Ever since its inception in 2003, WordPress has become one of the most powerful platform content management systems on the internet. From blogs to eCommerce stores, WordPress is capable of creating any type of website that you want.
It’s easy to set up your first WordPress blog.
However, when it comes to migrating a WordPress website to a new host, it can be quite a complicated process if you’re an absolute newbie.
Now, just to be clear, this article does not cover the steps for migrating a WordPress website. You can plenty of articles online that specifically helps you with that. WHSR has a detailed article that gives you a step-by-step guide for migrating a website.
Rather, this article is about giving you tips for making WordPress sites migrations an easier process.
Tip #1 Backup Your Site Before Migrating
The most important thing you need to do before you start migrating your website to a new hosting provider.
And that is to create backups of your website.
Having a backup is necessary in case anything goes wrong during your migration process and it’s good practice to always backup your website on a daily basis. Especially if you’re an online store.
The process for creating backups are normally quite straightforward. If you’re using a cPanel supported hosting, they will have a built-in app that lets you create full files and databases backup that you can save on the main FTP account.
If you’re not too confident to do manual backups, you can always opt for plugins. WordPress has a ton of free and paid plugins that you can use to help make backups of your website. Some of the recommended WordPress plugins for backups are:
Tip #2 Using Plugins for WordPress Migration
On the subject of plugins, WordPress has an amazing library of plugins that are useful for users and coincidentally, they also have plugins that can help you migrate your WordPress website.
These plugins are great if you’re not confident enough to handle the technical part of migrating a WordPress website or you just want a tool to help boil down the migration process to just a few simple clicks.
While most of them are not free, it’s still a lot cheaper than hiring a developer to help you with the process of moving your website.
A few things that you need to note before using a plugin:
- Content heavy or eCommerce site, it’s best that you use off-site migration/backup tool instead of a plugin. VaultPress is a great option since it’s built by the same people behind WordPress and won’t slow down your server.
- Try testing or opening the backup file first before starting to ensure it’s not corrupted. It’s rare but it does happen from time to time.
- While you probably won’t need it, let your original WordPress remain to live so you can use it to prepare a new backup of the site in case anything happens.
- Update your site’s DNS after the migration is completed. Since you want to keep your downtime as little possible, it’s recommended that you keep the original site live until the migration process is finished and that everything is working perfectly.
As for the plugins that you can use to migrate your WordPress website, here are a few that I definitely recommend you use:
- Duplicator – Great overall choice due to its flexibility and versatility
- WP Migrate DB – Unlike most plugins, WP Migrate DB focuses entirely on moving databases
- All-in-One WP Migration – As the name suggests, the plugin offers an all-in-one solution for your migration needs.
Tip #3 Web Hosts With Migration Services
When choosing a new hosting provider for your WordPress site, you should always go with the ones that offer great uptime, 24/7 customer and technical support, and a stable and consistent bandwidth.
If you’re like me, however, and just simply can’t afford the time to move an entire website, you can take advantage of site migration services offered by a number of hosting providers.
In most cases, the site migration service will have a fee but certain hosting providers will offer it for free if you’re a new subscriber. Again, it’s recommended that you choose a web host that suits your website needs first, then only explore if they have any site migration services.
Some of the biggest providers out there that offer migration services are:
- SiteGround – One of the best hosting providers for WordPress users. They offer site migration for free for new subscribers.
- Bluehost – A web host provider that’s been around for years and known for its overall reliability.
- Kinsta – A premium web host that offers one of the best managed WP hostings. They also offer free site migrations upon signup.
- HostGator – A popular hosting provider for individual users and business owners alike.
Tip #4 Point Your DNS To The Right Place
The DNS (or Domain Name System) of your website needs to be updated after you’ve finished moving your website, in order to point your users to the right place. Imagine a user’s surprise when they enter your URL, only to be greeted with an error page. You wouldn’t want that, would you?
In order to update your DNS, you need to head back to where you registered your domain name for your WordPress website. Log back into your account, look for the DNS section, and then change the two name servers for your original web host.
You should see something like this:
Change the two nameservers to your current host’s servers instead. If it’s DreamHost, then it should be something like this:
This is normally the last step of a migration and can be easily overlooked if you’re not careful. Just make sure that your DNS is updated and everything should work perfectly!
What makes WordPress great is the fact that it’s highly customizable. Unfortunately, the more customized your website becomes, the trickier the migration process will be. Use these tips to help make the transition a lot smoother and avoid any unnecessary headaches.
Are there any other tips that you can think of? Share with us!