A Step By Step Guide to Migrating Your WordPress Website To A New Web Host

Moving your website to a new host can be a daunting and stressful experience, but it doesn’t need to be.

Many people are faced with the need to move to a new host because of problems with their current provider and have just had enough. But all too often, migrating to a more reliable host is delayed time and again for fear of making a mistake and damaging your site(s).

To get around the problem, people will either pay a professional to move their site for them, find a new host that offers the service as part of a new hosting package, or take the third option of having a go at it themselves.

If you spend a little time preparing your own website, migrating is nothing to be concerned about. It can be a very straightforward project if approached correctly and can easily be reversed out of should any problems occur.

Let’s run through the steps required to move your WordPress website to a new host.

Step 1: Back Up Your Website’s Files


The very first step of any project such as this is to back up every aspect of your site. This step is good practice before any major change but it is also a requirement of migrating your WordPress installation.

There are many plugins out there that will completely backup your site for you. This backup however, requires a more manual approach. Using an FTP program (such as FileZilla), connect to your web host and copy all files under your website’s directory to a folder on your local computer.

This includes the .htaccess file that is set to be hidden. Consult your FTP program’s help file to have it display hidden files if you are unable to see this file.

Depending on the number of media uploads you have in your site, this could take some time. While this download is underway we can begin step two and make a copy of your database.

Step 2: Export The WordPress Database

Database Export

Exporting your database is a simple process that only requires a few steps to complete. Login to the cPanel account of your web server and open the phpMyAdmin application. Select the database that contains your WordPress installation from the list on the left hand sidebar and once selected click on the Export tab on the navigation menu.

The default settings of a Quick export and the SQL format for the export are sufficient for what we need. Click the Go button and the database export process will begin and a file will be downloaded to your local computer.

Once the database export and the FTP transfer of your files have both completed, you are ready to move onto the next stage.

Step 3: Create The WordPress Database On Your New Host Server

Before we can begin the migration to the new web host, we need to create an environment for a WordPress installation. To do this you must create a database that you can import your SQL data into.

Login to your new web host with the user credentials they have supplied you and connect to the cPanel software. For our guide we will be using the MySQL Databases application. If your web host doesn’t have that application running then you will should contact their support team to discover their method of creating new databases.

The steps to create a database are quite simple:

  • Open MySQL Database and create a new database with an appropriate name for your website.
  • Create a new MySQL user (with a secure password).
  • Add this user account to the new database and grant it All Privileges.

Write down the database name, the new MySQL username and its password. You will need them soon.

Step 4: Edit the wp-config.php File

Browse to the folder on your local computer where you downloaded your website files to. In that folder there is a file called wp-config.php that controls the access between WordPress and your database.

Make a copy of this file and store it in another folder on your local computer. This is necessary for restoring the changes we are about to make should something go wrong later.

Open the original version of the file with your favorite text editor and make the following three changes:

1. Change The Database Name

Locate the following line:

define('DB_NAME', 'db_name');

The db_name portion of this line will currently be set to the MySQL database name of your old web host. This must be changed to the name of the new database you have just created.

2. Change the Database Username

Below this you will find the line:

define('DB_USER', 'db_user');

In this line you need to change the db_user portion from the username of your old host to match the new username you have just created.

3. Change The Database User Password

Finally, edit the third line:

define('DB_PASSWORD', 'db_pass');

As with the others the db_pass section of this line must be changed to the new secure password you created for your MySQL user.

Save wp-config.php and close the file.

Step 5: Import Your Database

Database Import

Now that you have a new database to work with we can begin the import process.

Launch phpMyAdmin from the cPanel software on your new server and select your new database from the list on the left hands sidebar. Once it opens select the Import tab from the navigation menu.

In the File to Import section click the Choose File button and select the SQL file you exported previously.

Un-tick the Partial Import check box, make sure the format is set to SQL and then click the Go button. The database import will now begin.

The time this import takes varies depending on the size of your database. You should receive a message informing you of the success of the import when it has finished.

Step 6: Upload The WordPress Files To Your New Host

Now that you have the new database prepared and you’ve reconfigured the wp-config.php file, it is time to begin uploading your website’s files.

Connect to your new web host using your FTP program and browse to the folder that your website is going to be held. If this is the primary, or only site being installed on this web server then uploading the files to the public_html folder is the usual directory.

With the remote directory selected you can upload your website files that should now include the updated version of wp-config.php. As with the earlier download, this process can take some time.

Don’t delete these files from your local computer once the upload finishes. They are still needed until the final steps have been completed.

Step 7: Linking to New URL & Defining New Domain

One issue people always seem to have when moving their site is that they’ve added links to other posts on their site or inserted images directly by pointing to a URL on the server, causing these to break when moved over to a new domain. If you want to quickly and easily search for any instances of your old domain name and replace with the new name I (AJ Clarke) suggest you take a look at the Search Replace DB script on github. This will allow you to do this with great ease. Just make sure you DELETE it when your are done (for security reasons).

Make sure you are running the search and replace on the new domain you are transferring the site to not the old one.

Changing Site URL: By doing a search and replace for the old domain and replacing with the new domain you’ll also be altering the site_url and home url values in the database (Changing the Site URL) which will ensure that when you try to log into your site on the new domain it doesn’t try and redirect you over to the old domain.

* This small subsection was an added note by AJ Clarke.

Step 8: The Final Touches

This step actually includes two separate things with (potentially) several days between them.

Before you can use the site on your new host you will need to reconfigure your domain’s DNS settings. They will be set to point to your old host and you will need to point the correct records to the new server IP address.

This process will depend on where you have your domain registered. The details of completing this process are too varied to discuss in this post, but your domain registrar should have all of the details you need to make this change.

DNS changes can take up to 48 hours to fully propagate. It’s best to do this at a period when you expect lower levels of traffic. During this 48 hour window you should avoid making any changes to your website as you may be changing the old version of the site.

