Whenever launching a new website, we look for 100% uptime, flashlight page loading time, affordable prices, and a rich feature set at minimum cost. Unfortunately, few WordPress hosting providers work that way. Some of them fail to deliver enough capacity, security, and performance making businesses and website owners transfer a WordPress site to another host.
A few are really eager to handle the migration process, as it may result in downtime, traffic losses, etc. On the other hand, if the current hosting platform does not meet project requirements, it may result in much more serious problems in the future especially for growing and salable websites.
When it comes to WordPress website migration, there are four major options to choose from. They vary with regard to the transfer approach, steps and knowledge/coding skills required as well as budget investment. Listed below are the options to go for:
It makes sense to find out more about each option before you actually decide on the most suitable solution, which works best for your individual web project.
How to Move a WordPress Site to a New Host On Your Own
The migration process only seems to be difficult. It turns out that website owners do not even have to hire third-party specialists to handle it. All you need is a bit of attention and a step-by-step guide with all stages described in detail. So, here you are!
The process includes the following stages:
- Find a good alternative to an existing host.
- Backup the website files.
- Export the website database.
- Create the new WP database on the new host.
- Edit files.
- Import database and upload WP files.
- Update the domain name server and make some final moves.
Now, let’s have a closer look at each stage.
Step 1. Find Hosting Alternative
The first stage is to find a new host with all the features we have discussed earlier. Compare and contrast different options. Make sure the platform totally satisfies you in terms of security, performance, integration or ease of use.
Robust hosting providers deliver WP-optimized solutions for different project types. They include hosting packages for simple websites at minimum cost as well as solutions for growing business and eCommerce projects with a set of relevant plugins, security means, and resources for stable performance.
What we are trying to say is that if you make up your mind to move to another host, it should be the best match for your WordPress. Bluehost is probably a top hosting solution with its WP-optimized offers for content-based and eCommerce projects. It has proved to be the most reliable in terms of performance, security, and features set to provide.
Step 2. Backup Website Files
The idea is to download all the website files in the local folder located on your PC or laptop. On the one hand, it will let you save all configurations and crucial website elements. On the other hand, further migration would be impossible without those files.
To handle the process, you will need:
- Get an FTP program tool installed.
- Connect to the current web host.
- Create a separate folder on your computer.
- Download website files under its directory to that folder.
Several plugins may help to make the process less complicated. However, a manual approach is still necessary.
Step 3. Export the Website Database
The process only sounds to be complicated. As a rule, you may complete this stage in two simple steps. At first, you need to log in to your web server and enter the control panel. The next stage is to find a PHPMyAdmin app and located the website database there. The last step is to use the navigation menu and click on the “Export” tab.
As a rule, hosting providers describe this particular stage in their how-to guides and articles. If you still have difficulties with this particular stage, feel free to contact the host customer support team to land you a hand.
Step 4. Create a New Site Database
The last thing you need to prepare before the migration is to log in to a new host and create a new file database there. The idea is to create a suitable environment for the website to feel good in its new hosting ecosystem. The step is also vital for the WordPress installation process as well.
Now you need to do the following:
- Sign in to a new host using credentials provided.
- Enter the control panel and make sure there is a MySQL application.
- Go to MySQL settings and create a new database. Don’t forget to indicate the database name that refers to your website.
- Create a new user account and link it with a new database.
- Write down a username and password and make sure a new user has all the privileges.
Now, you can move on to the next stage.
Step 5. Edit Files
Go to a folder on your computer with exported website files. Find the wp-config.php and copy it to another local folder. The step is vital to prevent the database from file loss or damages in case something goes wrong. The file itself appears to be a link between the database and WordPress. You may use it to restore changes in the future.
Now you need to make several vital changes in the original final to make it suit your new host account. Those changes include database name, username, and password you have written down during the previous stage.
Step 6. Import database and upload WP files
Now, you are ready to import a new database to a new host along with WordPress files. To do so, you need to enter the dashboard of a new account and find phpMyAdmin application. Then we have an already-created new database. Open it and click on the “Import” navigation bar.
The system will let you choose a folder with files from your local computer to download. Choose SQL files we have exported during the first stage. Wait a bit until the folder is downloaded. The time depends on the number of files as well as the folder’s size.
The last is to use the FTP tool to import WordPress website files and place them in a new folder created in the host cPanel. You might also need to wait for some time. Note: keep those files on your local computer unless the import process has been successfully finished. Do not rush to delete them.
Step 7. Final Moves
The last stage is to make sure your website visitors will be directed to a new location. This is where domain server update is necessary. The process depends on whether you have previously registered a domain name separately or using the previous host.
If you opted for domain registrars, you only need to edit DNS nameservers. As a rule, hosting providers indicate them to update in a relevant section. Simply go to domain settings, press “Manage DNS”, and enter values provided by the new host.
If you move to another host along with the domain, you will need to enter the database and change site_url and home URL values in the control panel.
The good news is that some robust WP-optimized hosting providers include free domain and website transfers in their plans. A great feature for those, who do not want to manage the process manually of afraid of redirecting people to the old website location.
