Moving WordPress to a New Host

Moving WordPress to a different hosting provider can be a daunting task. Following these steps will make this an easy process and prevent headaches in trying to figure out why your site doesn’t load after moving WordPress. Learn from my mistakes and follow this simple tutorial.

I have moved WordPress websites many times in the past, and this tutorial reflects my experience with doing this. This is the easiest method.

Step #1: Download Site Files and Database Backup

Having the ability to upload files and using the admin to upgrade means the copy of your site that you have on your computer may not be the files used on your website. So make sure to download all of the files using FTP.

Next you will want to export the mysql database used by your WordPress website. You can do this through a tool called phpMyAdmin (which is provided in most hosting control panels). You can also contact your hosting provider to send this file to you.

Once you download the latest files and database, you will not want to make any changes in your admin (including posts) until your site is transferred over.

Step #2: Update Paths and Database Connection

You will need to create the database on your new hosting account. Make a note of the host, username, password and database name and update the information that is in the /wp-config.php file.

If you are using WP Super Cache, you will also want to update the path that is used on your new host that is listed in the /wp-content/advanced-cache.php file. If you do not do this, your site will probably display a blank page. That happened to me at one point and it was a pain in the ass in figuring out what the problem was.

Step #3: Upload the Files and Import the Database

Your new hosting provider should have provided a method for you to connect to your account through FTP. Go ahead and upload your website to the new host. You will want to make the following directories writable after you upload the files (all of these are in the /wp-content/ folder): cache, plugins, upgrade and upload. Make sure to apply the permissions to all of the files in the sub directories (which should be an option in your ftp program). I personally like to use Filezilla.

Next, import the database backup file into the new database on your new hosting provider. Again, you can use phpMyAdmin for doing this.

Step #4: Test the Site

Before you update the domain settings on your site, you will want to verify that your site loads properly on the new website host. Often times, hosting providers will provide a temporary url that you can use to preview your website. If your host does not provide this, below is an alternative method on a Windows machine.

You will want to update your host file and point it to the ip address of your new website. This will make your browser load the website from the new hosting provider and you can preview how it looks as if your domain was loading from the new location. Follow the steps below to do this:

  • Open up your hosts file in Notepad. In Windows Vista, it is located here: C:WindowsSystem32driversetchosts
  • Add this line to the end of the file: PUT_IP_ADDRESS_HERE PUT_DOMAIN_ADDRESS_HERE
  • Save the file and restart your browser. Load the domain that you put into that file and it should be loading from the new server. I like to upload a unique file as a double check to make sure things are loading from the new server.

Step #5: Make One Change in the Admin

Assuming everything looks good, you will need to apply an update to the options in the admin. Go to Settings: Miscellaneous and update the path used for the uploads folder. If you don’t know this path, you can find out by looking at a phpinfo() page.

If things look good at this point, you can update the domain to point to the new nameservers. That’s it you programing fool! 🙂

If you have any problems or questions, please post in the comments. Also, please share any additional tips you have with this process.

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14 thoughts on “Moving WordPress to a New Host

  1. Moving a WordPress Website to a New Host…

    A tutorial on how to move wordpress from one hosting provider to another. Goes through tips in what to change to make it an easy process….

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    • After doing this several times myself, I figured that it was a good idea to record what I did for future reference. When moving a WordPress site, the last thing you want to deal with is having a blank page come up and you aren’t sure why.

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  2. Hi,

    I just hope i never have to transfer my WP blogs over to an other server, i have on the last count 57 blogs so that’s a lot of database and file transfers. Maybe I should get a professional to handle it for me. What would you reckon the time it would take to complete 57 data transfers? If i was doing it myself I think i would shutdown my network for at least 12 hours and post flyers over the social networks to let my readers know.
    Thanks for the tips, will bookmark for future use
    .-= Bill Masson´s last blog ..How To Choose A Good Web Design Company =-.

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    • Bill,

      57 blogs? That is crazy! With that many blogs, do you have your own dedicated server? I don’t know how you keep all of them updated.

      If I was in your shoes and did not want to hire someone to help me, I most likely would just create a schedule to transfer about 5 sites at a time (and actually, the hosting company you transfer to may be willing to help you with this process). Unless you are on a dedicated box…which in that case there may be easier methods of moving this to a new server.

      I probably would not shutdown your network of sites for 12 hours, especially if you get a lot of traffic. But this is just my opinion. 🙂

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      • Hi Chris,

        I know it sounds crazy but i am a WordPress freek:-) I am quite happy with my host for now but if i did want to move then i would probably hire a professional to do it for me.

        I don’t have a dedicated server and for sure this has caused me problems especially with certain plugins that put a lot of strain on the servers. But i have learned how to manage the frequency of my posting and use of automated plugins.

        The worst culprit was when i started a dedicated twitter front page blog (P2 theme by Automattic) which had two of my twitter accounts hooked in…needles to say i had to trash the site because the pressure on the shared servers was to much. Happy days 🙂
        .-= Bill Masson´s last blog ..How To Choose A Good Web Design Company =-.

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