Preferably, you’ll select a hosting provider so good that you’ll never need to move your website. However, not all hosting companies provide the same level of service or quality. If you select the incorrect one, you may have to relocate your WordPress site at some point.
Fortunately, migrating your website isn’t as difficult as you might think. It may take a few hours, but the process is relatively simple. Plus, if you choose a web host that provides better performance and more features, your time will be well spent.
We’ll show you how to migrate a WordPress website step by step in this article. Then, to make the process easier, we’ll show you some WordPress migration tools. Let’s get this party started!
Should I Manually or Automatically Migrate My WordPress Site?
It is not difficult to migrate a WordPress website. If you want to do it manually, you’ll need to be familiar with File Transfer Protocol (FTP), accessing databases, and modifying files on the back end of your website.
Those procedures appear complicated, but they are straightforward if you follow a clear tutorial. If you prefer a more straightforward approach, you can always use a WordPress migration tool or plugin. There are several options, and we’ll discuss some of our favorites later.
When using migration plugins, bear in mind that larger websites may be more prone to errors. In those cases, manual migration is the better option. You should have no problems if you carefully follow the instructions.
Lastly, some hosting providers provide free migration services to new subscribers. You can also hire a third-party service like us at Pixagon, to help you move your site. In such a case, keep in mind to select a company with a good reputation.
How to Manually Migrate Your WordPress Site
Regardless of whether you’re afraid to roll up your sleeves and manually migrate your site, you’ll probably want some assistance getting started. Let’s go through the steps one at a time;
Step 1: Select a New WordPress Host
If you’re looking into how to migrate your website, you’re probably leaving your current host for a reason. You should keep any issues you’ve had in mind as you look for a new home for your WordPress website.
For example, if your site was hacked, you should look for a new provider with superior security features. It’s also critical to understand the various types of hosting that are available. These are some examples in a gist:
Shared hosting: is when one server hosts multiple websites that share resources. This is typically the most cost-effective option.
VPS (Virtual Private Server): A VPS uses virtual partitions within a shared server to provide your site with dedicated resources.
Dedicated: With this plan, you receive a physical server that only houses and supports your website.
Managed: Any hosting plan can be managed if the hosting provider handles technical tasks like backups and updates on your behalf.
To select the best option for your website, you must first determine your top priorities. Security, data storage, speed, and customer support are all important considerations. For example, if you run a large eCommerce business, security may be prioritized over other concerns.
Step 2: Create a backup of your website’s files
The first step is to make a backup of all of your website’s files. You’ll need an FTP client for this. If you don’t already have one, FileZilla or FireFTP are a great and free alternatives.
After connecting to your site’s server via FTP, navigate to your WordPress root folder, which contains all of your site’s files. It’s usually called public html, www, or the name of your website:
Now, right-click on your root folder and select Download:
This will download to your computer a copy of your entire root directory. The process may take some time, but once completed, you will be ready to move on.
Step 3: Create a backup of your WordPress Database
You already have a copy of your website’s files at this point. You must now back up its database. This is where you can find information about your site’s content, users, and much more.
You’ll need to connect to your database to accomplish this. Most web hosts make this possible through your control panel. If you’re using cPanel, for example, you’ll find a Databases section. You’ll want to select the phpMyAdmin option in that section:
Step 4: Backup Your WordPress Database
Once inside, select your site’s database from the list on the left and use the top menu to navigate to the Export tab. Select Quick under Export Method and click Go:
This will save a copy of your site’s database in.sql format to your computer.
Step 5: Make a New SQL Database and Import the Data from the Old One
The next step is to create a new database on the new web host. Then you’ll import the file from your previous database, which will overwrite the new one’s contents.
If your new WordPress host also uses cPanel, you’ll need to do the following:
- In cPanel, navigate to the Databases section and select MySQL Databases.
- From the same tab, create a new database and add a user to it (and take note of the names you use for later).
- As in the previous step, use phpMyAdmin to access the new database.
- Within the new database, navigate to the Import tab and upload the .sql file you created previously.
That’s all! Your old database is now hosted by your new web host. You must, however, re-upload the rest of your site’s files.
If, on the other hand, you’ve chosen a host that doesn’t use cPanel, you’ll need to follow a different set of instructions.
Step 6: Transfer Your Site’s Files to Your New Web Host
You must first log into your new server via FTP for this step. Then, go to its root folder.
Right-click anywhere within that folder and choose Upload. Locate the folder you downloaded in the first step, open it, and select all of the files and directories contained within it.
Because we’re dealing with hundreds of files, the upload process may take some time. However, if you’re patient, you’ll soon find yourself almost at the end of the journey.
Step 7: Modify the wp-config.php file on your website.
After you’ve uploaded all of your files to the new server, you’ll need to access your WordPress root folder one more time. If you try to access your website right now, it will not work because you need to update WordPress’ wp-config.php file to point to your new database.
Locate the wp-config.php file within your new root folder, right-click on it, and choose View/Edit:
This will open the file in your preferred text editor, allowing you to make changes. Here are the three lines that need to be updated:
As of now, all three lines will contain values pointing to your old database. Replace the lowercase variables with the credentials for the new database that you created in Step 3.
Must save and close the file with your changes. You should now be able to access your WordPress website, which should look exactly the same as before.
Step 8: Setup and Modify Your DNS
Lastly, ensure that your Domain Name Server (DNS) is pointing to the correct host. If you’re migrating to one of our hosting plans, for example, you’ll need to point your DNS to your new WP Engine server.
You’ll need two things to do this:
Find your new host’s information.
You will have access to the registrar from which you purchased your domain name. You can find the information you require by returning to your WP Engine User Portal and clicking on Domains. A section called DNS Details can be found near the bottom of the Domains screen. There, you’ll find a CNAME Record as well as an A NAME for your website:
This is the data you must enter into your domain name account. The process will differ depending on where you purchased the domain. To assist you in completing the DNS configuration process, we’ve compiled a list of the most common registrars, along with detailed instructions for each.
How to Use a Plugin to Migrate Your WordPress Site
When it comes time to migrate your website, it’s normal to be nervous about the process. After all, you’ve worked hard to accumulate what you have, and you don’t want to lose any of it. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent migration plugins available to assist.
Use of a plugin frequently provides you with insurance. This is because many of these tools can generate full site backups as well as provide recovery services. Furthermore, if you only need to migrate a portion of your site, there are plugins that can tailor the process to your requirements.
WordPress Migration Tools to Make Your Transition Easier
Learning how to manually migrate a WordPress website is beneficial. However, as previously mentioned, there are some tools you can use to make the process easier. Here are a few of our personal favorites!
All-in-One WordPress Migration
All-in-One WP Migration is one of the most user-friendly backup and migration plugins available. It allows you to quickly duplicate your site and then import it into another WordPress installation using the same plugin. In our experience, it works best for small websites, but it can struggle with larger installations.
Backup plugin for WPvivid
The WPvivid Backup plugin is ideal for site migration and keeping a backup of your WordPress site on hand. It allows for both automated and manual migration (uploading a backup to a destination site then restoring it). Furthermore, it is completely free and has no limitations on the size of the website that can be migrated.
Transfer Your Website via Pixagon team
Pixagon team’s primary goal is to make your life easier. That is why we provide you with a dedicated team that can help you in all the way for the transition from another platform to WordPress.
If you’re ready to migrate your site to WordPress, simply get in touch with us.