People move their websites for different reasons, not happy with the speed, performance of your current hosting service provider or server. If you own a WordPress site or blog and want to move it from an old to new web host or server, you may use the transfer service provided by your new web host. If you like to handle the WordPress transfer by yourself, there are some rules you need to follow.
Tips: many web hosts offer website migration services, for example Arvixe offer free website transfer service; Bluehost provide paid professional site transfer service which costs $99.99 one time fee. They can transfer up to five websites and 20 email accounts, including all associated files and databases, from one of your old hosting accounts.
Back up WordPress sites before you move them
Before you going to move WordPress site by yourself, you need to back up all your websites, including web pages, themes, plugins, uploads, databases. Every WordPress site has its own themes files, web pages, plugins, MySQL database. If you have multiple WordPress site or blog hosted under the same hosting account, you need to back up all of them. This is important, because in case we can’t manage to transfer WordPress from one server to another or from one hosting to another, we can still restore them from our backups. There are different methods to back up a WordPress site. Following are some tutorials you can refer to when you want to back up your WordPress blogs or site. Use the one suits your needs the best.
- Backup Websites in cPanel
- Create Full Website Backup In cPanel
- Backup WordPress with WordPress Backup Plugin
- Backup MySQL Database in phpMyAdmin
When you are done with WordPress backup, you should download and save an entire copy of your WordPress site on your local machine, including website files backup and database backup. The next step is to upload or restore the WordPress backup to our new web host or server.
Move WordPress sites to new web host or server
Before we go to restore our WordPress site from our backups to new server, you need to add your domain to the new hosting control panel or server, create a new directory to store your web pages, assign your domain to the new website directory created , create a new MySQL database.
Add domain to new hosting server
If you are using Bluehost, you can follow these steps to add extra domains to the hosting account. If you use any other cPanel hosting service providers, you should expect to get new domain added to your hosting admin panel in similar steps. For most hosting services, when you add a new domain, a new folder will be created at the same time, so you do not need to create a folder separately and then assign the domain to it.
Upload website files to new hosting server
Your new web hosting should provide you a online file manager which you can use to download, upload and manage web files. You can also use their FTP service to upload WordPress files from your computer to server. You can find some good FTP tools here.
Restore database to new hosting server
Depends on the Database management tool offerred by your web host, you may need to use different methods to create a MySQL database. cPanel has the built-in tool to help you create MySQL databases. Also you can use the most popular MySQL DB management tool phpMyAdmin to create new databases. This tool should be found with most PHP Linux hosting service providers. If possible try to create the new database with the same name and password as those on your old web hosting server, so you do not need to edit or create your WordPress database connection. Restoring your MySQL database using phpMyAdmin is easy as well as backing it up. Here are the quick steps:
1. Select database in phpMyAdmin
Open phpMyAdmin, you will find a list of existing MySQL databases on the left navigation panel, click to select the newly created database. If you can’t find the database list on the left side in phpMyAdmin, click Databases from the top tool bar to expand the database list and select the new database for WordPress site.
2. Restore MySQL database in phpMyAdmin
Click Import, then click Browse to find your database backup on your computer and restore it to the created database on server.
Edit Domain name server or DSN records
The last step is to point your domain name from old server to new server by editing its DNS. If your domain registrar is GoDaddy, you can refer to this guide for more: Steps to change DNS servers from GoDaddy. You can also edit your domain’s DNS record instead. Check out details here: Steps to Add or change DNS A record with GoDaddy. If your domain was registered elsewhere, you should also be provided a domain manager which you can use to change its name servers or DNS records. See another two examples below:
Moving your WordPress website is not difficult, however it takes time and requires your patience, especially for those big sites. The outlined tips apply to general WordPress migration. They are not made for any specific web host. If you are not sure how to transfer your WordPress site from old to new web host, you can always contact your web hosting service provider. If you are using a web host who offers free website transfer service, do not hesitate to contact them for the free transfer. Arvixe is one of the well-known cheap web hosting service provider with free website transfer service.