Website migration can be a daunting task, especially if you are doing it for the first time. There is so much at risk but don’t worry, we will help you make sure that your migration process goes smoothly so you no longer are tied to a bad host or a limited server.
While there are many ways in which you can migrate a website, through a plugin or manually, use this website migration checklist to guide you through the process of website migration smoothly and without any hassles.
TL;DR: We recommend using a one-click website migration tool such as BlogVault for stress-free migration from one website to another in just a few minutes. It’s the most secure option available because you always have a fresh backup to depend on if something goes south.
What is website migration?
Website migration is when you move a website from one website host or server to another. The process could involve changes to the website’s structure, platform, content, location, or design.
There are several ways in which a website migration takes place:
- Moving from localhost to online server
- Moving from a subdomain to the main domain on the same server
- Moving the entire WordPress website from one host to another
This is often a daunting prospect, as several aspects could go very wrong with migrations. We detail those in a later section.
Successful WordPress Website Migration SEO Checklist
The following website migration checklist is meant to guide you at every step of the process from pre-migration planning to everything you need to know during the migration and to avoid common pitfalls and failures.
Moreover, it will also help you take care of things after the migration of your website is complete so that your new website is ready to welcome your users.
So, let’s get started!
Pre Website Migration Checklist
1. Choose the right method: Manual migration vs migration using a tool
Migrating a website manually is a time-consuming process. You may spend hours migrating your old site to a new one, only to miss an important step or move a specific file that will mess up the whole process.
To avoid this, we recommend that you use a website migration tool, such as BlogVault. It will ensure that you migrate all your files and databases properly.
Using the plugin is simple and will ensure that all your website data, however simple or complex, is moved to the new website successfully. It will save you time and give you a fully functional website with minimum effort and zero downtime.
2. Set the right criteria for choosing a migration tool
There are a bunch of tools available in the market for site migration, however, you need to prioritize criteria for choosing a tool based on your needs.
For instance, if having zero downtime is most important, use a tool that guarantees it. Or maybe you have a large website and want to migrate it as fast as possible? If you want to avoid messing around with code, then having an easy-to-use tool is a must.
BlogVault’s one-click WordPress migration tool meets all of these criteria, and is as easy as it can get! Plus, website migration is free with all BlogVault plans.
3. Set up a new WordPress site
Once you’re all set with the right migration plugin, you need to ensure that you have a new domain where you will migrate your site to. You may need to buy a new domain or set it up if you already have one. Without this step, your website will have no place to migrate.
4. Install WordPress on new domain
You need to get your new domain up and running, long before you start the migration process. For this, you must first install WordPress. It takes only a few minutes.
5. Get FTP credentials for your new site
The FTP credentials are essential to migrate your website and you may want to keep them handy way before you start the migration process to avoid setbacks later on.
Consider this as the key to a house you are relocating to. You cannot get in if you don’t have the key.
The credentials include the server address, port number, username, and password. To get them you may have to contact your hosting provider who will provide FTP, SFTP, or FTPS credentials depending on which protocol your website uses.
6. Decide what you want to migrate
Once you have done everything else, it’s time to decide what you need to move – your entire website, the files or just the databases. Moving your entire site will take more time than moving only files or databases. However, this depends on your requirements.
BlogVault’s One-Click Migration tool offers you the option to choose this during the migration process, however, you must make a decision beforehand to avoid delays later.
7. Take a fresh backup just before migration
Migration is a complex process. Unfortunately, in spite of being very careful, you may miss out on something important and end up with a website that is broken or inaccessible.
That’s why backups are always essential, and this appearance on a website migration checklist is only one of the many reasons to have reliable backups.
Even if you plan to move only your WordPress database or files, taking a fresh backup of the entire website can prove beneficial later on. Therefore, take a fresh backup of your WordPress database and files just before the migration process.
Related resource: Backup WordPress site successfully
During Website Migration
Once you have everything on the pre-migration checklist in place, you can start the migration process. If you are using Blogvault for migration, follow this guide on how to move your WordPress site to another domain.
BlogVault takes the inconvenience of manual methods out of the migration process to allow you to migrate your website smoothly without hitches.
With a zero-downtime guarantee, 80% faster website migrations, support for more than 5000 web hosts (Yes!), crash-proof, support for websites as large as 350GB, and even multi-site support, BlogVault’s One-Click WordPress Migration tool has got you covered.
Post Website Migration Checklist
1. Update DNS entry
After migrating the site, you will have to update the DNS entry, failing which your customers will still be directed to your old website. DNS entry can be updated from your website host admin pane and the process is usually different for each website host. Once updated, the changes take between 48-72 hours to reflect.
2. Test the new website
After migrating and updating your DNS entry, check if your website is functioning correctly. If you have a large site, it’s not possible to test it completely. However, do check all essential pages and posts for any problems.
Below is a list of all the pages and posts that you may want to check out, depending on the kind of website you have:
- Checkout page
- Blog page
- Feature pages
- Pricing page
- Login page
- Affiliate page
- Terms and conditions
- Top ranking posts
- How-to videos/posts
- Top liked/shared posts
Besides testing the above pages and posts, you may want to test the following actions to ensure that everything is running smoothly:
- Instead of just checking if the login page is opening, try and log in.
