Moving your WordPress website to a new hosting service is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Even when you have a clear idea of how to migrate your WordPress website to the new host, the process requires careful attention to detail.
One of the most important concerns when migrating is downtime – the period during which the website is not available to visitors.
Downtime can mean lost revenue or lost visitors and nobody wants that!
As a result, the aim of every migration is to move the website to the new host without any downtime or loss of data.
That’s what we’re going to show you today. We are going to outline a simple, no-nonsense method to migrate a WordPress website from one host to another.
At the end, you should have a fully operational website on your new host with zero downtime.
Our team has performed countless migrations between them, so you’re in safe hands!
Very Important: Backup your website
Before going any further, we suggest you backup your website.
Migration is a risky process, and even though we know what we’re doing, things can always go wrong. If you have a backup, you can quickly get back online by restoring the archive.
- Ask the experts to migrate the website for you
- Migrate your WordPress website to a new host
- The process of migrating a site to a new server
Ask the experts to migrate the website for you
Many popular hosting providers offer website migration, often free for the first website. This is a great option if you don’t have enough time or the technical skills to handle the process.
If you have found a new hosting provider and purchased a package, it is always a good idea to ask about website migration. Many providers will help you set up a support ticket and handle your migration for you.
If you would rather do it yourself, read on!
Migrate your WordPress website to a new host
Migrating your WordPress website is all about following a set process.
Before describing the steps, we will assume:
- You have administrator access to the server where your website is currently hosted.
- You have purchased a new hosting package from a different hosting provider and have the login.
Step 1: Pick the right WordPress migration plugin
WordPress has several migration plugins that take care of the major steps of the process for you.
Plugins help make sure that all the tables, media and theme files are moved to the new host at the proper location.
Of course, you can opt not to use a plugin for the migration process. In that case, you have to manually move the WordPress website files (in proper order) to the new host.
Using a plugin is faster and easier though, so we’ll go with that!
Here are three WordPress migration plugins you can try when moving your site to its new home.
For the purpose of this guide, we’ll use Duplicator. However, with minor changes, it applies to all plugins.
The process of migrating a site to a new server
Migrating a website may seem complicated at first, but it really isn’t. We have explained it in detail in a 6 step tutorial guide!
Step 2: Backup all your website files
Backing up is essential when making major changes on a website. You can back up all your website files to your local computer or somewhere safe before starting the migration process.
Duplicator helps you back up all your website files, but for that, you need to have the plugin on your website.
- Go to Plugins > Add New and search for Duplicator.
- Install and Activate the plugin.
- Select Duplicator > Packages > Create New
- Enter the name of the package.
- Check the default storage endpoint (where you’ll store the backup) and click Next.
The next step involves the scanner running and validating the results.
- Select the Yes check button and click on the option of the build.
Once the backup files are ready, you can select the One-Click Download option. This downloads your backup files and the installer.php file to your local computer.
You’ll need the installer.php file in order to install the backup on your new host.
By default, all the files in the WordPress root directory will be archived. It includes a copy of your database too.
You have the option to filter directories, files, and database tables when creating the package.
But, you may need those files so we suggest filtering only the files that you will no longer need.
We would also suggest keeping a copy of the packages and storing it safely throughout the migration process!
Step 3: Import site data to the new host
Now, you can import your WordPress website to the new host.
You can import the website to your new web host using a file manager.
- Log into the dashboard of your new hosting account.
- Scroll down to the Files section and select File Manager.
- Navigate to the directory that is created for the new domain name – the one you will be transferring in. It is usually public_html/yourdomainname.com.
Duplicator installs WordPress on your new host so that’s not something you need to work on.
- Upload your duplicate package both the archive zip file and installer.php file to the site’s root directory.
Make sure that you don’t have WordPress installed, as the plugin does that for you.
If WordPress has already been installed, delete it and then upload both the archive zip file and installer.php file to the site’s root directory.
Step 4: Create a MySQL database on the new host
Before running the installer on the new host, you need to create a MySQL database.
If you have already created one, you can skip this step and head toward the next.
In order to create a database in cPanel:
- Head to the new hosting account’s cPanel dashboard.
- Scroll down to the Databases section and select MySQL Database Wizard.
- Enter a name for the database.
The next step involves a user account that will be able to access the new database.
- Fill in the required information.
Note down the login and password somewhere safe. You will need this information later.
Now, you need to assign your new user account to the new database.
- Select ALL PRIVILEGES.
- Click on Next Step.
Step 5: Start the process using Duplicator
Your website is ready to run the installer.
- Navigate the following address replacing the yourdomainname.com with your website domain name:
On the page, you’ll see the main interface of the installer.
- Accept the terms and click on Next.
The next step requires you to enter the connection details of your new database (the one you created in step 4).
Usually, the Host value is set to localhost.
- Click on Test Database once you have filled in all the information.
If the information you filled in is correct, you will see a progress window.
- Click on the Next button to continue.
Duplicator will now import your WordPress database from the archive to your new database.
Within a few seconds, the installation will be complete.
This is what the final confirmation message looks like when you manage to move WordPress to a new server:
- Log in to your WordPress website on the new host to ensure that everything is working fine.
Step 6: Update the domain and point to the new server
Following the above steps, you have built a copy of your WordPress database and files on your new hosting server.
But, the domain of your site is still pointing towards your old web host.
To update your domain, you will need to switch your DNS nameservers. This ensures visitors are directed towards the new location of your site when they visit.
Your host provides two nameservers through which you can connect the domain name to the server hosting your content.
In SiteGround, the information can be found on My Accounts > Information and Settings tab > Account DNS.
The nameservers are stored in a place that is easily accessible.
After finding out your nameservers, log in to your domain registrar or old web host if your name is registered there and replace the nameservers of your old host with the new one.
If you’re having difficulty finding out the correct DNS addresses, you can contact the support at your new host.
You can change the nameserver settings with popular domain registrars following the tutorial guide:
- Change domain nameservers with Namecheap
- Change domain nameservers with SiteGround
- Change domain name servers with Bluehost
After you set the DNS settings of your domain to point to a new server it can take up to 48 hours to complete the process.
Once complete, you have successfully migrated your WordPress website to a new web host!
Migrating a WordPress website to a new server or host is a lengthy process for sure.
However, if you follow our simple six step guide, you’ll be able to migrate your website and have it up and running within an hour.
All without losing data or traffic!
Was this guide easy to follow? Did you use it to migrate your own website? Have any issues you need help with? Let us know in the comments section below.