WordPress Migration Tools
The web offers multiple WordPress migration tools that help you cope with the task in the best way possible. Some of them offer fully automated approach to the project transfer process, while others are semi-automated. The latter services, correspondingly, imply a certain degree of programming proficiency to move some of the website assets manually. Let’s review the most popular of them now.
WP Migrate DB
WP Migrate DB is a WordPress plugin developed by Delicious Brains, which makes the process of moving your website to another host smooth and hassle-free (read our review). The plugin allows exporting the project database via MySQL data dump along with defining URLs and file paths. It is a great pick for users, who intend to copy their WordPress websites to a staging server or just make the update of the available project version with new info.
The plugin offers two options with regard to users’ needs and budget. You can opt for a free mode, which has quite a limited feature set or give preference to the premium solution, which has a number of advantages over the free one. WP Migrate DB comes with multisite support, opportunity of database export and replacement, video tutorials, unlimited number of replaces, selectable tables that can be transferred to the new project and opportunity of local database staging/production push/replacement. The PRO version also offers a number of powerful add-ons to integrate into a project. These include media files, plugin files and themes, multisite tools, WP-CLI etc.
Mind, however, that the add-ons are not available to Personal Plan subscribers, which is one of the plugin demerits. The same is about priority support. What’s more, WP Migrate DB customer support service is not available 24/7 (you can get with the team from Monday to Friday only) and there is no live chat option here.
WP Migrate DB comes in two modes – free and paid (Pro). Premium version, in its turn, offers a number of extra features and tools that contribute to effective result. If you decide to opt for a paid plan, the plugin is provided with four packages. Their cost, correspondingly, constitutes $49, $99, $199 and $249 per year.
Duplicator is one of the most well-known and functional plugins for WordPress transfer. It helps move your project files to a new host without losing the available content. Some of the available options include file copying, cloning, moving and duplicating, although traditional website migration is possible here as well. The plugin combines manual and automated file transfer options to ensure the utmost safety and control over the process.
Due to the versatile feature set, the plugin lets you smoothly place a live WordPress website into the required local environment. You need a couple of clicks only to complete the task. Along with complete website transfer, it’s also possible to duplicate the project here for maximum safety. You won’t have to bother about scripts import/export as the system will do everything for you in almost no time.
Considering powerful integrated Duplicate functionality, it works best for the transfer of multiple websites rather than for one project migration. Likewise, the use of the plugin implies a certain coding background as there is a manual asset transfer option here.
Duplicate is available in two versions – free and paid. The basic feature set is included into a free plan, but if you intend to get more advanced features, consider an opportunity to upgrade to the premium version. Thus, Duplicator Pro has a personal license, the cost of which constitutes $59. However, you can pay extra fees, depending upon the number of websites you intend to move.
Migrate Guru is another WordPress transfer plugin, which allows simplifying the project migration process offering a rich integrated toolset. This concerns the transfer of single websites as well as multisite networks. The service allows moving websites, the size of which constitutes up to 200GB. Thus, it works best for the bulk transfer of multifaceted WordPress projects.
The plugin offers a one-click integration approach, which makes it one of the fastest and most reliable website transfer solutions, when it comes to switching between hosts. A real advantage of the platform is that it allows migrating website assets and managing all the transfers on the system servers. This eliminates the need to worry about the potential bugs. There is also no need for extra add-on integration, which makes the platform compatible with any web host. All in all, it supports over 5000 hosts around the world. The plugin additionally has an automated built-in search and replace option for quicker and more efficient project transfer.
As to the service demerits, Migrate Guru does not allow for the creation of website backups. This, correspondingly, requires more control and precise attention to each step of the migration process.
The plugin is absolutely free for everyone. There are no additional features you can avail, when upgrading to a premium version of the program.
All-In-One WP Migration
All-in-One WP Migration plugin grants access to an impressive variety of features and tools needed for successful WordPress website transfer. It comes with multiple integrations that allow for quick and effective download of your project files without the need to possess tech skills. The plugin has a convenient and handy drag-and-drop interface that lets you easily move your project to a new server.
The service comes with integrated find and replace options, which allows completing files export in the automated mode. All-in-One WP Migration plugin is compatible with any web host, which eliminates the need to choose from suitable/unsuitable hosting companies to avoid performance-related nuances. The software unveils the possibility to connect with dozens of extensions/add-ons to link third-party cloud storage tools like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and more.
The service does not have serious demerits, being one of the easiest and most efficient WordPress website transfer plugins. You don’t have to possess coding skills to use the plugin – everything is done with a few clicks only.
All-in-One WP Migration is an open-source software, which means that it is available in a free version. However, a premium license is available here as well. Its cost constitutes $69. The paid package additionally offers an opportunity to restore backups, exclude files and work with WP CLI commands.
WordPress Website Transfer by the Support Service of the New Hosting
Are you stuck with your WordPress website transfer issues? Don’t wish to bother about complex migration-related aspects to be sure about your project safety and quality performance afterwards? Then you don’t have to invest into website transfer tools. Instead, you can pick a reliable hosting provider to deal with.
