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The Ultimate Guide to WordPress Migration: How to Migrate Your Website With Ease

Last Updated on May 22nd, 2023

Welcome! If you’ve landed on this post, chances are you’re thinking about migrating your WordPress website from one host to another or from one domain to another.

Moving a WordPress website to a new web host can be cumbersome, especially if you’re not tech-savvy. But fear not!

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through all the steps to migrate your WordPress website easily. From creating a backup of your website to transferring your files and database, we’ve got you covered.

So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s get started!

What Is WordPress Migration?

Before we dive deeper, let’s first discuss what exactly WordPress migration is.

WordPress migration is the process of moving your WordPress website from one hosting service or domain name to another. The migration typically involves moving the website’s files, database, and settings from the old host to the new one.

Sounds too technical? Let me explain in easy terms.

Imagine your WordPress website is like a treehouse you built in your backyard. Now you want to move your treehouse to a different part of your backyard. 

That’s like what WordPress migration is – it’s moving your website from one place to another.

But transferring a website can be tricky, unlike moving a treehouse. You must ensure that everything in your treehouse (or website) gets moved to the new place appropriately, from all pictures to text and even the design of the treehouse.

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When you move a website, you need to ensure you don’t leave anything behind and that everything looks and works as before.

So simply put, WordPress migration is moving your website from one place to another, like moving a treehouse, but with a lot of technical stuff to ensure everything stays just right.

At this point, it’s also important to understand that website migration does not necessarily occur from one host to another. The migration process can include the following: 

  • Pushing a WordPress website from a local server to a live host.
  • Transferring a WordPress website to a new domain.
  • Moving a WordPress website from a subdomain to a top-level domain.
  • Migrating from managed hosting to shared or self-hosting.

Common Reasons for WordPress Migration

Now you’re probably wondering if the WordPress migration process is that risky & time-consuming, then why do you need to migrate your websites?  

Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Privacy and Security Concerns: WordPress is a popular CMS with a market share of 63.5%. Unfortunately, this popularity makes WordPress websites a frequent target for hackers and security breaches. 

To protect your website from hackers & spammers, you might need to migrate your WordPress sites to more secure hosting providers that offer better security features.

  • Performance Issue: If you’re experiencing slow-loading speeds, frequent downtime, or other performance issues, you may need to migrate your website to a host that offers better performance and faster loading times.
  • Affordable Hosting: WordPress website hosting can be expensive depending on traffic and resource usage.

You can cut the cost of hosting by switching to a cheaper hosting provider that offers the same services at an affordable price.

  • Change in Business Needs: Your website needs may change as your businesses grow and evolve.

And you might need to migrate your WordPress website to a new host that offers better features according to your business needs and requirements, such as e-commerce functionality or better scalability.

  • Changing Domain Name: Domain change is another vital reason for site migration. 

Domain name is like the physical/permanent address of your website, and if you’re planning to change or update the domain name of your existing website, you need to migrate your WordPress website to a new domain name.

Pre-Migration Planning

It’s important to execute and plan the migration carefully to avoid any downtime or loss of data and to ensure your website remains available to your audience during and after migration. 

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Additionally, migration can have an impact on your website’s SEO, so it’s vital to consider any potential implications for your search engine rankings & take steps to mitigate any adverse effects.

All in all, migrating a WordPress website is a daunting task. However, it can be done with ease with proper planning and execution.

We’ve curated a pre-migration checklist. We recommend you read it before you begin the migration process to ensure a smooth transition of your website content. 

✅ Take a Backup of Your Website

The first and most important step is to create a full backup of your website, including files and database. If anything goes wrong during the migration, this backup will be a fallback option. 

✅Check the New Hosting Environment

Before migrating your website, make sure the new hosting environment is set up correctly and meets all the requirements for running WordPress. 

Check that the PHP version is compatible, the database settings are correct, and the hosting plan offers enough resources.

✅Disable Caching, Firewall, or Redirect Plugins

Caching, firewall, or redirect plugins can affect your migration process, so for a smooth migration, it is better to deactivate these plugins. You can re-activate them once the migration process completes. 

✅Update WordPress, Plugins, and Themes

Ensure that you’re running the latest version of WordPress, along with all plugins and themes on the old site. Updating these items ensures the migration process goes more smoothly.

