Transfer WordPress Site New Domain or New Server Host
There are several options to transfer WordPress site. We are going to start with the easy way and then we are going to work our way up to the more difficult way. We are going to base this tutorial on skill level. Transferring a WordPress site is not of question of “if” it is a question of “when” for the people that are serious about their business. As our website grows and becomes more popular there is a need to serve more potential customers. There is also the issue of having more functions on the website that require more resources. If you have a lot of plugins in WordPress chances are your server is working pretty hard to serve the content to your visitors. If you are are on shared server and you are getting 1000+ visits a day you need to think about moving your site to a VPS or Dedicated server. Hosting companies will tell you that you can handle 4-5000 visits a day and that would be true if all you had was hard coded html with very little graphics and pictures. However with WordPress you have a lot more than that. A typical WordPress website calls in thousands of scripts and commands. A good example of the difference is pull up “notepad” on your computer then pull up “Photoshop” or “Microsoft office word”. The difference in computer performance becomes visible. That is the same difference between WordPress and a statically driven website. Hence, the need to transfer to a new host or server is only a matter of time for the serious web masters.
Q. Tell me what I need to take into consideration when transferring a WordPress website.
A. Before we begin we need to establish weather your transferring to a new domain all together or if you are transferring the current domain to a new server or hosting provider.
Example of transferring to a new domain.
- Old web domain is www.xyz.com
- New domain is www.abc.com
If you are keeping the same domain of course you just want the content transferred to the new host. There is a different method for this!
Q. How can I easily transfer my WordPress site to a new domain.
A. Here are the steps in order that you must do. Please follow them carefully.
- Instructions on transferring WordPress CMS to the new domain.
- NOTE: Do not cancel the old one yet!
- Install your current theme on the new domain. Make sure that if you are using child themes that you install the framework as well as the child theme.
- If you need more help on this book an online tutorial and I can walk you though it.
- Install all the plugins that you have on your current website. This will be important that these are in place when you do the transfer.
- Copy all your widget codes and where they are placed.
- NOTE: What I do is use the snippet tool to take a screen shot of all my widgets as well so I can see where they are placed.
- I make a folder on my desktop to put all my widgets that have codes in them so I can copy and paste on the new site.
- Since we are transferring all the content make sure that you delete all post and pages on the “New Website” otherwise you will have sample pages and post.
- Now that we have the theme installed and all our plugins installed its time to go back to the old site and export an XML file. Here are the steps.
- In your old WordPress dashboard scroll down to where it says “Tools” and select “Export”.
- Make sure that you tick the “All Content” option and save it to a folder where you will remember where it is located.
- Next go to your new site in the dashboard and scroll you way down to tools again. Select the “Import” option.
- You will see options appear on the right, you want the WordPress options since you will be importing from a WordPress CMS to a WordPress CMS.
- If it asks you to install then make sure that you do that! After its installed click “Activate and Run importer”
- Next choose the XML file that you downloaded from your old WordPress website and click on the button “Upload File and Import”
- There are a few options here. The xml file will ask you what “Author” you want the posts and pages assigned to. Assign them to the appropriate authors.
- IMPORTANT: Make sure that you tick the box “Download and import file attachments” if you forget to do this you will have to upload all the media files one by one!
- Hit the submit button and it will import all your posts and pages.
- You will see a link called have Fun!
- Next go back into your themes under “Appearance” and activate your theme!
- Then go to your widget section and put in all your widgets
- Check to make sure all your images imported into your media library.
This is the end of the easy way. If you have a large blog with many posts and pages this may not be the solution for you! You could experience a lot of errors and attachments not uploading to the new server. If you are keeping the same domain name but just moving it to a new server then there are a different set of steps for this process. We will discuss a more advanced solution below.
Q. I am keeping the same domain name but moving to a new server, what is the best way to move to a new hosting provider?
A. You will have to download all your media files to you computer. That will be the first step in this process. Here are the steps to make it easier on you.
- Install WordPress on the new server in your hosting control panel or cPanel.
- Download FileZilla it is a file transfer protocol program or FTP. I am going to recommend that you download the entire site to your computer to avid “Path Issues”. Remember that I can walk you though this process online if you book an online tutorial.
- After you download FileZilla set up a folder on your desktop and call it “Website-Files”
- When you start the FileZilla program it will ask you for FTP log in credentials. If you do not have an FTP log in you will have to go to your current hosting provider to make one.
- Enter your host-name. username and password. The port should be 21 then click Quick Connect
- You will see a list of your website files on the right and a tree on the left showing folders. IMPORTANT make sure you navigate to the folder on your desktop file named “Website Files”
- Now take note of the structure below, we want to make sure that we are downloading to the right folder! This will help us later when we are uploading to the new website.