The thing is that most hosting companies offer website transfer services completed by their developers. This eliminates the need to worry about potential challenges you can encounter on any of the stages as well as the bugs that may emerge out of a sudden.
To order professional website transfer, you need to sign up for an account of the hosting platform you have selected. Likewise, you will have to pick a hosting plan that complies with your project specifications and offers the utmost performance. As soon as you are done with the choice, you will be offered to get in touch with the team of developers to discuss the nuances and project specifications. They will handle the migration process for you during the specified time interval.
Website Transfer by Third-Party Services
If none of the above mentioned options appeals to you for some reason, you can order your WordPress website transfer from third-party services. Actually, there are many of them out there, differing in their project migration approaches, tools and software used, pricing policies, proficiency level and, of course, credibility.
What you should know before looking for third-party assistance is that this solution is frequently the most expensive as compared to the previously reviewed options. Get ready to fully entrust your project with unknown specialists, which may pose your project safety at risk. You never know what kind of professionals you will work with. Much depends upon their expertise rate, but there is always a possibility that they may break your website code, which will threaten its entire performance.
When working with third-party pros, don’t forget that they don’t bear any responsibility for the result, even if they assure you that they do. The only way to protect your project is to make its complete backup before placing an order. If anything goes wrong, you will always be able to restore your previous website version to keep working with it further.
Key Reasons to Transfer a WordPress Site to a New Host
Before you dive deep into the website transferring process, let’s have a look at some crucial reasons why you may actually want to move to another host. A website defines your future business success despite the niche. That is why you expect 100% safety and performance. Unfortunately, not all hosting providers are able to back up their guarantees. So, the reasons are as follows:
Literally, all hosting providers claim to offer 99.99% uptime. A crucial rate for any website to prevent traffic losses or damaged SEO optimization. Too much downtime may result in the following:
- Sales Losses. Mainly refers to eCommerce projects. When your website is not working, it does not bring revenues. As a result, you lose leads as well as potential customers and money, of course.
- Damages SEO. The longer downtime the more detriment to the website SEO ranks. Search engines will have enough reasons to push your site down compared to competitors that work more stable.
- Bad Web Reputation. Imagine a user desperately trying to browse your website but fail dew to regular downtime. It makes a bad impression especially if you deal with the B2B niche.
Low Website Loading Speed
The bad consequences of low page load speed are practically the same as with regular downtime. It results in poor SEO ranking as well as bad users’ impressions. For this reason, you might need a hosting provider that uses modern technologies to improve that rate. A good idea is to look for the following features:
- Up-to-date SSD instead of typical hard-disk drives to read the data faster resulting in the overall better website performance.
- Enhanced resources with the implementation of cloud-based hosting networks blended with the VPS environment for huge and complex web projects.
- Better caching with the help of additional plugins, CDN access, etc.
Of course, extra features come at extra costs. However, they are certainly worth that money, especially in the long run.
The Lack of Digital Security
When managing your website, you need to be 100% sure it operates in the most secure way. A hosting provider should deliver means to prevent projects from frauds, scamming, spamming, etc. Moreover, you might need more enhanced features to protect the website from DDoS and other types of attacks or malicious programs.
Automatic system updates, regular backups, anti-spam security kits, automated monitoring and error fixing – if a hosting platform fails to provide any of these, you should obviously move your WordPress site to a new host.
Limited Customization Freedom
As an open-source platform, WordPress CMS ensures numerous web design and customization opportunities. However, they require good technical skills while newbies and non-technicians might look for a WP-optimized solution that is easier to use.
For example, it is better to have seamless WP integration rather than set up CMS yourself. In addition, you will be pleased to have plugins fine-tuned and updates automatically instead of managing them manually.
Helpless Customer Support
Having stuck with your website and no one to help is a nightmare. A hosting provider with no experienced support team will result in huge problems every time you have technical issues, website breakdowns, problems with plan renewal, etc.
Those are only a few reasons why you might need to transfer your WordPress site to a new host. With so many WP-optimized solutions, you will certainly find a better solution. All you need is to learn about the migration process as much as possible to handle it on your own.
WordPress website migration to a new host is quite a time-taking and challenging endeavour unless you are an experienced web developer. Ordinary users, however, are frequently unaware of specific WordPress aspects as well as of the issues associated with the migration process itself. Thus, they have four solutions to choose from, when it comes to moving their projects between the hosts.
Manual website migration is the most complicated solution, which requires coding proficiency, expertise and patience. This will have a direct impact upon the result. Manual/automated project transfer may also be done by opting for specialized software like WordPress plugins and tools. They make database export easier and faster.
If you don’t wish to bother about DIY website migration, you have two other options to choose from. Some hosting providers allow opting for their tech support assistance to handle the process with minimum time/effort required. Finally, you can always hire third-party developers, who will complete the task for you. This option, however, is the most expensive and less reliable as compared to previous ones.
It’s only up to you to choose the software, which complies with your needs, objectives, budget, skills and expectations most. Just make sure to pick the option, which will ensure maximum safety and worthy performance of your WordPress website afterwards.