After the 48-hour period has expired you should now be accessing the new web host when you go to your website. It’s at this point you can connect to your old web host to delete the files and database. You should still have a local backup copy of these files and the database export, along with the original wp-config.php file in case you need to roll back the migration. It can be a good idea to hold onto these files for a an extended period just to be on the safe side.


As you can see, when broken down into the above simple steps, the process isn’t that difficult. All it really requires is for you to be careful at each step and give yourself the option to go back to the original version until the last possible moment (in case of any problems).

Have you migrated your WordPress website recently? Let us know your experience with the process in the comments section below!

Photo Credit: Placeit.net

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Tom Ewer
Post Author: Tom Ewer

Tom Ewer is a professional blogger, longtime WordPress enthusiast and the founder of WordCandy.

Disclosure: This page contains external affiliate links that may result in us receiving a comission if you choose to purchase said product. The opinions on this page are our own. We do not receive payment for positive reviews.
Got something to say? Join the discussion.
  1. lamberbee says:
    Nice summary Tom. I use Duplicator which does all this above. Although, with some themes I seem to loose the widget content and stuff, and specific theme settings. Still figuring out why?
    • Tom Ewer says:
      Tom Ewer
      Ugh, don't ask me! The vagaries of site migration, etc. still confuse me to this day...you need to ask someone more intelligent than me :-)
      • Jose V Coba says:
        Hey Tom, thanks. very easy the way you put it. One final question. I am moving my site from a hosting domain to a addon domain. I see that there are several files outside the public_html (old domain) should I upload all the files or just the files inside the public_html.
        • AJ Clarke says:
          AJ Clarke
          Hi Jose, You should backup everything, but you should only need to upload what's inside the public_html folder, everything outside is "generally" just server related files unless you added something there. But like I said backup everything just incase ;)
    • sƃoɹɟqǝʍ (@webfrogs) says:
      I tried Duplicator and it didn't work out for me. I think the site was too big. Nearly 300 MB...
      • AJ Clarke says:
        AJ Clarke
        Yes probably ;(
    • Rodrigoh Henriques says:
      It works like a charm. Thank you!
  2. Emily says:
    Thank you. I am about to move to new host too. First experience. >_<
    • Tom Ewer says:
      Tom Ewer
      Best of luck Emily!
    • Jose V Coba says:
      Thanks, that's what I thought. it worked wonderfully.
  3. James McInally says:
    This is exactly what I've been looking for. Every time I develop something and then move it, I end up in all sorts of bother! Dude, sweet.
    • Tom says:
      That's awesome James!
  4. lamberbee says:
    Then I would advice you to look at the Duplicator plugin
  5. lamberbee says:
    Thanks for the info guys!!
    • Tom Ewer says:
      Tom Ewer
      No problem :-)
  6. Deepak Singh says:
    Thanks a lot Tom, !! This was very helpful,now going to transfer my blog from JustHost to BlueHost. Thanks again :)
    • Tom Ewer says:
      Tom Ewer
      Thanks Deepak!
      • sampo says:
        Tom, have never try to export before but i believe i should be able..... i created my site in a subdomain and now i want to transfer it to a fresh new domain i but for the site.DO i still need to do DNS or i can skip that stage
        • AJ Clarke says:
          AJ Clarke
          You only need to change DNS if you are changing servers or if your specific server requires a different IP address for each domain. I would recommend asking your webhost about this.
    • rosecorcoranJames says:
      When did you switch from Justhost to Bluehost and why?
  7. Somnath says:
    While migrating my clients websites widgets gets lost . I am not able to find out the solution for this problem.I am eager to know solution. Please reply if you know how migrate website without loosing widgets.
    • AJ Clarke | WPExplorer says:
      AJ Clarke | WPExplorer
      Widget options are saved as serialized data which can cause issues when trying to export them. Check out the answer here for a more detailed response - http://wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/9076/why-is-my-database-import-losing-text-widget-data
  8. Sam says:
    I have migrated my site wpcares.com from hostmonster to bluehost. It is just great and easy. Can't believe it that migrating a wordpress website is that easier with all the dynamic contents.
    • AJ Clarke | WPExplorer says:
      AJ Clarke | WPExplorer
      I'm glad your migration was easy and a success!
  9. Brad says:
    I searched for ages and tried a few different techniques to transfer my wp site with no success, a lot of other sites steps were confusing. Yours was easy to follow and my site worked on my new host straight away, thanks for the info!
  10. Michelle says:
    This was SUPER helpful! Clear and precise. Thank you so much
  11. Dhruv Bhagat says:
    Thank you so much! I sold my site on Flippa and had no idea how I will transfer the files.. This tutorial is amazing! :D
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Glad it was useful to you! Congrats on selling your site ;)
  12. Bill Baird says:
    Thanks for a very clear explanation. The situation I'm in is slightly different (I think!). I already have a website that I designed in Dreamweaver and I want to use Wp instead. I've designed a site using Wp locally (using Xampp) and want to transfer these files to my existing host. If I delete all the existing files in the public_html folder at my existing host and follow the steps above (excluded the DNS redirect) will it work??
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Hi Bill. I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you are doing. Is your site coded in HTML? If so, you would have to manually add your content to a WordPress installation and then turn your HTML design into a WordPress theme that can be used with WordPress. You might want to hire someone to assist with this if you aren't quite sure how to do so yourself, it might be worth it to make sure your data is safe!
  13. Bill Baird says:
    Thank you very much for you prompt response, I really appreciate the help. Sorry I didn't explain myself clearly. The situation is that I've designed a "new site"using Wp locally on my PC. My existing site (www.carrbridgegolf.com hosted by 123Connect)) is designed in HTML and I want to replace it with the "new site" designed in Wp. Is it as simple as deleting all the files in my public_html folder at 123Connect and uploading (using Ftp) the Wp site designed locally following your instructions?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Hey Bill, you probably already figured it all out by now! But yes, sounds like basically you just want to delete what's live then upload the WP site. Don't forget to make backups!
  14. Paul says:
