Everything you need to know about moving your WordPress website from one host to another
Migrating your WordPress website to a new hosting provider can be a daunting task if you don’t know much about hosting, cPanels or FTPs. We’ve included a step-by-step guide below, but ultimately, if you can negotiate for your new hosting provider to take care of this for you, we would highly recommend it – many of the more premium website hosts (ourselves included!) will include a migration service as standard, while others will happily do it for you if you ask nicely.
If you are faced with the task of conducting a DIY WordPress site migration to your new host then we recommend reading our WordPress hosting for beginners guide first so that you understand exactly how hosting affects the health and performance of your WordPress website. This guide will also help you understand what to look out for when selecting a new hosting provider.
Migrating your WordPress website to a new host:
The exact steps required to migrate your WordPress website to a new host will vary slightly depending on who your existing hosting provider is and who you have selected for your new host, but the general process is as follows:
- Make a complete backup of your website – including all files, databases, directories, images and template files.
- Download the backup – for some WordPress websites, you might be able to use a plugin like BackupBuddy to make and download a complete backup of your website, whereas other sites might require the backup to be completed via cPanel or FTP. Make sure that a copy of the database is included in the files that you are downloading.
- Set up your new hosting environment – make sure that you’ve got a new host organised and your account has been completely set up.
- Install WordPress in your new environment – if you have taken your backup using cPanel or FTP, this step may not be necessary as the WordPress files are already included in your backup file.
- Load your backup files into your new hosting environment – again, this might be done with a plugin solution such as BackupBuddy or via FTP or cPanel.
- Test your site – view your site and go through each page to check that all images, links and files still work. If you have also changed domain names during the migration process, you will likely need to update all internal links.
- Point your domain name to your new host – update your domain name’s zone records or DNS so that they point to your new IP address or website host.
- Testing and monitoring – your website should now be live on your new host. Have a quick click through all of your website pages to make sure everything is functioning correctly, test your contact forms and view the site on a mobile device. Do a website speed test to make sure the site loads quickly and get a snapshot of where you currently rank in Google – you’ll want to monitor this over the coming weeks to make sure that you don’t experience any dips in performance.
We recommend reading any support materials or guides that your new hosting provider has available for migrating your website, because that will tell you their preferred method – plugin, cPanel or FTP and give you some clearer guidelines on exactly how to complete the migration.
Should I migrate my WordPress website to a new hosting provider?
Migrating your WordPress website to a new hosting provider can be a time consuming process if done correctly, but is usually worth it in the long run. Whether you are making the switch because you’re not happy with your current provider or have found a better, faster solution, your hosting plays an important role in the health and performance of your website so it is worth the investment.
Often, you will find that WordPress hosts will help you with this process. At WP Sparks, we migrate all of our clients’ websites for them. You simply provide us with access to your current hosting account, your website login and your domain name login and we’ll take care of the entire migration process for you, from the initial backup through to testing to make sure nothing has broken. You’ll find more information about our managed WordPress hosting packages here, and if you have any questions about the migration process, please get in touch.