In order to begin a WordPress site, there are a couple of processes involved. First, put in place a hosting account, purchase a domain name, install WordPress then configure your site. Once this is done, it won’t be long before you start receiving account renewal reminders in your inbox. This may be somewhat tricky, considering you’ll pay more than you did when signing up.
Not to worry, however. You can opt to migrate from your WordPress site. When doing this, you must be open to the fact that things might go contrary to what you anticipated. To be on the safe side, ensure you constantly monitor the site and have a backup in place.
How to achieve a successful WordPress migration
These key factors go a long way in determining your overall migration experience: The knowledge and effort required, the total time taken and of course, accuracy. These factors will help you decide if you will migrate either manually or with the help of a plugin. Here is an in-depth look at what these processes involve, the pros and the cons.
These are the steps to follow in order to successfully migrate your WordPress site manually:
1. Perform a site backup
This can be done via a WordPress plugin or through manual means. Before you move your WordPress site, be sure to backup the files and the database. Do this by copying all the files and the database through FTP. They will be imported through phpMyAdmin.
2. Perform a database backup
It is essential for you to export the WordPress database once you have stored your files on your computer. Here are the steps involved in backing up the database:
- Log in to your cPanel
- Head on to the Databases section
- Open phpMyAdmin
- Select the Export tab
- Choose a method
- Pick a format
- Go back to save the database
3. On the new host, create a fresh database
This will also require you to create another MySQL user with a good password. Here is how to create a fresh database:
- On new host, open cPanel
- Head on to MySQL Database
- Generate a new database and MySQL user
- Add a new account to the fresh database with all selected privileges
- Copy the username, database name, and password
4. Perform a second backup
As you do this, be careful not to replace the previous backup with the new one. The second backup should contain all the changes made to the database. To do this, you can follow the steps mentioned in Step 1.
5. Import the backup
On the new domain, move the database and files via phpMyAdmin and FTP respectively. Here is what to do:
- Log in to your FTP account
- Find public_html or WordPress folder
- Upload all contents of the WordPress folder from your desktop/laptop.
6. Link your site and Update your DNS
Linking your site to the new domain will prevent breakage of your site’s external links. You can do this manually or with the help of a plugin such as Search and Replace. Once this is done, go ahead and update the settings on your DNS. This will enable them to point to the newly created server, rather than the old one. Your domain registrar can provide you with further details concerning this.
Pros and Cons of Migrating WordPress manually
- Works great for those familiar with WordPress
- Gives you control
- Time consuming
- Needs manual labor
- May prove to be mind-boggling for newbies
- Each process requires utmost carefulness
Migration with the help of plugins
All migration plugins seek to perform one common function: To simplify the migration process. For clarity purposes, here is the process involved for one well-known migration plugin, Migrate Guru.
Step1: Install and activate Migrate Guru
On the site you wish to migrate to, complete the installation and activation process. Log in to the source site, heading on to Plugins then click ‘Add new’. In the search bar, key in Migrate Guru then click ‘Install New’. Activate it once installation is complete.
How to use Migrate Guru
Step 1: Via Migrate Guru, choose your destination host
If you wish to locate your host in the list, choose to move your site via cPanel or FTP. Do this based on which option you have credentials for.
Step 2: Fill the form then click ‘Migrate’
This will direct you to a progress screen in real-time where you can analyze how far the migration process is from completion. An email notification will be sent to you by Migrate Guru to confirm the start of the migration process. You will then be directed to a different screen that gives you the progress of your migration in real-time. The email notification will also provide you with this link.
If you opt for cPanel, here are the details that will be required of you:
- Email address: Where you will receive details of the migration process.
- Destination site URL: The URL of your new domain
- cPanel Username and Password
If you opt for FTP, here is what you will have to provide:
- FTP type: The protocol your host uses i.e FTP SFTP or FTPS.
- FTP Password
- Email address: Where details pertaining to the migration progress will be sent to.
- Destination site’s URL: Where you’re migrating your site to
- Host address: It should appear on your hosting account’s cPanel
Click ‘Advanced options’ if your new site is HTTP Authenticated. Key in your username and password for both the source and destination site. These will be required ONLY if either the destination site or site being moved is ‘https://’ rather than ‘http://’. You will know it is authenticated if either of the URLs starts with ‘https://’. The site’s server logs can provide you these credentials. A few website hosts make browsing these logs easier with the presence of apps in the cPanel.
Upon completion, Migrate Guru will send you a notification along with a link to the migrated site.
So you’ve moved your site. What’s next?
Repoint your site’s DNS to the new location. This will take approximately 4 hours. Most hosting accounts allow you to edit DNS settings from the cPanel, under a DNS settings variant.
Clearly, using a WordPress migration plugin such as Migrate Guru is way easier as compared to migrating manually. I recommend this mode of migration especially if you’re a newbie in the field of website migration. It will not only save you time but also unnecessary panic and anxiety.