    thanks for the great walkthrough. Just thought I’d mention that I’m about to launch my new service at migrately.com which will help those folks who can’t or don’t want to move their site themselves. The service will focus purely on moving WordPress websites from one host to another. Nothing more or less than that. It will also be priced competitively! Launching soon, but there is a sign-up page at the above address where folks can register for more information. Thanks again for the post!
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Sounds cool. I signed up to get notified when its out.
  15. Rob says:
    Thanks, your guide worked perfectly for me. Just had some image library links to replace, but all plugins and widgets were totally fine. Cheers!
  16. Stalin says:
    Short and simple many thanks!!
  17. Abdul Razzak says:
    Thankyou so much for such an amazing step by step guide. I just completed my webhost migration from 1and1 to godaddy and your article here was open all the time. It is very clear, detailed and easy to understand. Please keep this article ON for many many years because I am sure this guide will help lots of bloggers around the world in the webhost migration process. THANKS A LOT BUDDY!
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      That's awesome Abdul! I'm glad this post was useful for you and that you were able to move your site without a hassle, good luck with your site!
  18. TheMout says:
    AJ: I guess I have to be in the minority, things did not go so smoothly for me. I apologize in advance, but to fully explain, this will be a lengthy reply... My WP site had the "Better WP Security" plugin installed and activated so it completely failed to come up properly on the new host after the import of the MySQL tables and data; and the ftp copy of the files. I had to start from scratch and (1) deactivate "Better WP Security" and remove following from the wp-config.php:
    * Authentication Unique Keys and Salts.
    * Change these to different unique phrases!
    * You can generate these using the {@link wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt/ WordPress.org secret-key service}
    * You can change these at any point in time to invalidate all existing cookies. This will force all users to have to log in again.
    * @since 2.6.0
    define('AUTH_KEY',         'JuGLj4JajB7s8rRoxUn8dJfUROCWkRUC3GvbbYDSG9R02zbPGvuTYVB16EFTSw9z');
    define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY',  'GDdxSlKFDa4OoBAk0MmYSgaxGX4vsbSxqydYGZQenRirx8x5mJL4Buutb7FuNhz0');
    define('LOGGED_IN_KEY',    'WB5rksULFkc44HDu4INYNOGlhQpoJm1Sr8eSbJgag2u7K2r3jzojY36Ca5pDQRCM');
    define('NONCE_KEY',        'w81NrdaByPVQzxuT8wV4lsKSvgOTOX69cfbtRJCAVyBK9ezoi8aFNLHIMLhrakyN');
    define('AUTH_SALT',        'EOMWz6xnBz0a9xGAvUqFPLvBh6Kxd1rYzPM3qEqLytaxvcSQdd2G0EPgPfBZ58KJ');
    define('SECURE_AUTH_SALT', 'lQwQYNUrDfmNkhctPgE8NjbfKef6G4rehPdoi1UeUQQrXxvBxqkF8BIAFYZcZf8d');
    define('LOGGED_IN_SALT',   'gMbJBMb5U5QXvtdxcbHlLrr1uf4hdcX28Axh4k4jNWBSv8694eeiOxG2CULrAQL3');
    define('NONCE_SALT',       'lwhZC8YX8fc2cyQBowPDNQVt1tIq7jB1mZRfNEdQc3vDfSjz7bAekf5YqvOz1XWy');
    After deactivation of "Better WP Security" and removing above in wp-config.php, I then followed your steps again and had some success but something is still amiss. The site comes up perfectly fine for visitors to browse on the new host and with the new URL but, when I attempt to log in either through wp-admin or wp-login.php, it actually logs me back into the OLD WP site / location and not the new WP site / location. Site was moved from mysite.net/WP on host "A" in a shared server hosting environment tomysite.net/WP on host "B" on a VPS host through same hosting company. When I go to mysite.net/WP/wp-admin (or mysite.net/WP/wp-login.php) everything appears to be fine (e.g. no redirection to old site has happened yet). But, when I enter my username and password, it logs me into my old site again @ mysite.net/WP/wp-admin. I obviously cannot reactivate the security plugin, make any modifications to new site, and/or shut down the old site and redirect all traffic to new site until I am able to overcome & resolve this problem. Any suggestions / recommendations? Regards Terry
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Hi Terry, You probably need to update the site URL's in the database still. I briefly added a note about this to Toms post under the heading "LINKING TO NEW URL". Of course there are many ways of doing this, but this is the way I suggest. Regarding the plugin issues...this is something that really can't be added to the guide simply because there are so many plugins out there and each one works differently if we were to take plugins into consideration for the migration things would get way to long and complex. Let me know if that bit about altering the URL in the DB helps. I think this is the step most people forget to do. Edit: I moved my section up to step 7 because it's really important ;)
  19. reflex4feet says:
    Thank You Very Much Tom! I was trying to move my WP for almost 2 days and no success...after your step-by-step it's done!!!!! At WordPress.Org the instructions do not mention nothing about import the DB and that's why didn't work before. So...I can't thank you enough for your brilliant tutorial.
    • Tom says:
      Glad that it helped you!
  20. webagadir says:
    merci beaucoup pour cet article, sachant que j'ai beaucoup souffert afin de migrer mon site de localhost en hébergeur, je ne savais pas comment changer les liens localhost/page en site.com/page en utilisant les requêtes Sql.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Please read step #7 - "Step 7: Linking to New URL & Defining New Domain"
  21. bushidobunny says:
    For guys that don't much about this like me, you lost me in the first step. Where can I find a step by step that actually explains all the steps such as how to copy files from my web host? Many assume I know much more than I do :(
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      This is a very basic guide, if you are getting lost in the first step then you probably should consider hiring someone to do this for you. I noticed though your main site (if this is what you are moving) is hosted on WordPress.com so if you are moving this to your own self-hosted site the steps are quite different. Do a Google search for moving a WordPress.com site to a self-hosted WordPress installation and you should find some good stuff ;)
  22. joaomino says:
    Thx! I followed your steps and everything is working. I Just needed to update this string: /** MySQL hostname */ define('DB_HOST', 'db_hostname') and delete a .membership file in the root of my new website (this file was created by my new hosting provider). Thanks again! you rock!
  23. Kunal Mhatre says:
    URGENT HELP! I had followed all above steps but when I checked my site it was Showing "Error establishing a database connection" though I changed the values of old db based wp-config.php to new db based values like db_name;db_user;db_pass;db_host;, I also imported that .SQL file using phpMyAdmin to new db. Also DNS has propagated, almost everything i had done! So please help me!
    • Kunal Mhatre says:
      No No! Error is solved! It was mistake in db_password.