- Create a dummy post. Preview and submit it.
- Upload image/file/videos.
- If your website has some tools or applications for customers, check if it loads properly.
3. Plan your site’s URL architecture
The URL structure and sitemap should be designed keeping in mind the SEO for your new site. A site’s migration usually has little to no effect on site performance in terms of SEO improvements.
However, the Google search console takes time to register the changes, site migration may affect the traffic of your website for a few days. You may want to ensure that the old URLs are redirected to the new ones so that you lose minimum online traffic.
Also, make sure to keep the URL structure identical to the old one. Changing too many URLS or dropping posts or pages from the old site during migration may cause search engines to think it’s a completely new site, causing you to not only lose traffic but also the rankings.
4. Check internal links for an update
Once you point your old URLS to the new ones, your internal links will redirect to the new URLs. However, this creates a server load which slows down your website and affects SEO. To avoid this, update all the internal links in your database using the search and replace operation.
5. Set up the new site for SEO
Set up a new property for your new site in the Google Search Console. Don’t forget to submit the new sitemap. You want your site to be indexed successfully before the launch. Also, ensure that Google Analytics is installed on the new site so that you can monitor performance.
Is website migration the right choice?
Website migration can lead to many issues, such as loss of traffic. It can also negatively affect the search engine optimization of your website, especially where the URLs of your pages have been altered.
Therefore, it is important to ask yourself if website migration is the right choice for you. Keep in mind, migrating your website will not eliminate search engine penalties.
You should as much as possible avoid unnecessary migration of your WordPress site. However, you may want to transfer your website from testing to live server, or to another host with a better plan. In such cases, go ahead with our domain migration checklist and follow it step by step to avoid any setbacks.
Why you may have to migrate your website?
While migrating a website can be a tedious process, in many situations it may become a necessity. Discussed below are several reasons why you may have to migrate your website:
Rebranding: You might simply want to change the domain name, either as a result of the rebranding, or simply to get a better URL.
Security: You might want to move from HTTP to HTTPS to protect your website as well as build trust with your users.
Upgrading: Perhaps you aren’t satisfied with the current server’s performance or hosting conditions, you might want to switch to another host. Or, you may want to move to a new framework or CMS (Content Management System).
Optimisation: Maybe you want to change the website’s structure, navigation, or design if the existing site setup isn’t meeting your needs. Or, you want to optimise your website for platforms such as mobile, etc.
Deployment: Most websites nowadays are built on test servers and once everything seems good to go live, the site is migrated to the main production site.
Migrating a WordPress site can be intimidating as it involves many steps that come along with the risks of losing the website entirely. Therefore, it is better to plan it out beforehand and keep a site migration checklist such as this handy to avoid mishaps during the process.
Why do website migrations fail?
While migrations can prove to be beneficial if they serve the purpose they are intended for, there are various reason why a site migration may fail, such as:
- Not being aware of the risks associated with migrations
- An unreliable website migration checklist
- Insecure methods of website migration
- Poor planning or lack of knowledge on best practices
To ensure that the migration process doesn’t go awry, follow the comprehensive website migration plan we’ve created with everything you need to know to migrate your website successfully. Use our plugin BlogVault for all your backup and migration needs. This way your website is always safe with an offsite backup and you get zero downtime during migration.
1. What is the best way to migrate a WordPress website?
The easiest way to use a website migration checklist is with a plugin that offers one-click feature to migrate your WordPress site from one host or server to another. The best plugin to do so is BlogVault that offers a complete solution to website management and migration needs in addition to its primary backup feature that keeps your website safe always.
2. Can you migrate your entire WordPress site to a new website?
Yes, you can move the entire WordPress website if you want. To do this, you just have to ensure that during the migration process, both Files and Databases are selected for migration to the new domain.
In case you only move the files or the database, then only the files or databases will be transferred, The second thing to note here is that it is important to select the correct folder which contains your files and databases. If the correct folder is not selected, then migration of your whole site will not be successful.
3. How to migrate different types of sites using BlogVault?
WooCommerce Site: The procedure is the same as given in our checklist for website migration above for all single site migrations including WooCommerce sites.
BlogVault offers 80% faster website migrations and supports websites as large as 350 GB.
Multisite: The sheer volume of content on a multisite makes migration a tedious task. But with BlogVault you can move your network from one server to another without a single hiccup. Follow the guide on multisite migration here.
4. Will BlogVault work on the new site?
Now, if you used BlogVault plugin to migrate your website, you must be wondering if BlogVault will work on the new website or on the old one.
BlogVault contacts the site using URL. So, if you have migrated your site to a new host keeping the URL same as the old one, the URL now points to the new website. In this case, you have to do nothing. BlogVault will sync the site from the new host automatically.
If the URL has changed, then all you have to do is add the new site to BlogVault. As there is no dependency on the old site, you can keep both the old and new sites on BlogVault if you want.