Moving Your WordPress Site the Easy Way

christian parker

Oct 10 2016

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re running a website, blog, or a combination of both on the WordPress platform. You’re not the only one. WordPress is currently the dominant free and open-source Content Management System (CMS) around. Around a quarter of the top 10 million websites in the world are built with WordPress, and the total number of WordPress sites totals more than 60 million.

WordPress: Easy to Use, Easy to Migrate

WordPress is a very easy to use CMS, and offers abundant options for users with any level of expertise. In this article we’re not going to look ‘under the WordPress hood’, or tell you how to build a WordPress site in a day – you can find plenty of good sources to help you build your site. Here you’ll learn what to do when you want to move your existing WP site to a new hosting company.

While most leading hosting providers by now include a specific ‘full WordPress integration’ offer as part of their service, WordPress hosting does not require you to be a technical expert in any sense. Anyone can do it, really. Moving your website from one host to the next, on the other hand, can still be a rather daunting and stressful experience. Unless you know what you’re doing – and you will soon enough!

I need a new host – what do I do?

Problems with your hosting company? Again, you’re not alone! And although it is never a process you’re particularly keen on starting, changing hosts does have its advantages. WordPress even offers its own recommended hosting providers. BlueHost is a hosting company that has received the stamp of approval from WordPress. It scores very well overall, but there are hosts that score even better in our tests – like eHost.

A new hosting company will be happy to welcome you, and will not be afraid to show it: a good price offer (often a welcome package like the first six months for 50%), great service, and possibly some hands-on assistance with the task of migrating your WordPress site to their servers. But in order for you to be prepared, we’ll tell you how to migrate yourself – so you’ll be able to take care of all of the details with or without any help!

Step 1: Back up your site

It’s always good to back up your site available in case of emergencies. Even though migrating the site to a new server is not really a risky task, knowing that a full backup is there in case you need it is a relief.

  • First, log in to your site’s cPanel account.
  • Once inside, look for and open the phpMyAdmin application, in which you select the database that contains your WordPress installation from the list on the left.
  • Finally, click on the “Export” tab in the navigation menu.
  • Click the “Go” button. and the database export process will begin and a file will be downloaded to your local computer.

For the WordPress files, a similar procedure is available:

  • In the cPanel, look for the File Manager
  • In the File Manager, you have the option to make a zip file of the site content. This takes a bit of time, but this method is still more efficient than uploading all the files separately.
  • So, zip the content and download the zip file to the destination of your choice on your computer.

Step 2: Create your site’s WordPress database on the new host’s server

Before migrate anything, you need to make sure there’s a database available in the new hosting environment. You need this empty database in order to import the contents – the SQL data – of the database of your site.

In the newly created, still empty, database you have the option to import an .sql file. And conveniently, you made an .sql file in step one, when you exported the database. That is obviously the one you want to import into the new database.

Follow the same procedure to upload the site’s content to the new hosting environment. Upload the zip file to the root folder and unzip it to the same location that you used in the old hosting environment, in order to get the same content tree back.

Step 3: Reconfigure WordPress to reactivate the site on the new server location

With the original content and the database now transferred to the new hosting environment, the only thing left to do is reconfigure your WordPress setup, so it will work in the new environment.

The wp-config.php file is the file to adjust. It is located in the root folder – the folder you just unzipped the site’s content into. Look for the following lines in this file:

define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘user_wrdp1’);

/** MySQL database username */

define(‘DB_USER’, ‘user_wrdp1’);

/** MySQL database password */

define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘password’);

Obviously, you need to replace all the parameters in this file with new data. Your new hosting company already sent you this info when you opened a hosting account with them.

In the information you received from them, look for the DB_NAME, the DB_USER and the DB_PASSWORD, and fill the received info in between the quotes right after the variable names.

Save the wp-config file. After this, your site should be back online almost immediately!

Check out our top-rated WordPress hosting services right here.

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