How to Migrate a WordPress Website to a New Host?

How to Migrate a WordPress Website to a New Host?

Migrating a website to a new host can be a challenge. Once your service provider no longer meets the needs of your business, you have to make changes. But does it have to involve a lot of stress, downtime and a drop in traffic? How to move a WordPress site to a new host smoothly? Keep reading!

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Sometimes your current hosting provider unexpectedly raises prices or implements changes that don’t suit you. The helpdesk leaves much to be desired, uptime isn’t 100%, or you encounter a better offer.

Moreover, growing your ecommerce frequently equals expanding your website. In this case, previous services become insufficient.

Regardless of why you decide to migrate your WordPress site from the old server to the new one, you should carry out all the activities step by step. This way, you can prevent unwanted obstacles.

So what should you do?

Follow our guide – we want to help you understand and implement all the modifications connected to moving the WordPress site to a new host manually.

WordPress Website Migration

First the good news: moving a website to another hosting isn’t as complex as it might seem. In fact, it’s simpler than moving a page to another CMS or migrating content in general.

When to Move a Website to a New Host Manually?

The answer to this question is simple. When you’re well prepared, you have a strategy and you’re able to do it in the shortest possible time.

As far as the time of day is concerned, it’s best to move a WordPress site to a new host when users aren’t active.

What does it mean? Usually, you can do it during night hours, but the specific data can be found in Google Analytics. The time of year doesn’t matter much here, because it’s not a very demanding type of migration. However, it’s advisable to migrate your website off the season.

If your current hosting is giving you sleepless nights and slowing down your site, it’s better to do it right away (note how important site speed is according to Core Web Vitals).

Does Website Migration Differ Depending on the Hosting?

How to migrate a WordPress website to a new host? Does hosting matter here?

While the type of CMS has a big impact on the migration (in the case of WordPress you’ll often use plugins), hosting isn’t important. Of course, there will be some differences.

However, the changes will rather consider the design of the client panel. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to remember that each hosting combines some of the most important aspects that affect website migration:

  • MySQL database,
  • Access to an FTP account,
  • Possibility of uploading files to the server,
  • Possibility of installing WordPress (manually or automatically).

If your hosting has the above features, then you can safely move your website to a new server. use the following guide.

3 Ways to Migrate a WordPress Website to a New Host

Option 1 – Help from the Service Provider

Sometimes it turns out that you don’t really have to do much. As hosting providers want new customers, they often offer to take care of most of the paperwork for you.

Moving a website to a new server is one of the most complicated tasks. Therefore, if you are afraid that your skills aren’t good enough to move your WordPress site to a new host manually, check if your provider doesn’t offer to do it for you. Often this service is free, but check if there are any hidden costs.

technical seo and m commerce

Option 2 – Moving the Site with the Help of a Plugin

If you decide to migrate the website on your own, with the use of WordPress plug-ins, prepare the right environment. This is what you’ll need:

  • new hosting;
  • a plugin to back up WordPress, such as all-in-one WP Migration, WP Vivid, or Duplicator;
  • a file to install WordPress on the new server

A step-by-step guide:

1. First, install WordPress on your new hosting. Many service providers offer an installation package. Thanks to it you don’t have to manually upload the files to the server. However, if you need to, use the file downloaded from the WordPress website and upload it to the server. Follow the instructions from your host provider, usually using FileZilla.

2. On a ready WordPress site, install the plugin of your choice. From the menu bar on the left, select Plugins -> Add New -> Install.

wordpress add new plugin

Our suggested plugins are Duplicator, All-in-One WP Migration, or WP Vivid. They can be found in the WordPress plugin library.

wordpress plugins for seo migration

Tip: Read about the site copy size limitations of each plugin. If you are migrating a very large site, instead of Duplicator/All-in-one WP Migration, for example, you can use the UpdraftPlus plugin, which has no site size restrictions.

3. When you go to the “Export” tab, you will see the possible options for exporting a page. Select “click to expand” to see them all. You can decide that you don’t want to export plugins or the site theme. However, you don’t have to select anything here for the export to work properly.

4. Below that you can see the green “Export.” The plugin has dozens of different export destinations. It’s convenient to simply select a “file” you then upload to the plugin on the landing page.

Tip: For proper export and import, disable page cache plugins such as W3 Total Cache.
wordpress migration export plugin options

5. Save the copy on your computer by clicking the download button. You’ll see it when the export is complete.

migration wordpress plugin options

6. Go to the landing page and open the same plugin in your WordPress dashboard. Open the Import tab – the one where you upload the file from your drive.

migration wordpress export plugin options

7. Add (drag) a drive file to the appropriate area or click Import from -> File.

wordpress migration plugin import

8. Once you have finished uploading your files to the server, you should get a message that everything is ready. You should also see a warning about overwriting data. Continue and let the plugin complete the entire process for you.

Remember – if something goes wrong, it may be caused by your website being too heavy, not having enough server space, or having a poor internet connection. Remember that every WordPress plugin has its own manual and a FAQ section. Use the help you can find there.