- On the right is our connection the the remote site. On the left is our computer with the “Website-Files” folder open. Now we are ready to transfer our entire website to our computer.
- Right click on the files and download them. You can highlight them all and download them by holding the control button down on your keyboard and clicking each folder.
- After you have downloaded all the folders then it will be time to connect to your new host. This will be done via IP address under the host name. If you do not know the new IP address you can contact your host provider or log into your cPanel to get it. This is also where you create FTP accounts.
- NOTE: You can also transfer files from your cPanel as well to your computer. This would be an alternative to the above method but it is limited. When you go to upload the file via a “File Manager” you would have to do them one at a time. That is another reason why I am having you use FileZilla.
- When you crate a ftp account on your new host you will have to use the IP address to log into the FTP. You can find the new IP address by clicking on expand stats in the left column. If you do not have this feature contact your hosting company to get it.
- Now that you have your new information upload ONLY the wp-content folder. DO NOT UPLOAD ANY OTHER FOLDERS! Make sure the files are side by side so you upload to the right folder. If you do not follow this exactly as I tell you, you could damage your entire site!
- The items that you will be uploading during this process are your themes and plug ins.
Q. How do I transfer a database for WordPress when I am keeping the same URL?
A. OK now that we have all of our files uploaded to the new site we have to go and get the database. I will show you how to transfer your database if you are keeping the same URL. Here are the steps.
- Log into your cPanel or hosting providers back end on your current site. Scroll down or find where is says “Databases”. You want phpMyAdmin.
- If you are not automatically logged in it will ask you for a username and password. You can find that information in the wp-config file you downloaded to your desktop in the instructions above. Open it up and scroll down to where it gives you the username and password for the database.
- After you are logged into your phpMyAdmin click on the database that contains your WordPress data. Usually it will have a “wp” in it somewhere.
- When you click on the wp database you will see a list of tables appear. Click on the “Export” tab. Make sure the “Quick” method is selected and hit the “go” button.
- Save the file to your computer.
- Log in to the new phpMyAdmin.
- If you do not have the username and password on the new server you can get it from your file manager. Browser around for it and look for the username and password. The file you need to access is wp-config.php that is where your information is.
- Now we are ready to import the database into the new website. The important thing to take note of are the prefixes for the database tables. Most WordPress databases have the “wp_” prefix. You can see that in the graphic above, all the tables have a “wp_” prefix. If your old database has a different prefix you will have to change the wp_config.php file on the new server to match the old one. In order to do that open up your wp_config.php file on your new server and scroll down to where it says $table_prefix = ‘wp_’; and change the “wp_” to whatever the old one was. Once you change that move on to the next step, if it is the same prefix do not worry about changing it.
- Log into your new phpMyAdmin and select the “import” tab. Choose the file that you downloaded from your old site and click “Go”.
- Now go and change your name servers to point to the new host. There may be a 24 to 48 hour propagation but usually it only takes an hour or so before you see your website on the new host.
Q. Do you have an advanced video tutorial on transferring files and databases?
A. Yes here is an advanced video tutorial on transferring your files and your database for WordPress.
Q. I am switching domain names and switching servers with a WordPress CMS which is the best way?
A. The best way to accomplish this is the first method mentioned above. The exception to this is if you have a very large website then that method may not work and you will have to go with the second method mentioned above.
Q. How much would it cost me to hire someone to transfer my WordPress website from one server to another server?
A. If you have a small site A1WebsitePro will charge $35 to do it for you. This would be a website with under 50 posts and pages combined. For every 50 post or pages add another $35. We will also change your name-server too to point to your new host. We would need the hosting log in information from your current website and the new hosting information. We would also need an administration login to your current WordPress CMS.
Q. Should I use 301 redirects when I transfer to a new host?
A. Yes you should use 301 redirects only if the URL’s are going to be different. So if you are transferring the website http://webdevelopmentyoungstown.com/ to http://youngstowncakes.com/ your url structure for all your posts and pages will be different. You can do this but you will have to keep your old website host active. The reason why people do this is so that they do not lose any SEO or SERP when transferring sites. Remember that all your original content was indexed under the old name of the site so it is important to put in 301 redirects to direct your readers automatically to the new pages. If you are just transferring your website to a new host with all the same content and same url structure then you do not have to worry about 301 redirects.
Q. How do I set Nameservers?
A. Log into where ever you bought the domain. If it is godaddy you want to go to your domains. Open the domain where you want to change the nameservers. Scroll down the page to where it says “Edit Name Servers” and put in the 2 URL’s that your hosting company gave you. The process might be slightly different from company to company. Mainly you want to look for “Nameservers”
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