How to Transfer a WordPress Site from One Host to Another
So you’ve decided it’s time to move your WordPress site from one hosting service to another. Congratulations! That was probably the right decision given how expensive it is to host a website these days. But before you start implementing the changes to your site, you should take a minute to think about the process. It can be tricky to perform a seamless transfer, so let’s take a look at how to do it right.
Back Up Your Site
As the name would suggest, backing up is the process of making copies of your data in case it gets lost. While it’s not absolutely necessary to have this step, it is advisable to have it to prevent any headaches down the line. You can use a free service like WordPress Backup Extra for this (you get 2 free copies with every hosting account).
If you already use a backup service for WordPress, you can use them to restore your site in case of disaster. You can even set it up so that it automatically restores your site after every update. This way, you will never be without a copy of your content.
Choose A Fresh Blogging Platform
With every update, WordPress releases a new version, which is usually considered a maintenance release. These updates are generally very stable, but they do contain bugs that can cause some quirks in your site. If you’re looking for a fresh blogging platform, you can also check out blogs from platforms like Medium, which support reader engagement through content syndication and the like. While I love what WordPress can do, I don’t recommend using it if you’re just getting started or if you want to keep your site fresh.
Create New Blogging Accounts
You will need to create new accounts on the new hosting service that you plan to move your site to. This is mainly because WordPress doesn’t allow you to migrate an active site to a different host without losing all of your content. So you’ll need to create new blog directories on the new hosting service.
WordPress also doesn’t have an automated tool to migrate your content from one host to another, so you’ll need to do this manually. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to move a WordPress site from one host to another.
Manually Install WordPress On The New Host
Installing WordPress is relatively straight forward. You just need to click the link in the email that’s been sent to you and then click the installer button. On newer hosts, this will bring up a setup wizard that will guide you through the process. If you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, you can also install WordPress on your router using the command line. This way, you’ll never have to worry about installation again!
Copy Over Your Posts And Pages
The most basic, but nonetheless essential step in the process of moving your site is copying over your posts and pages. You don’t want to lose any content in the process, so make sure you back up your old blog first. This is also the part where you’ll need to pay the most attention to, so make sure you do it right.
WordPress tracks all of the changes that you make to your posts and pages in the database, so it’s important you don’t overwrite these with the wrong information. The last thing you want to do is delete all of your posts and pages and have to start again from scratch. Make sure you consult a professional website migration service that is familiar with WordPress to perform this step correctly.
Even though you did everything by yourself up to this point, I still recommend doing a final check of your site before you publish it. This way, you can be sure that nothing is missing and that all of the instructions are followed. Use your favorite tool for this (I use the free Online Backup Service from WordPress itself).
If you’re still on the fence about moving your site, you can use the free service Trial Run to test out how your site performs on the new hosting service. Just make sure you’re running a legitimate trial or paid version of WordPress before you start using it. Otherwise, you could end up with malware from the trial version that will infect your new site.