How To Migrate A WordPress Site

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Are you planning on switching hosting providers? Then you likely will need to know how to migrate your WordPress site. While you can pay someone to do this for you, several options are beginner-friendly and allow you to migrate your WordPress site easily.

Why Migrate Your WordPress Site?

Undertaking the daunting task of migrating a website can be intimidating to owners. The fear that something will go wrong because of all the little details you must pay attention to is why many people outsource this task or avoid it altogether. While there are a few risks that are involved in moving your WordPress site, it can have its advantages:

 

  • Better site performance. When you first start your website, you might not need a ton of resources or storage space. As your site grows, you might realize that your hosting provider doesn’t offer the resources you need, and it might be time to change to a new hosting provider. 

 

    • More affordable plan. Some hosting providers will offer extremely attractive welcome offers, but the price might jump more than 50% once that initial contract is over. To combat this, some people choose to jump ship and use a hosting provider that has more consistent pricing, even after the welcome offer ends.

 

  • Better customer service. No matter how advanced your technical skills are, you will likely want to have responsive customer service to help you in case something goes wrong. If your current hosting provider has slow or unhelpful customer service representatives, it likely is time to migrate your plan to a new hosting provider. 

 

No matter your reason for migrating your WordPress site, here are three simple ways to make the switch.

Method 1: How To Migrate A WordPress Site Using A Plugin

One way to migrate your WordPress site is by using a cloning plugin. You can use the WordPress.org plugin directory to find the right one for you. Some good options might include the All-in-one WP Migration, which has more than three million active installations and an average of 4.5-star reviews. Another good option is Duplicator – WordPress migration plugin, which has one million active installations and an average rating of 5-stars.

Regardless of which plugin you choose, read reviews to ensure that it is the right option for you and has all the necessary tools for a smooth migration process. Each plugin will have a slightly different process, so make sure that you follow it carefully.

The good news about using a plugin is that the plugin will typically create a backup for you and provide recovery services if something goes wrong. This method is ideal for people who are less confident in their technical abilities.

Method 2: How To Migrate A WordPress Site Manually

If you aren’t intimidated by the process and the little extra work involved, then you can follow these steps to migrate your WordPress site manually.

 

  • Choose a new WordPress hosting provider. As you can imagine, the first step is to figure out the new home for your website. Keep in mind the future of your website and make sure you are choosing a website provider that can grow with you in the upcoming months and years. 
  • Create a backup of your WordPress site’s files. You should already be regularly backing up your site, but now is the time to do so if you don’t have a clean copy. You can use a free FTP (File Transfer Protocol) tool like FileZilla to do so.

    Once you have connected your server via FTP, you will go to your root folder, which has all the files of your WordPress site. This folder will either be called public_html or www or even be named after your site’s domain name.

    Once you have located the root folder, right-click on it and download it. This might take some time because it is downloading your entire root directory onto your computer.

  • Backup and export your WordPress database. The next step is to backup your WordPress database. Go to your database, which you can typically access via your control panel. For cPanel users, you’ll find it in the Database section. Next, click on phpMyAdmin and find your site’s database on the left-hand list. Once you find the database, locate the Export tab at the top menu. Under the Export Method, select Export and then Go.

    You will now have a downloaded copy of your WordPress site in .sql format.

  • Import the contents of your old SQL database into a new one. If your new WordPress hosting provider uses cPanel, go to Database → MySQL Databases. You’ll create a new database and add a new user (make sure to remember the name you pick!)

    Next, go to phpMyAdmin to access your database. Find the Import tab and upload the .sql file from Step 3.

  •  Upload your site’s files. Login to your new server via FTP and locate the root folder. Once inside, click on Upload. Now, you’ll update the file from Step 1. Select all the files and directories and upload them.
  • Edit the wp-config.php file. Return back to the new root folder and locate the wp-config.php file. Right click on it and then select View/Edit. Now, you’ll be able to open the file and make edits on it. You will need to update three lines:

    define(‘DB_NAME, ‘db_name');

 

define(‘DB_USER, ‘db_user');

define(‘DB_PASSWORD, ‘db_pass');

Update this with the information from Step 4. Next, save the file and close it.

  1. Configure and update your DNS. The last step is to point your Domain Name Server (DNS) towards your new host. To do so, you will need to obtain information from your new host and access the registrar where you bought your domain name. Each hosting provider will be slightly different, so reach out to your specific hosting provider for help on this step.

Final Thoughts

Before following any of these methods, check with your new hosting provider. Some web hosts will offer complimentary migration services to new subscribers or will be there to assist you throughout the process. Take your time when migrating your website, and always have a backup on hand if something goes wrong.

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