  24. Jason K. says:
    **THANK YOU FOR THIS!! Saved me hours and money hiring someone.
    • Tom says:
      Glad it helped Jason! You're welcome!
  25. Waseem says:
    Hi, I'm very thankful for this wonderful tutorial.
    • Tom says:
      Glad you liked it Waseem!
  26. Kunal Mhatre says:
    Sir, Help! Why my website is getting redirected to old host sometimes? Yes! It is working on new host but sometimes it gets redirected to the old host (error page)! Thank You in advance!
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Are you sure your DNS is fully propagated? How long ago did you switch?
  27. Sedat Gündüz says:
    Hi I want to know ur share this post plugin if it is possible Thanks
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      It's not a plugin, it's something I coded for my site and added into my theme.
  28. Lex says:
    Just wanted to say thank you, I had tried to do it on my own, but I was missing editing the wp-config.php file. Thanks a lot
  29. Keeping it 1000 says:
    Easily the best and simplest guide to follow amongst the top ranking ones on google. Well done and thanks. Appreciate it duke. Two thumbs up.
    • Tom says:
  30. Matt says:
    Kick Butt! I was able to move my wordpress to a new server with the help of this page
  31. Beverly says:
    I wish I'd read this documentation before attempting a migration. It would have saved me a lot of hair! I can see from the steps here exactly where I went wrong. Next time I will follow this.
  32. mariogerard1 says:
    What if I do not have Cpanel on my new site ? Its on AWS. I already have wordpress installed on my new AWS site and have downloaded the localhost.sql file from my esisting site.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      You do not need CPanel, all you really need is FTP so you can download your content to move it over and access to PHPMyAdmin so you can export your database.
  33. Del Aitchison says:
    AJ, Thanks for the script suggestion. I downloaded if from githost and installed according to their directions, but I am getting this error in the "database" section: "Could not find driver". It has the correct login and password, but doesn't want to connect. Do you have any suggestions?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      I'm not quite sure what that means. Have you tried Googling the error?
  34. nonso says:
    hello i just uploaded the compressed version of my website files to my new host and try to extract the files, the files were unable to extract. is it because the file format is in .rar as opposed to .zip
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      You might have to download a program/app that can extract the .rar.
  35. lakshmi says:
    Brilliant tutorial.Found it useful for my first migration.Thanks Tom
    • Tom Ewer (@tomewer) says:
      Glad it helped lakshmi! You’re welcome!
  36. nonso says:
    hello AJ clarks your tutorial helped me a lot in figuring out how i can move my website to a new host. But i still have issues when i moved the site to my new host, the host support agent asked me to configure an addon domain to my for my site and point the nameservers to the new hosting name servers which i did and ask me to wait for 72hrs for the nameservers to fully propagate. this is the second day now my site is up now but when i click links i get 404 error. should i wait for my site for the 72 hours for my site to fully propagate? or should i download the search and replace DB script to change the URL. tanks
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Depends. Did you move to a new server but keep the same domain name? If you are using the same domain name then there is no need to change the URL's in the database because it will be the same. If you are changing the URL then yes you will have to make sure all URL's point to the new one and not the old one.
  37. Sonja says:
    Wow! I actually never thought I would be able to do this by myself, but I did!!!!!! I'm very thankful for this tutorial!
    • Tom Ewer (@tomewer) says:
      You're welcom Sonja!
  38. tomminkler says:
    I recently converted an HTML site to WordPress after moving it to new servers at same WebHost and domain (they mostly did the second part). My problem is the links to documents i had set up from the old file structure that i had moved over were working, but it seems that once i started to upload files from within WordPress, those older links on the same page got broken! Does that make any sense? If this is off topic feel free to ignore, you just came up near top of Google results. I will continue to search for answers. Thanks!
  39. Jeff Dvo says:
    Tom, thank you. That was a very helpful article.
    • Tom Ewer (@tomewer) says:
      You're welcome. Glad you liked the post!
  40. easter says:
    Well that was not hard.Hee
    • Tom Ewer (@tomewer) says:
      Glad it helped!
  41. paulkellahan says:
    Tom, thanks so much for the breakdown! The 'thought' of doing this has held me back for so long. After reading through this guide I decided to give it a go. The result... AWESOME! So far so good, all is up and running. Just waiting on the final stages to adjust, name server changes. The only thing I got stuck on which clearly passed with time was at Point 6. upload files. Not sure what I did or didn't do correctly. It seems that when I copied the site files across there where a lot of these files already present from the MySQL database... Anyways... took a bit longer than I thought but all in all a successful transfer and pretty easy if you have no previous experience! One strange thing that did happen, which we cannot work out how! In the wp-config.php file after the adjustments and transfer it had a strange 'parse error' this was due to the ' ' marks in the file. I did not change this at all, just the names within the area in between. The new hosting company found this issue and sorted it... they didn't give me a reason why or how! Thanks so much for this guide...AWESOME!
    • Tom Ewer (@tomewer) says:
      You're welcome Paul! Glad your hosting company was a great help. :)
  42. Pontus says:
    Thank you Tom! If anyone have a problem to import the database via phpMyAdmin with this SQL message: #1044 – Access denied for user ‘username’@’localhost’ to database ‘database_name’ and cannot does not have create new database’ privilege in phpMyAdmin, please see this guide: tipsandtricks-hq.com/how-to-import-wordpress-sql-database-backup-file-without-having-create-new-database-privileges-in-phpmyadmin-415
    • Tom Ewer (@tomewer) says:
      Thanks for the suggestion! :)
  43. Damian says:
    Well, this saved me time, effort and quite a bit of money. Thank you so much.
    • Tom Ewer says:
      Tom Ewer
      You're welcome, Damian!
  44. Kylie says:
    mmm great, thank you. Any ideas why I may be getting an internal server error?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      There could be tons of reasons why, no way of knowing at all without looking into the server. Ask your webhost for some assistance, they should help out.
  45. techviha says:
    after wasting 2 days, i found something useful tutorials here with this tutorials i am able to do my self. :) thank you author for sharing such a useful article. :)
