So you have a WordPress website, but you want to move it to a new hosting service. But how do you do it? At this point, you’ve most likely tried to do it yourself without any help, and may be experiencing allot of difficulty, as this is a complicated thing to do for someone inexperienced with web hosting software and migrating websites. However, it is actually quite easy. And with this step by step guide, I can guarantee you a safe, hassle free transfer to a new web hosting provider from another web hosting service, including WordPress.com.
BEFORE PROCEEDING: If you simply do not wish to learn how to do this on your own or don’t want to risk moving your WordPress website by yourself, I suggest that you transfer your website to GreenGeeks — they provide you with free site migration; including your WordPress website. This means when you purchase their web hosting plan which starts at $3.96 per month, they’ll transfer your WordPress website for you free of charge. You can’t beat that! To take advantage of this offer, click here.
Otherwise, continue reading on…
STEP 1: Back up your Websites Files
The first step of transferring your website to a new hosting service is backing up everything. It is imperative that you back up everything so do not skip this step, even if you think it does not apply to you. It is very important.
Some start by downloading a plugin. There are hundreds of plugins to choose from, that will help backup your website. However, in WordPress you will most likely want to do this by yourself. What you will need is an FTP program to start with. An FTP is a “File Transfer Protocol” that serves as a program to transfer computer files from a server hosting site to another hosting site over the Internet. The most recommend of most FTP software’s is “FileZilla”, which is 100% free and completely safe. Simply download an FTP program, and copy and paste all of your files from your website director to a new folder on your computer. An important step is to download the “.htaccess” file. This file is harder to find because it is in fact automatically set to be hidden. If you can’t find this file, look at your FTP program’s “help” folder, and there will be a setting for it to display hidden files.
Also, if you are afraid that something has gone wrong because your download is taking some time, don’t worry, all FTP programs take a few hours to normally complete.
STEP 2: Exporting Databases
The next step is to Export the Databases. This may sound tough, but it is very simple. Begin by entering into your “cPanel”. If you are unaware of where to find this, depending on your web hosting service, this should be under account settings, or on your hot bar. After logging into your cPanel, simply open up the phpMyAdmin App.
Now the search begins. Locate all of the databases that have the WordPress installations. These installations should be on a list on the left hand side of your screen. After these are all selected, just click “Export” on menu. After this is done, a download will begin on your web browser, and soon all of the files will be downloaded to your computer from the cloud.
After this download is complete, you’re good to go on step three! This download process for this one shouldn’t take very long.
STEP 3: Importing new Database to WordPress Database
So now that you have your databases exported, you now need to import them to your new site. So let’s get started by creating a database to import our SQL into. First, login to your new web hosting service of choice, and head to the cPanel. Next open the MySQL Database and begin creating a new database. Be sure to name it something memorable so you can easily find it later on. The next step is to create a MySQL user, or log into an existing one. To do so, just simply click “Create new account” and fill in the required fields and you’ll be done. Finally, go to your cPanel again, and “add” the account to your newly created database. Be sure to grant it all privileges.
(It may be noted that if you do not have the MySQL App, you may need to contact your new Host’s support team and see what they have as an alternative for their sites. Most web hosting sites however do use the MySQL Application.)
STEP 4: Editing the wp-config.php seamlessly
Now that you have successfully migrated your databases, go back to the folder that your downloaded website files went. Search in that folder for a file named wp-config.php. This file will be controlling the access that WordPress has to your database, so this is very important to complete this step. First, copy the wp-config.php and paste it to another file or folder on your desktop.
Now, depending on what computer you have, you most likely have a text software to write in, so right click on the wp-config.php and select “Open with” and select your text editing program of choice. Now you need to locate a line that says “define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘db_name’);”. The part that says “db_name” will currently say the MySQL database name of the original web hosting service. Simply change this name to the name of your new database that you created in step 3. For the next part, find the lind that says “define(‘DB_USER’, ‘db_user’);”. Now change the “db_user” to a new username that you created with your new web hosting service.
Finally, find the line that says “define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘db_pass’);” and change the part that says “db_pass” to the new password you created in the MySQL. After that is done, be sure to save all the changes made to the wp-config.php and then exit out of the file.
Step 5: Importing more Databases
Now that you have successfully made it to step 5, start by launching the “phpMyAdmin” by logging back into your cPanel, located in your new hosting services website. Now simply select your databases and select the “import” option located on the menu. Now click the “Choose File” button and open up the SQL file that was exported in step 2. Next, find the box next to the words “Partial Import” and un-tick it. Finally, click the “Go” button and wait for the import to begin. This can take any amount of time, usually relying on if you have a large or small website.
It should be mentioned that when the import is complete, your web browser should notify you.
Step 6: Sending Files
Time to upload those files! We’re nearing the end of the process so hold on and soon you will have a fully functioning new website. You can start this step by opening your FTP program and finding the folder that all of your websites information is currently at. Select this file and begin uploading it to your new web hosting service. It should be noted that the file that contains your website files should also contain the wp-config.php that you changed earlier on in this tutorial.
Once the download is complete, you’re now ready for step 7.
Step 7: Domain DNS
One of the final steps of this migration process is to reset your DNS settings for your current domain. This means you will need reset your Domain to your new IP address, so you still have legal rights over it. Now, this step can’t be too detailed because it varies depending on where you bought your Domain from. Simply head to where you purchased your domain name, and they should have a tutorial section on how to do this located on the home page of their site.
After you have completed their steps, it should take around 24 hours for the change to occur. After 24 or sometimes 48 hours, head back to your website and make sure the changes are correct. Once you are positive your new WordPress site is secure, go back to your original website and delete all of the old folders, plugins and eventually wipe the website clean. Be sure that you still have the files in your computer from the previous steps backup process, and be positive that you have the wp_config.php. If you do not, then you might lose your website entirely, so make sure that you have it. Once you have deleted your old website, you’re done! You have successfully transferred your WordPress Site!
Congratulations, you have successfully completed this tutorial. However, it wasn’t as hard as you thought it was, was it? Transferring sites can seem like a daunting task at first, but with a little bit of work and following these steps correctly, it’s not hard at all! Many people think that transferring sites is very difficult; some say it’s impossible, but with research and time, it’s very simple! So there you go, now you know how to transfer your WordPress site in no time at all! Enjoy your new website.