How to Manually Migrate Your WordPress Site to a Managed Host

WordPress is the world’s #1 content management system (CMS) powering more than 27 million websites across the globe. It’s one of the most popular software packages for web content publishing due to its ease of use, security, and feature-rich plugin system.

Despite its popularity, WordPress is a notoriously difficult platform to migrate to if you’re unfamiliar with how it works. Especially if you want to keep your current users and don’t want to lose any content or feature updates along with the migration.

If you’re looking to migrate your WordPress website to a managed hosting provider, keep reading.

Find The Perfect Host

When migrating your WordPress site to a managed host, you’ll need to find a company that supports the software you’re using and has the resources you need to get the job done. For instance, if you’re using WordPress itself to manage content, you’ll need a company that supports the WordPress platform.

Additionally, make sure that the host you choose provides excellent customer support and has a reliable track record. If there’s any trouble at all with your new host, you’ll need someone to help you out immediately rather than scrambling to figure out what’s going on along with all the chaos that comes with a broken web server.

Back Up Your Data

No matter what, accidents happen. With that said, it’s important to make sure that you have a reliable method of backing up your data in case something happens and you lose a web page, blog post, or the entire website. This is especially important if you’re not using a cloud-based service like Google Cloud, Amazon S3, or Microsoft Azure.

Depending on how much you’re relying on server-side features like database import/export or weekly automated backups, you might need a VPS (Virtual Private Server) with a minimum of 4 GB of RAM along with an SSD (Solid State Drive) for optimal performance. A reliable WordPress database backup solution to consider is wpdbBackup from XClarity.

Create A Plan

Once you’ve found a reputable host for your WordPress site, it’s time to put your plans in motion. Before you start doing anything, take a few minutes to lay out everything on paper. This will help you better understand the process and what pitfalls you might encounter along the way. 

Along with the perfect host, you’ll need to consider the following:

  • Migration path
  • Migration strategy
  • Backups
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Reliability

If you’re using AWS (Amazon Web Services) for hosting, you’ll also need to look into their pricing plans and the associated costs. Some of the other popular hosting providers like Bluehost and Hostinger do not offer the level of support necessary for a migration of this scale. If you’re looking for a reliable platform with excellent service and support, you can’t go wrong with InMotion Hosting.

Choose A WordPress Migration Tool

You’ll need to have a tool to migrate your WordPress website to a new host. There are several WordPress-to-WordPress migration tools out there that can make the process of changing hosts a lot easier. The most popular ones are:

  • WCM (WordPress Content Management) – This tool makes it easy to upload existing content to a new WordPress installation. It also allows you to configure redirects, site addresses, and more.
  • Migration Buddy – This tool simplifies the process of migrating your WordPress site to a new host by setting up all the redirects, installing plugins, and importing content in one click.
  • XClarity – Similar to Migration Buddy, XClarity makes it easy to migrate your WordPress site by automatically importing content, redirects, and configuring plugins. Plus, you can use their managed WordPress service to get a completely free version of XClarity up and running in no time at all.
  • One Click Migrate – This tool makes it easy to move your WordPress site to a new host by automatically configuring all the necessary settings and plugins in one click.
  • MetaLab – MetaLab makes it easy to migrate your WordPress site by automatically importing all the content, settings, and plugins from one place to another. Plus, they have a 30-day money-back guarantee if you meet the right criteria.

Each of these tools has its pros and cons. For example, WCM is great for smaller migrations since it only needs to be used to sync content between two WordPress installations. However, if you’ve got a large-scale migration in mind, you might want to consider other options. The important thing to keep in mind is that these tools make the process of changing hosts much easier and more efficient. If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all your WordPress-related needs, you can’t go wrong with InMotion Hosting. They’ve been around since 1999 and have served over 1.7 million web sites successfully.

Back Up Your WordPress DNS

Before you go any further, it’s essential that you back up your WordPress DNS. This is the domain name system (DNS) that’s responsible for translating your website’s name (like example.com) into an IP address (like 1.2.3.4) that your web browser can understand. If you’ve ever changed your website’s name (like example.com to exampley.com) or moved your website to a new hosting provider (like Bluehost), you’ll need to update your DNS accordingly.

To do this, visit your hosting provider’s dashboard and look for the Domain Management section. If you’ve moved hosting providers before, you’ll probably have to look for the “parked” domain name (like example.com) under the My Domains tab. Once you’ve found it, click the Backup button.

Some hosting providers like GoDaddy offer a free domain privacy service that adds a layer of security to your website by obscuring your actual domain name from search engines and online eavesdroppers. It also allows you to set up email forwarding so you can easily forward any mail sent to example@example.com to an external email address (like Gmail). If this is an option for you, then you should definitely consider taking advantage of it.

Set Up The New Host

Once you’ve backed up your WordPress DNS, it’s time to set up your new host. Begin by creating a new hosting account and logging in using the credentials you’ve established. Next, visit your control panel and click the “Upgrade” button to move to the next screen. At this point, you’ll need to pick a dedicated IP address from the list of provided IP addresses or enter one manually.

It’s also important to point out that dedicated IP addresses are very expensive and are in high demand. So, if you’ve got the budget, it’s well worth it to get a dedicated IP address especially if you’re looking to monetize your content or sell products online. The more you can do online, the more you can make money. So, if you can afford it, get a dedicated IP address.

Install The Latest Version Of WordPress

The last thing you want to do is install an outdated version of WordPress onto your new host! To prevent this from happening, make sure that you install the latest version of WordPress available. Although this might seem like an unnecessary security precaution, it’s actually very important to keep up with WordPress’ security and feature updates. Otherwise, you expose yourself to unnecessary vulnerabilities which could seriously damage or even destroy your website. Keep all your software up to date and run security and virus scans regularly.

Once you’ve updated WordPress to the latest version, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Set Up Your WordPress Mailing List

If you’ve got an email list of any kind (regardless of whether it’s a mailing list, an email group, or a social media follower list), you’ll need to set up your WordPress account to connect with your subscribers. To do this, navigate to your “Email” menu under the “Social Links” section of your admin panel and click the “Create a mailing list” button.