  46. Maxfaction says:
    Duplicator worked for me on a website that was about 3 months old. However, it didn't help with my other sites that had massive data as far back as 2010. I wasn't too happy about the notion of using phpmyadmin to backup and upload the .sql data. While it was the ideal way to restore a site, back in the day many servers would simply crash while trying to import anything the size of 2MB or larger :-/ I was out of options so I gave phpmyadmin a shot and to my amazement, my 7MB .sql file uploaded successfully. Finally this dang thing works! Thanks for the article, it give me enough hope to give it another go :-)
  47. Anurag Rathod says:
    I see sometimes it is not copying widgets data and site settings from some complicated themes
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Strange...It should, but the issue wouldn't be with the theme but the migration, because the database stores this data, not the theme, the theme just gets it using core functions (or at least it should).
  48. mujeebm111 says:
    Thank you so much for this helpfull article.. It worked
  49. andrej977Andrej says:
    My experience Sometimes when you are migrating your page you can get blank home page. I found the problem with the home page not displaying from the base URL. it was because there was a default.html file in the root directory. The old hosting server must had set the order to look for start files to PHP extension as the first default so it ignored the default.html file in the root directory and loaded index.php. The new hosting server must have the default extension it looks for as an .HTM or .HTML file and was loading the blank default.html file first. Once I deleted the blank default.html file the hosting server started loading the index.php file and displayed the WordPress home page.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Thanks for sharing, it will probably help other users out there!
  50. beth Ng'ang'a says:
    Hey Tom, what happens if your trying the reverse,migrating a domain to a WordPress website?
  51. Rahul says:
    Hi There, I have tried to do the same but after uploading the database, files and changes I am still getting the wordpress installation page. Could anyone please help me?
  52. Karikari says:
    It took a while but i managed to get it working in the end. Regular wordpress import/export didnt work. I had a website at about 500mb being transferred to a new host.
  53. Paulo Werdana says:
    Great article - very in depth and well-written tutorial. Thanks for sharing! About 3 years ago I got acquainted with WordPress for the first time - and it was really WOW for me. WP is a dream come true for non tech people such as myself. By the way, I moved my WP website to another host without shelling out for a developer (here is the tool goo.gl/B1cBki)
  54. Hilman (@Hilmanrdn) says:
    Just migrate my wp today, and bit stressed when i tried to import my sql which showing error (i forgot the error number) . And figure out at some other link that might be useful for other, that i have to use 'use mydbname' on my sql file
  55. kakrishnakumar says:
    Done it :) I have transferred my inqra.com from Bigrock to Hostinger. Only one change I have seen. After transfer Wordpress admin panel is displaying for user registrations. Thanks for the instructions.
  56. Bikramjit Sarker says:
    Hi, I'm about to move my blog to a new host but I'm worried about the URL. Will there be any change in post URL after moving my blog? And is the "step7" necessary if I'm using the same old domain name?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      If you are using the same domain name then no, there isn't anything to worry about in terms of altering the URL ;)
  57. Emin says:
    Very good tutorial, everything works fine, thank you! :-) I have one more question: -If WordPress saves my Pages in database, how can I update my new web site migrated from local to live? Does it mean I must change the database every time I want to expand my site for a new menu option (Page)?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      As long as you changed your site URL's correctly in the database after migrating you don't have to edit the database every again, because WordPress will save pages using the updated URL.
  58. Emin says:
    Excuse me AJ Clarke, could you explain in more details, please? I have one main database for local WordPress site which I exported, then on dimain I created in cPanel new database and imported main (from local). I used Search-Replace-DB script you recommended to change URL, and now I have no idea how to connect local WP with live (migrated) website so that if I create new Page in WP site (locally) that it could be automatically updated/transferred on live site (web)... Thank you.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Hi Emin, You can't just create pages on a local host and have them automatically migrate over to a live site (at least not that I am aware of - maybe there is a plugin out there for this...). The purpose of this article is to explain how to migrate a completed website.
  59. টাঙ্গাইল এর খবর says:
    Many Many Thanks Dear, I have done it help by this post. Alhamdulillah!
  60. Shalin Sitwala says:
    Works like a charm! My blog was pretty big w/ thousands of posts, still worked. Thanks! :D
  61. rahul says:
    hi tom i recently upload a wordpress site with same step but at a first time my site never open properly it always miss use css or javascript and i want to reload each time to see properly.
  62. ekoryanto66 says:
    Hi....I had make a copy of all my wordpress folder and backup database for migration to new hosting and new domain. But when I start to browse after completing all your instruction above, got response: site was not open and redirect to save file. Anyone can help me ? Do we need install the Wordpres in the new hosting and domain? Thank you in advance
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Unfortunately I have never heard of that error. You may want to start over and try again or contact your webhost to see if they can assist. A lot of managed WordPress hosts include free website transfer where they will move your site for you if you are switching hosts.
  63. Tessa Fields says:
    Fantastic tutorial. Worked flawlesssly for me.
    • Tom Ewer says:
      Tom Ewer
      Glad to be of service :-)
  64. anees715 says:
    Hi Tom., Thanks for sharing this article. I'm planning to move my blog to a better hosting service. Bluehost and Hostgator are my preferences but I'm confused. What will you suggest ?
  65. kumar sunil says:
    Selection of the web host is a major point for the bloggers. Any wrong selection will put them in frustration. Blogging for the hobby is not at all bothersome, but if you want to make it as a career, then you don’t want to mess with trouble. Being a new comer one should look for a quality, probably this article is best to describe things in a broad way. Thanks for sharing a quality. sunil k
  66. Chris Rayasam says:
    excellent Article sir, Thank you
  67. avi says:
    i did all the steps, but site looks blank page