✅Enable Maintenance Mode

To ensure any user on your site doesn’t make any changes during the migration process, you can enable the maintenance mode on your site. There are many dedicated WordPress Maintenance Mode plugins that you can use on your website. 

✅Pick the Right Time

Website migration can sometimes affect your site’s performance. You should schedule your migration during the least traffic on your website so that it doesn’t hamper your users’ experience. You can analyze your website traffic using Google Analytics.

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✅Update Your DNS Records

Once the migration is complete, you will need to update your DNS records to point to the new server. This can take up to 48 hours to propagate, so it’s best to do this in advance.

How to Migrate Your WordPress Website: 3 Methods

There are three main methods to migrate your WordPress website:

  1. Let Your Host Do WordPress Site Migration For You
  2. Migrate Your WordPress Site With a Plugin (Automatically)
  3. Migrate Your WordPress Website Manually

Method 1: Let Your Host Do WordPress Site Migration for You

Many web hosting companies, such as SiteGround and Kinsta, offer managed hosting services, including website migration. 

Either they automatically do a free migration for you or offer a plugin that you can use to complete the migration process. 

All you need to do is select a reliable managed WordPress hosting provider & follow their instructions to migrate your website. 

This is a hassle-free method that you can use to migrate your WordPress website.

Method 2: Migrate Your WordPress Site With a Plugin (Automatically)

You can automate the migration process using the dedicated WordPress migration plugin. You need to do is:

  • Choose a reliable migration plugin, such as All-in-One WP Migration, Migrate Guru, or Duplicator
  • Install and activate the migration plugin on your current website
  • Follow the plugin instructions to migrate your website to the new web host

Let’s see how you can migrate your WordPress website using All-in-One WP Migration.

Step 1: Install and Activate the All-in-One WP Migration Plugin

Login to your WordPress website, go to the plugins’ page, and search for “All-In-One WP Migration.”

Once the plugin appears, click the Install Now button and then Activate.

migrate your wordpress site with a plugin (automatically)

Step 2: Export Your Site

Once the plugin installation is completed, you need to export your WordPress website using All-In-One WP Migration.

To do that, navigate to your WordPress dashboard and click All-In-One WP Migration >> Export.

This will take you to the Export Settings page of All-In-One WP Migration.

Click on the Advanced Options. You can choose which media content, plugins, and database you don’t want to export.

migrate your wordpress site with a plugin (automatically) step 2: export your site

Scroll the page, and you’ll see a green box including options for export. Since we’re using the Lite Version of All-In-One WP Migration, we can only export our website content to files. 

Click on the EXPORT TO button to run the process.

migrate your wordpress site with a plugin (automatically) step 2-1: export your site

Step 3: Import Your Site

Once you have your Exported file, it’s time to migrate your site. The process remains the same whether your site is being moved from one host to another or from a local production site to a new server.

When you set up your new website, you need to install the All-In-One WP Migration plugin again.

Then go to All-In-One WP migration >> Import.

Click on the ‘Import From’ button and select your downloaded file. As soon as you add the file, the migration process starts.

migrate your wordpress site with a plugin (automatically) step 3: import your site

And this way, you can simply migrate your WordPress website using a plugin.

Method 3: Migrate Your WordPress Website Manually

Manual migration involves exporting the database, copying files, and updating DNS records. This method is more time-consuming but gives you more control over the migration process.

Let’s learn how you can migrate your WordPress website manually. 

Step 1: Create a Backup of Your Existing WordPress Site Files

Before migrating your site manually, you need to create a backup of your existing WordPress website files. 

To access your website files, you need an SFTP/FTP client. You can use software such as FileZilla or Cyberduck to connect to your site’s server. 

For this, you’ll need your FTP credentials, which you can get from your web host.

Once you connect to your server via FTP, locate your site’s root directory. This is where you’ll find all your website files and folders.

It’s usually public_html; right-click on the root folder and choose Download.

Check out our detailed tutorial on WordPress FTP Access Guide

Step 2: Export Your Database

Once you’ve copied all your website’s files, you’ll require your WordPress database. 

