.
Then you wait for the import to successfully finish.
Step 3. Modify the config file
The next step in the migration process is to edit the config file. The config files contain information about your old database. The name, username, and password that you see on your config file are part of your old database. You can’t use them. In the previous step, you created a new database and noted down the details. You’ll want to replace the old details with the new one.
- Go to FileZilla and navigate to public_html > wp-config.php. After that, right-click on the PHP file and edit it.
- In the config file, after replacing the database name, database username, and password with the new ones close the window. Almost immediately a new appears asking you if you want to save the changes. Select Yes.
Expert tip: Ensure that the database table prefix (which in our case is bhwpsite) is set to the same value as the one found in phpMyAdmin. Failing to connect the database properly could show a blank page to the visitors of your website.
With the modification of the config file, we’ve come to the end of things to do during WordPress migration. Now open your website on a new tab and if everything went well, your website should look the same as before migration.
Things to Do Post WordPress Website Migration
For those of you who’ve changed your domain names, you’ll have to let the new database know about it.
1. Changing Domain Name
From your hosting account, go to phpMyAdmin and click on the Options table. When it opens, you’ll see that the first two entries (siteURL & home) are set to the previous domain name. These have to be changed to the new domain name. And we do that by double-clicking on the URL.
Now that we have the site URL and home URL updated, open a new tab on your browser and open the new URL. If everything went well then your website will load. If you are not that lucky, sometimes the new URL redirects to the old one. This is a caching issue which you should clean right away. If you are not sure how to do it, check our guide on how to clear WordPress cache. Also, you can try opening the new URL in a different browser like Safari or Firefox.
2. Testing if Things Are Okay
Earlier in the article, we said how when you are trying to move a site manually, you may run into issue missing content, broken pages and links. To check if you’ve managed to migrate your entire WordPress site and haven’t left anything out, open all your published posts and pages. If it shows that the page couldn’t be found on the server, then the migration has failed. If your website is large with hundreds of pages, then checking all of them is going to be impossible.
To check for broken links, we recommend using the Broken Link Checker plugin or the Chrome extension. Whatever suits you best. This has to do with the change of your URL. Even though we changed it in the database, you are likely to experience some hiccups. This is simply the cost of performing manual WordPress migration.
Migrating to a new web host usually entails a lot of hard work which is why if you are doing it manually, there are good chances of making mistakes. But if you want to make sure that everything works perfectly, we recommend you use a plugin.