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      You probably have a PHP error, make sure WP_Debug is enabled to check.
  68. utsavgarg2 says:
    Don't we need to change the nameservers? Please tell, after which step to do it
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Correct, changing nameservers would be the final step. This guide is for migrating the actual website itself. We don't mention anything about the nameservers or domains because a lot of our readers are following the guide to move a site from their domain to their clients domain so these aren't necessary steps.
  69. Mark says:
    Hey, Thanks for the tutorial. I am still having some trouble here though... perhaps you can assist. So I exported my DB as explained. copied my files as well. wp-config is setup with the new db name/username/passwords etc. when I finish the whole process and load my site, Instead of seeing my site... I get the screen you get when you just install wordpress- where i need to select the language (english USA) and then give a sitename, etc. but im left with a simple plain wordpress blog, nothing from my original site... any idea what i might be missing thats causing this?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Make sure the wp-content.php file on the new host has been edited correctly to point to your new database where you imported your old site.
  70. Shaunak says:
    Thanks, worked like a charm :)
  71. DaddyPhotoBlog says:
    I fully transferred the wife site over to bluehost. It took a full 6 hours but it worked with 1 small hitch with the WP-config file. Other than, it worked a dream. Good job I know what I am doing. Used my own methods, and it worked. :) thanks for the hints.
  72. pravi says:
    thanks for this useful information... you r a great person.
  73. Bernard says:
    Thanks for the information, I just implemented the steps and it work fine
  74. Umesh Shejole says:
    Helpful Article, Thank you !
  75. rubinalaieRubin says:
    Hello, Thank you for your article! However, I have a question about this sentence: "This backup however, requires a more manual approach." I didn't do it manually. I used the Updraft Plus Plugin. It worked, but should I have done it your way? Thank you!
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Updraft Plus looks like a cool plugin thanks for sharing!
  76. Max says:
    Awesome post man. First time, I had the database error then I deleted everything and started the process again. This time, viola it worked. I have used this process many times already and I don't even have to read from the blog anymore. For those who could not start their sites after the migration, just delete everything including the database and start again. Just like learning anything new, it will all make sense after a few tries.
  77. rtoumayan says:
    Thank you very much for your help. My site uses a child theme and so have two .sql files. Where do I put the second one, and would I need to do anything else in addition?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Using a child theme doesn't make a difference to the WordPress database, you should still only have a single database for your WP site.
  78. Eric Nordin says:
    I have a question about links I found in the root of the host's site I am moving away from. They are called access-logs (which will not copy) and www (which did copy but it is very large and became a folder on my pc). I think both of these were created when I first published. Can I proceed without them? Thanks for your help.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Yes, you don't need to move these.
  79. vishalsanghi says:
    Excellent work done....thanks a lot
  80. nkomekolenkome kole says:
    i have the a message problem with sql where by it says port 3306 is being used so how can i change the port to have access to my files
  81. tusshar alagh says:
    Tom, can we upload only the wp_content folder,the .htaccess file and the wp_config file to the new host ?It will save a lot of time and struggle. Plz reply
    • alaghtushar11 says:
      yeah sure u can..even you vcan leave the .htaccess file and upload rest.!
    • Tom Ewer says:
      Tom Ewer
      Hi Alagh, In order to work, a WordPress website needs its entire file structure and database. I'm afraid that those files and folders wouldn't be enough. Cheers, Tom
  82. Ratnakar Nandigama says:
    Today I migrated my 3 websites to a new host successfully using Duplicator plugin. Remember your site should not too large.
  83. enquire jobs says:
    Hi, I changed my hosting service provider from godaddy to hostgator and now I am unable to upload any images. Hostgator technical team is unable to resolve the issue. Please let me know if anyone has solution.
  84. chris says:
    If you need my services I can do this for you.
  85. pamelainmn says:
    Excellent post Tom - followed your steps and it worked perfectly the first time!
  86. pamelainmn says:
    You should add some info under step 4 though about updating the DB_HOST. That part threw me for a little while - because my old ISP used "localhost", but my new one (Network Solutions) doesn't. It took me a little while to figure out where to get the information for that. At Network Solutions, it's different for every database. /** MySQL hostname */ define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘db_hostname’)
    • Matt Tutt (@MattTutt1) says:
      I was having the same problem pamelainmn - took me quite a while to figure out that the localhost needed to be changed to match that of my new web host. Maybe that should be added somewhere in the article.
  87. Neal Brown says:
    Thanks for this helpful guide! I have followed the steps above, but now when I visit my homepage I'm told "This website has a redirect loop". Any ideas how to fix this?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      This may be something best to ask your webhost. Many things could cause this so there isn't much help I can provide without actually logging into your site, web host panel and database to make sure everything is setup correctly.
  88. Janny says:
    Hi, This looks like a great tutorial and I would also like to make a copy of my site soon but I still have to collect a bit more courage and info since I am not so experienced. I would like to make an exact duplicate of my existing website on another server with another hosting company, but keep my old website exactly as it is, don't change anything there. Basically I think you can say that I want to create another, new website at another domain/URL, which is (at least starting as) an exact copy of my existing site (which just keeps existing, untouched, like it always has been). How does the 'final work' in my case look like? How does it work in step 7, is this process still the same as described here with the 'search & replace'? Do I understand it right that in my case I don't have to perform step 8? In the article it says: "Changing Site URL: By doing a search and replace for the old domain and replacing with the new domain you’ll also be altering the site_url and home url values in the database (Changing the Site URL) which will ensure that when you try to log into your site on the new domain it doesn’t try and redirect you over to the old domain." Does this mean that then you can login to both sites, the old one and the new one, and edit them separately from each other? As you can notice, I still have some difficulties to wrap my mind around the final steps of the entire process. Any help is welcome since I am very interested in understanding how it works. Do you know more articles which can also help me to understand it better? Thank you in advance!