9. The final step is to update your permalinks. From within WordPress on your new server, go to Settings -> Direct Links. You don’t have to change anything here. Select “Save changes”. Don’t skip this step, even if you don’t have to change anything in the settings. Clicking “save” is necessary to ensure that your page has the correct, updated URL structure.

Need help with SEO migration? We have dedicated migration services that will be perfect in this situation. Try them out!

Option 3 – Manual Migration

If you prefer to perform actions on your site without using advanced plugins and you aren’t terrified by FTP, there is also the third option. Again, we’ll start with preparing the environment.

Be prepared for more work, as this option requires exporting a copy of the MySQL database to the new hosting. It’s about transferring a copy of the files to the new server (via FTP), updating the wp-config.php file, and redirecting the domain to the new server.

What will you need?

  • New hosting and all access data to the new FTP account;
  • access to the FTP account of the current hosting;
  • access to WordPress panel;
  • access to the database via phpMyAdmin software (login details can be found in wp-config.php file) or the WP Migrate DB plugin

A step-by-step guide

1. Export the MySQL database via phpMyAdmin or the Migrate DB plugin. Copy the database and create another one on the new server to upload the old data there.

wordpress migration plugin

2. Modify the wp-config.php file so that the access data to the new database is correct. We’re talking about the following parameters in the file code:


/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define( ‚DB_NAME’, ‚database_name’ );/** MySQL database username */define( ‚DB_USER’, ‚user_name’ );/** MySQL database password */define( ‚DB_PASSWORD’, ‚password’ );/** MySQL hostname */define( ‚DB_HOST’, ‚host’ )

3. It’s time to move your files between servers. Log into your FTP account using an application like FileZilla. To do this, fill in the data in the top bar and choose the “Quick Connect” option. Leave the “Port” box blank. You should have your login data (FTP host name, username, and password) in an email from your hosting provider or in your customer panel.

file zilla migration

4. In the window on the right, you’ll see a folder that should be named public_html. You need to copy its contents to your computer’s drive. Move it to the folder of your choice on the left.

5. Log in via FileZilla to your new server. Use the details provided by your hosting provider. Reverse the order of tasks: move the contents of the backup folder to the public_html directory.

6. Make sure that everything has been copied properly. The order of the directories should be: public_html -> wp-config.php -> wp-admin and the remaining ones.

What to Pay Special Attention to When Migrating a Website to a New Host?

  • Eliminate the risk of site downtime. This is a situation where your website becomes inaccessible to customers. This situation results in a loss of traffic and can even take a toll on your SEO results.
  • Make sure that the new server and WordPress are compatible with each other, e.g. in terms of the required PHP version.
  • Check if moving your site to a new hosting didn’t affect its speed. If it did, look for the source of the problem. It may be the PHP version or the server’s fault.
  • Check if all forms work, and the purchase process can run smoothly. Check the server compatibility against the CMS, such as the required PHP version.
  • If you’re migrating an e-commerce store, make sure that all data is merged and consistent. In a situation where the site didn’t experience a technical break, some of the orders may have been duplicated and executed on both the old and the new version of the site.
  • A site load test is a good idea. It helps to see how the increased traffic affects the loading speed of the site on the new hosting.

Moving a WordPress site to a new host isn’t as complex as it seems. Especially if you use appropriate WordPress plugins. If you prepare for it properly, you should be able to do it smoothly, without any problems.

However, if you do need help, don’t hesitate to contact us! Delante’s team has the experience and knowledge needed to move your website without causing any disturbance.

FAQ

It depends. Take a look at the scenarios below:

  • you already have a purchased domain and you don’t want to move it -> you just need to change DNS routing to a new server. How? Log in to the account where you purchased the domain. Find the tab where you can manage DNS servers, and replace the old details with the ones you probably received in the email from your new hosting provider (it’s all about the DNS server name, varies by hosting, but sounds similar to ns2.lighthosting.net or dns1.mydevil.net).
  • domain cession and transfer to a new hosting provider -> in this case you usually don’t have to do anything, because the domain redirection is already performed by the service provider.
  • completely changed domain address -> this is a different topic. It’s related to the domain migration and many complications with URLs, as well as the risk of having to build the Domain Authority from scratch. From the WordPress perspective, all you need to do is change the data in the “Site Address” box.

Want to learn more? Check out our article where we discuss domain authority and its trust levels in detail.

There are numerous plugins for backing up and migrating sites between servers. The ones we recommend are:

  • All-in-one WP Migration,
  • WP Vivid,
  • Duplicator.

WordPress website migration to a new host generally doesn’t have a negative impact on SEO.

If you’re making a conscious decision to switch hosting companies, it’s most often motivated, as you may e.g., want to speed up your site. In this case, you should expect positive results rather than problems. Provided that the migration is done correctly.

Want to learn how to measure website loading time with 7 simple tools? Check out our blog!

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Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

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