To access your database, you’ll be required to log in to your web hosting account or cPanel and locate a section called Databases.

In your Databases folder, click the phpMyAdmin option, and choose the Export option.

This will download a SQL-formatted copy of the site’s database.

migrate your wordpress website manually

Step 3: Create a New Database

Next, you require creating a new database on the web host you are migrating to. 

To create a new empty database, go to MySQL Databases in the cPanel, and enter a suitable name for the new database, and click Create Database.

Step 4: Upload Your WordPress Files to Your New Hosting Account

After getting your files and databases, you need to upload your WordPress files to your new hosting account. You can do this by using an FTP client like FileZilla.

Connect your site with the FTP client, navigate to the root folder, and select the Upload option.

Now select the files that you’ve downloaded. 

Step 5: Update Your WordPress Configuration File

Once you finish importing/exporting files, you need to update your WordPress configuration file to connect to the new database on your new hosting account. 

You can edit the wp-config.php file in your WordPress installation directory. 

Update the database name, username, password, and hostname to match the new database on your new hosting account.

Step 6: Configure Your Domain Name Servers

If you are moving your domain name to a new hosting account, you need to update your domain name servers to point to your new hosting account. 

This can be done by logging in to your domain registrar’s control panel and updating the DNS records.

Step 7: Test Your WordPress Site

After completing all the steps, test your WordPress site to ensure everything works properly.

Comparison of Manual and Automated WordPress Migration Methods

As discussed above, you can migrate your WordPress site to a new host manually or through automated methods. 

Each method has pros and cons; the best way depends on your needs, and technical skills, and preferences. 

If you still require clarification, which migration method suits your website best? Here’s a comparison of manual and automated WordPress migration methods:

Advantages and disadvantages of Manual Migration 

Manual Migration ProsManual Migration Cons
Gives you more control over the migration processRequires technical skills and knowledge of WordPress
Not require any dedicated migration plugins or third-party toolsTime-consuming, especially for larger websites
Cost-effective than automated migration methodsProne to human errors, which can result in data loss or website downtime
A good option for smaller websites Doesn’t offer features like automated URL updating or backups

Advantages and disadvantages of Automated Migration

Automated Migration ProsAutomated Migration Cons
Faster and more efficient Costlier than manual migration methods, especially for larger websites or those with complex structures
Requires little technical knowledge and can be done with just a few clicksLess flexible than manual migration methods, especially when it comes to customizations or specific needs
Offers features like automated URL updating, backups, and testingProne to errors or conflicts with plugins or themes
A good option for larger websites or those with complex structuresRequires trusting third-party tools or services

The choice between manual and automated WordPress migration methods depends on your needs and preferences. 

Manual migration may be the way to go if you are technically sound and want more control over the process, whereas Automated migration may be better if you want a faster and more efficient migration process and are willing to pay for it.

Post-migration Checklist

After migrating your WordPress website, following a post-migration checklist is essential to ensure everything is working properly. 

Test the migrated website: Test the new website to ensure everything is working properly.

Update DNS records: Update your DNS records to point to the new web host.

Redirect old URLs: Redirect old URLs to the new website to avoid broken links.

Update all plugins and themes.: Update all plugins and themes to the latest versions.

Configure security and backups: Set up security and backups for the new website.

Troubleshooting Common WordPress Migration Issues

Sometimes, things may go differently than planned during the migration process. Here are some common issues you may encounter and how to troubleshoot them:

  1. Problem: Website not loading after migration.

Solution: Check your DNS records and file permissions.

  1. Problem: Broken links or missing images.

Solution: Update your URLs and check your file paths.

  1. Problem: Database connection errors.

Solution: Check your database credentials and server settings.

  1. Problem: Incorrect file permissions.

Solution: Define the correct file permissions for your files and folders.

Wrapping Up: How to Migrate Your WordPress Website With Ease

And there you have it; following our ultimate guide can ensure a successful and smooth WordPress migration.

However, it’s important to note that each migration is unique and may require additional steps or considerations. It’s always a good idea to consult with an expert or follow a comprehensive migration guide for your specific scenario.

We will be happy to assist you if you have any questions or need more information.

A team of WordPress experts that love to test out new WordPress related software, WordPress plugins and WordPress themes.