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Are you moving to a new webhost as well? Because a lot of the good webhosts actually provide free migration services so when you sign up they will migrate the site for you. This tutorial is geared towards people with moderate to advanced web experience that will be migrating multiple sites in the future (such as for their web design clients) but are new to WordPress. If you are just moving one site and you aren't sure how, why not just hire someone for a few bucks they will migrate the site for you, no point wasting time learning and figuring this stuff out and you can get straight to working on your sites which is the most important part ;)
  89. James says:
    Wow! I can not thank you enough!!! I messed around with 4 different scripts, none of which did the job (Duplicator, BackupWP, etc...). They not only did not work (would corrupt the backup OR miss entire sections of website), but crashed the server with 508 errors... I was so disguisted at the lousy coding... Its the website size that seems to be the problem... these softwares assume it's 1989 all over again, and a website is "huge" at 32KB... So, I used your method... zipped the entire system, used the database transfer,and then the search/replace DB tool worked beautifully... Best of all? The entire 3 stage process took less than 1/2 of the time using Duplicator and its croonies that, in the end, produced useless results (like the website home page but zero interior pages or posts...). I tip my hat to you... you literally saved me hundreds in additional support time... already cost us 2 productive days with the new site, but in less than 1 hour, we were done, up, running with full conversion of all links!!! Kudos, and Merry Christmas to you!
  90. Pramod Kumar says:
    Thanks Tom, Your tutorial is great, I have successfully moved my site without breaking any code.
  91. Andrew Thompson says:
    Excellent Tutorial. One thing I'd add. Super-Cache is a very common plugin. When migrating look in the root directory and find wp-config.php and change the path to super catch:
    define( 'WPCACHEHOME', 'new path' ); //Added by WP-Cache Manager
  92. heffleyboy says:
    Cheers, this is a great walk-thru. Helped me out a lot, sped up the process! I appreciate it.
  93. Janny says:
    Thanks AJ Clarke! Step by step I am coming to the same conclusion, I think this is a bit too tricky for me and I will sleep calmer when I decide to let someone else do it. Maybe I will in future still experiment with it (simply because these kind of things interest me :-)) but for the moment I think I will go with your advice! Many greetings, Janny
  94. Naz says:
    Hi, guys, I was try to move my website from one hosting to another and this article shared so much light on my problem. I have followed all the step carefully and completed the process. My problem now is that wp-admin shows blank page, and site on frontend is all broken. Don't know what i messed up. Do I have install wordpress before the process or it will accept when upload the files thru ftp. Kind guidance will be much help ful. Thanks.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      I would recommend enabling WP_Debug on your server to see what errors you may be having so you can fix things up accordingly.
  95. Prateek says:
    Perfect and complete. Thanks even newbies like us can do it easily.
  96. Amit kumar says:
    thanks the tutorial ..very usefull
  97. MOE says:
    I followed all the mentioned steps, but I got this message when I try to refresh the homepage 403 Forbidden You don't have permission to access / on this server. Apache/2.4.18 (Unix) Server at hereinemirates.com Port 80
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Please contact your webhost for assistance, unfortunately since it's a server-side error there isn't much help we can provide.
  98. Jaswinder says:
    Very interesting topic. I am new to word press and my site is listed below. I am having problem with my host, so that's the reason, I am reading this article. I think it is tough for me to move at the beginning.
  99. Altán says:
    I tried to migrate following the steps of other blog posts and using plugins. This time I tried to migrate using your method and worked perfectly well. Thank you!
  100. Tyler Harris says:
    THANK YOU!!!!!!! SOOOOOO MUCCCHCHHH!!!!! you saved me! the duplicator plugin was returning a 500 internal server error due to the size of my site over 300mb and I had to do it manually using your tutorial! thank you!
  101. Mr Appreciative! says:
    Thanks a bundle for this step by step guide. Following this I was able to migrate without hardly any problems. The only small problem I had was a tiny php.ini file that I copied over from the old host. This caused the site to go to the dreaded "white page" when a wp-login attempt was made. It also caused a lot of plug-ins to crash. It took me a whole day to find out the problem, so if anyone else has the same happen, this may help.
  102. OhWow Images says:
    Best tutorial ever. Thank you.
  103. helmuthampton says:
    Awesome! Just migrated a site as instructed and worked perfectly. Thank you.
  104. David ferguson says:
    When I try to get to the wp-admin area I get the error: Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/dferg24/public_html/springboroucc/wp-content/plugins/gallery-bank/gallery-bank.php:903) in /home/dferg24/public_html/springboroucc/wp-includes/pluggable.php on line 1228
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      It appears the error is coming from your gallery-bank plugin. I would recommend you try deleting the plugin via FTP to see if it fixes the problem. Generally this error happen if there is an empty space at the top of a PHP file.
  105. Tunch says:
    Curious how this will reflect the SEO of the website? Especially whe you move your hosting and domain!
  106. Korol says:
    Simply wonderful! Such a great guide to this job without boastful blah-blah, thought about all details. If someone fails the migration in the end, he should better look for another job. Thank you very much, dear author!
  107. Chris says:
    Lifesaver!!! :)
  108. Josh says:
    im must be missing something why would you point the new site to the old DNS server?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      The post is simply saying that once you move your site to make sure to log into your domain registrar (such as Godaddy) and make sure your domain is pointed to the new web host and not the old one.
  109. Divya says:
    Tom ... thanks a lot sharing this document , It really helped me in recent transfer of host.
    • Tom Ewer says:
      You're welcome Divya :-)
  110. Oluwatobi says:
    Hi, what if we are retaining the same domain?
    • Kyla says:
