Do you want to modify your website but you are worried that your site will be down for weeks on end? After all, no one wants to serve a maintenance page or worse a broken page to their readers, clients, or potential customers.
We faced a similar challenge when we decided to renovate our website. We ended up trying and testing just about every method under the sun.
The Result –
Old BlogVault homepage
New BlogVault homepage
This upgrade was a game-changer for us. It allowed us to show our potential and attract new customers.
Whether you want to obtain new customers or make your clients happy, we are going to show you how to replace old website with new one. That too, without any risk to your live site.
You need to create a copy of your live site website, renovate the duplicate site, and then replace the old site with the duplicate one. The duplicate site can be built as a subdomain on your hosting server. Alternatively, you can use a separate staging or local site server. We recommend staging because it’s risk-averse and it’s easy to create and merge with the live site. Subdomains and local sites require manual steps which are time-consuming and frankly daunting. Check out our guide on how to create a WordPress staging site.
How to Replace Your Live WordPress Site With the New One
To replace old WordPress site with new WordPress site, you need to have your new WordPress site ready.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to buy a new domain and hosting. You can just replicate your old site. Then modify that site. When you are ready, you replace your old site with the new site that you worked on.
This replica site can be created on a staging server or your local computer or a subdomain. If you need help creating a replica, the articles below will help you:
After creating a new site and modifying it you can begin to replace old wordpress site with new wordpress site.
- Pro Tip: Take a complete backup of your new WordPress site. If you are unlucky and things don’t go as planned, you may end up breaking your site. If that happens, you can quickly restore your site back to normal. In case you are not subscribed to any backup service then this listicle will help you get started – best WordPress backup plugins.
Moving on…the steps involved in replacing your old site with the new one will differ depending on how you created the new site. If you had created the new site using a staging plugin, then with the help of that plugin you can replace your staging site with the old site. If you created the new site on a local server or subdomain, then you need to use a plugin called All-in-One Migration to replace the old site with the new one.
In the next section, we’ll show you the exact step that you need to take to achieve this. We’ve divided the next section into 2 segments:
1. Replacing Old Site With A Staging Site
2. Replace Old Site With Local Site Or Subdomain
i. Replacing Old Site With a Staging Site
If you used a staging site to create a new WordPress site, replacing the old one with the new site is quite easy.
There are two things you can do:
1. Manually replicate the changes from your new site to the old one
2. Use a ‘push’ or ‘merge’ option that will replace the old site with the staging site.
The second method is the most time-efficient. If a plugin or your hosting provider helped you create the new site, they must have an option for merge.
We tried out and researched some of the most popular hosting providers and staging plugins to see how they allow users to merge the new site to the old one.
1. Staging Plugins:
- WP Staging
- WP StageCoach
2. Hosting Services:
1. Staging Plugins
Step 1: Log into BlogVault’s dashboard and select your website. Go to Staging > Merge.
Step 2: BlogVault will start drawing a comparison between your old site and the staging site. It’ll show you all the files and tables added, removed, or modified on the staging site.
You can choose not to merge some of these files and database tables by just deselecting them.
Step 3: On the next page, you’ll need to enter your FTP credentials.
Step 4: Then, you’ll be asked to select the WordPress folder where your website is located (i.e. public_html). And BlogVault will start merging the staging site with the old one.
> WP Staging
Step 1: Log in to your WordPress dashboard and go to WP Staging Pro.
Step 2: You will get the option to select which database tables and WordPress files you want to push to the old site.
Step 3: Next, click on Push to Live Site, and the plugin will merge your staging site with the old site.
> WP StageCoach
Step 1: Log into your WordPress dashboard, go to WP StageCoach > Import Changes > Check for Changes.
Step 2: Next, you’ll be given options to merge just the files or the database or both. Then click on Import. Your staging site will be merged with your old site.
If you are not using any of the staging plugins that we mentioned, then don’t worry. No matter what plugin you are using, it should give you an option to merge. But be very careful. It’s an important process. Falling to merge properly will leave your site broken. Hence if you don’t know how to merge, reach out to the plugin support. They’ll guide you through the process.
If you used your hosting service to create the staging site, then check with your hosting provider. Most hosting services offer a merge option as demonstrated below –
Checkout our latest guide on Restoring WordPress from Backup.
2. Hosting Services
Step 1: To merge changes from the staging to the old site you need to first access the staging site. From your WordPress dashboard, go to Staging.
Step 2: A new window will open where you’ll be asked to select the following options:
- Deploy Files Only
- Deploy Database Only
- Both Deploy Files & Database
Choose any one option and the process of the merge will begin.
Step 1: Open your Siteground account and go to cPanel > My Account > Original Website > Push to Live.
Step 1: Log into your Kinsta dashboard and select the staged site.
Step 2: On the next page, go to Staging Environment and then click on Push Staging to Live.
Even if your hosting provider is not one of the services we just mentioned, don’t worry, most hosting services offer an easy way to merge the staging site with the old site.
You can look for help documentation from your hosting service showing you how to merge or you can straight-away ask for help from your hosting support.
ii. Replacing Old Site With a Local Site or Subdomain
Some of you have created a new site on your local computer and some have created it on your web server as a subdomain.
The step to replace an old site with a subdomain or a local site is practically the same. Hence we are covering both topics in this section.
Step 1: Install the All-in-One Migration plugin on both your old site and the local site or subdomain.
Step 2: Log into your local site or subdomain and go to All-in-One Migration > Export to > File. The plugin will pack up your site. This can take a few minutes.
Step 3: Next, click on the Download button to download the site on your computer.
Then you have to upload this file to your live site or subdomain.
Step 4: Open the WordPress dashboard of your old site and navigate to All-in-One Migration > Import > Import From > File. Select the files you just downloaded in the previous steps. Wait for the file to be completely uploaded on your old site.
If you encounter an error:
- That’s because there is a cap on the size of files you can upload. Anything beyond 256 MB will throw an error. To upload a larger file you need to go to the backend of your website and edit either the wp-config.php file or the htaccess file. You need to insert a code snippet in one of those files. You can get the code snippet from this guide. But if you don’t know how to go about locating or editing files, then ask your hosting provider for help.
Upload complete? Congratulations, you have successfully replaced your old WordPress site with a local site or subdomain. 🕺
That’s all folks.
IMPORTANT: Check the new website thoroughly to ensure that nothing is broken. Check all your posts and pages. If your website is too big with hundreds of pages then check the most important pages like the about page, pricing and services pages, revenue-generating landing pages. Check if all the functions on your website, like popups, welcome pages, and ads are working properly.
Now that you have breathed life into an old website why not tell the world about it? Add it to the portfolio of sites that you’ve worked on. Share it on social media or send it with your newsletter subscribers. It’ll help you grab more eyeballs, bring more clients, and expand your business.
Speaking of business, if your website is the main source of revenue, then you’ll need to do more than just renovating it. You need to ensure that it’s backed up every day so that when the worst happens you have a backup copy to rely on.