4 Ways to Migrate Your WordPress Website

Website migration to web server illustration

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The process of migrating a WordPress website hasn’t changed much over the years, but it has gotten easier with the release of new tools and technology. We’ll cover 4 ways for you to migrate your WordPress website from one host to another. It doesn’t matter if you’re a WordPress beginner or a full-time WordPress designer, we’ll show you how to get your WordPress website migrated to a new web server or web hosting company.

To successfully migrate a WordPress website, you need to take a copy of the website database and download all of the files in the WordPress folder on the webserver. It’s important that your website migration goes correctly, as a failed WordPress migration could result in missing images, error messages, broken functionality, lost search rankings, or a website that doesn’t load at all.

Sound difficult? It doesn’t have to be!

Here are 4 ways to migrate your WordPress website to a new web host or server.

WordPress Migration Method #1: Use a WordPress migration plugin

There are several WordPress migration plugins that you can use to easily migrate your website. We recommend using the free All-in-One WP Migration plugin. It’s easy to install, and it doesn’t require you to download any files manually, which is nice if you’re migrating websites on a regular basis (such as every quarter).

All-In-One WP Migration has options to import or export files from either an .xml file, or directly from the WordPress database. Once you’ve exported your website with All-in-One WP Migration, you can go to your new web host, install a fresh copy of WordPress, install All-in-One Migration, and upload your exported website file. The plugin will handle the rest of the WordPress migration process for you.

Another popular plugin for migrating your WordPress website is Duplicator. The Duplicator plugin for WordPress is a lightweight plugin that allows you to clone your website’s content, settings, plugins, and themes to any location, including a new web host or even a new domain – perfect for when you want to clone a WordPress website!

For either of these plugins, the website migration time will vary depending on the size and complexity of your website.

WordPress Migration Method #2: Manually Download Your Website Files & Database with cPanel

Download Your WordPress Website Files

The first step in moving WordPress is to get your files. In cPanel, you may download the whole of your website by downloading the public_html folder to your computer in just a few clicks. Log into your cPanel and click on File Manager, and then look for your public_html folder.

Right-click on it, and select Compress.

Compress your website with File Manager in cPanel

After compressing the folder, a zip file should be available for download. If you don’t see it, try reloading the file manager.

Right-click on the newly created zip file to download it to your computer.

Migrating WordPress from cPanel File Manager

The next step is to get a copy of your database. You can download your database quickly with cPanel by using the Backup tool, located near the File Manager icon.

Taking a site backup with cPanel

Click Backup and look for the heading Download a MySQL Database Backup. Below this, you’ll see a list of your databases. Click on the name of any of these to download them.

You’re ready to move on to the next part of migrating your WordPress website.

Uploading Your WordPress Website to the New cPanel Web Host

Log into your new hosting cPanel and go to the File Manager. Navigate to the domain’s folder and then select upload at the top of the screen. This will open a new window where you can select which files to upload. Select the website zip file from your computer.

Uploading files to cPanel

After the zip file is uploaded, you’ll see it listed among the files. Right-click on it and select Extract. This will unzip the entire website to wherever you selected.

Extracting zip files in cPanel file manager

Alternatively, you can use FileZilla to upload your website files to the new server.

Linking WordPress to the New Database

Before you can begin this step, you need to create a new database and database user. Most hosts have some type of database creation tool or “wizard” to do this.

While going through this process, be sure to take a copy of the following information:

  • Your database name
  • Your database user
  • Your database password
  • Your database host (many times this is localhost, but not in all situations)

Open up the file called wp-config.php. This is located in the main directory for your website. You should only need to update four (4) lines of text in most scenarios (some hosts may require additional changes).

Update WP Config with Database Info

WordPress Migration Method #3: WordPress Migration Services

If you’re dealing with a very large website or one that’s extremely complex with lots of plugins and customizations, it might be best to hire a WordPress migration service. WordPress migration services are especially helpful for those who don’t have the time or technical know-how to move their site themselves.

You can hire us to migrate your WordPress website for you. Have an SSL certificate? Subdomains? Need your email migrated too? No problem! We’ve got you covered. We have experience migrating websites and domains of all types. Hire Bocain Designs and get the job done hassle-free.

WordPress Migration Method #4: Web Host Migration Tools

Due to the popularity of WordPress and the competition within the web hosting industry, any good web host that wants to stay ahead of the curve needs to offer ways to attract and accommodate WordPress site owners.

One of the ways they do this is by offering free migration services or an easy to use, migration plugin. SiteGround has their “WordPress Automatic Migrator tool“, WP Engine has “WP Engine Automated Migration” plugin, and DreamHost has its own “DreamHost Automated Migration” plugin. Ask your web host if they offer a migration tool or service of their own.

Looking for web host recommendations? See our top 3 web hosts for small business websites.

How to Migrate a WordPress Website that has an SSL Certificate?

If your site has an SSL, it’s very important that you get the SSL certificate re-keyed (if you’re reusing it), or to have a new SSL certificate ready at the new host. Once you do, you’re ready to complete the website migration as mentioned above.

The next step is a time-sensitive one.

As soon as you change your domain settings, start attempting to install your SSL certificate on the new host. If you’ve completed the move and yet haven’t installed the SSL on the new host, you’ll receive a security warning or alert like this. This is something you don’t want visitors to see!

Your connection is not private

While we try to help business owners take full control of their online presence whenever possible, there’s simply too much at stake when it comes to this sort of transfer. If you’re moving a WordPress site with an SSL, we recommend hiring a professional.

You’re Ready to Migrate Your WordPress Website!

With the guidance above, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to complete your own WordPress migration. If you’d like our assistance with moving your website to a new server or domain, we’d be happy to assist. Contact us for more information.

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