      If you're keeping your domain name you just need to point your domain to your new host (which I think can take any where from a couple hours to a couple days), so no need to change URLs in your WordPress files :-)
  111. Libby says:
    Before importing the database .sql file into the new site, are you supposed to rename it first? When exporting obviously the name is for my old database, so when importing into the new site, should I rename it to my new database name?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      It doesn't matter what the database name is, just be sure that the wp-config.php file for your WordPress installation is pointing to the correct database.
  112. Chris Plasch says:
    Thank you THANK YOU Tom!!! Just completed my first move with your guide and it went as smoothly as I could have ever hoped for... I really appreciate it and am truly grateful!
  113. Jen T says:
    Great article excellently written. Clear and simple instructions. YOU ROCK!
  114. Ayushi Tomar says:
    This is very helpful article, thank you so much.
  115. votextencoremedia says:
    I'm about to move to my new host after my old one got hacked like crazy. Im sure i have scanned all my files now and following the procedure. Thanks a lot for this wonderful guide. Every web developer must need it bookmarked.
  116. m.elqadi says:
    This is really very useful . It solves the trick that I forget to do thank
  117. alan says:
    I've migrated quite a few sites before but usually on the same server and just to root level. This time I have had to move a development site to a new host server, the steps I followed are the same as above and the site works fine, the only thing I can find wrong is that there are still references to the old host server in the database but this doesn't seem to actual affect the site, not visually anyway. Any ideas? Thanks.
  118. Global Runs says:
    Comprehensive enough. It helped me to move my site by myself. Thanks.
  119. Ammar says:
    Great post!! It has everything one need to know when migrating site to a new host. Thank you for awesome knowledge.
  120. Olushola says:
    This as the clear form of tutorial I have seen so far. It really made my migration quite an easy task. Thanks a big bunch.
  121. Bevan says:
    I am having an issue with the PHPMyAdmin bit - i click the phpmyadmin button in the cpanel, and it goes 404: requested url /phpmyadmin was not found on this server" I'm using AWS server and ISPConfig hosting package.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      To be honest I am not sure why that would happen, you'll need to contact your AWS server host.
  122. Alan Haneman says:
    I used different sorts of plugins for a Wordpress site migration and I always had to debug some silly issue that happened. With my experience nothing beats a migration that the hosting company can do. Their admins are more experienced anyway so why bother to migrate something that they do jokingly easy. I know lot's of web hosting companies charge for these kind of migration but I'm lucky that my current host doesn't.
  123. alibasheer says:
    Simple and Straight forward post. Just want to add, I needed to reload permalinks (website.com/wp-admin -> Settings -> Permalinks) I chosed Post Name and "Save changes" and all working perfect
  124. Chetan says:
    Hi Tom, Thanks for the article, it is amazing and easy to follow. But just a question, i am stuck at the point of uploading the files to the new host using ftp. The ftp client does not authenticate my account and gives password error while trying to connect. I tried to change my password and try to reconnect but it doesn't help. Pls tell me what to do. I am using filezilla, i used other client also like coreftp, but no success. pls help.
  125. Tushar Hossain says:
    Thank you so much..I am following your steps for my site :)
  126. Bright Joe says:
    Hi. Thanks for the awesome and clear article. I needed to migrate my client's websites from Godaddy to a new host. I was still confused on what to backup and what is going to be needed later then. But your quick article have made me understand everything. Thanks once again! :D
  127. wiresplus says:
    I get a blank white page, with loading.......page failed to load.
  128. Dennis Asp says:
    It changed my links, but I cannot login at /wp-admin, and none of my post, menues etc. are there. Currently at: freerundenmark.dk/flyttetest/ Tried to duplicate it from freerundenmark.dk/dennisasp What went wrong?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Hi Dennis, Did you actually import your WordPress database? It seems when looking at the site that you have WordPress installed correctly but you are missing all your content. Make sure you have migrated all your wp-content files as well as your database. Also make sure in your database you have changed the url from /dennisasp to /flyttetest otherwise the database may be linking to the original URL so it won't let you login.
  129. Uberdaz says:
    Hi, thanks for the great tutorial, although I have some questions. I have just downloaded my database and site files (files in folder public_html) trough FTP. Now I have connected to my new server for the first time and I can see that it already has files in its public_html folder. Files like: assets, cgi-bin, css,images, js, .htaccess, 502.shtml and parking-page.html. Am I supposed to delete these files and then upload my own files which I downloaded from my first server?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Hi, You need to be careful overriding some files. You should only be migrating the WordPress related files and your .htacess file. Some files such as cgi-bin are specific to your server so you should not delete this. If you aren't sure what you can and cannot delete I do recommend reaching out to your webhost for some assistance.
  130. Suraj says:
    Hey Tom/AJ, I'm moving from hosting from GoDaddy to West Host. This is what I did - I found that in the applications installer on West Host, there was an option "import" my WP installation from GoDaddy to West Host. I did this and although the import was successful, obviously the main content files are still in GoDaddy, do you reckon, now manually uploading wp-content folder & wp-includes might work? At this stage possibly the DNS hasn't finished propagating and what I'm seeing is still the website at my old hosting provider (GoDaddy), but before shit goes down, I'm trying to get everything right :) your inputs are much appreciated. Cheers, Suraj (theinsanefoodie.com)
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Hi Suraj, You really should contact West Host about this. If they have an auto import system it should import all your content as well - if not, that's a bit useless. I would bring this to their attention as maybe there is just a bug that needs fixing or maybe they can update their importer to actually import everything. Of course you can go back to Godaddy and download all your content via FTP then upload it to the new host via FTP, but really the importer should do all that for you. Personally, I have never used West Host. Let us know how you end up liking that hosting service, I am curious to know if it's a good WP host or not. Thanks!

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