Transfer Your WordPress Blog to a New Web Host

At some point in time, we can no longer use the service of a web hosting provider either because you have had changes in requirements, dissatisfied with their service or have outgrown your web host capacity. Regardless of the reason, migrating your Wordpress blog to a new hosting server can prove to be particularly daunting.

There are a few ways to migrate your Wordpress blog and you should choose one that matches your ability and needs.


Ask Your New Web Host

The most straightforward solution is to let your web host do all the work for you. This is especially useful if you don’t know what you are doing. Most web hosts are willing to migrate your Wordpress blog for free. Obviously, before choosing a new host, find out whether they’ll be helpful. Also make sure the new web host can scale with your requirements as your blog grows, so you don’t need to migrate again in the near future.

Ask a professional

Another good option that many blogger choose is to hire professionals, such as web developers or migration consultants. This is the more expensive route for sure, but could be the only option if your web host doesn’t do migrations. Some bloggers also paid others to migrate their blogs simply because they didn’t have the time do it themselves.

Do It Yourself

This is a good option if you have the time to kill. The process shouldn’t be too hard, but there are a few factors to consider. All in all, depending on the size of your main file (mostly in the “upload” and “wp-content” folders), the entire process shouldn’t take too long.

Follow These Steps to Move Your Blog:

  • Backup Your Files. We can’t be too safe during the migration process, backup your files before trying anything or making any changes.
  • Check Requirements. The minimum requirements for Wordpress blogs are PHP 5.2 or above and MySQL 5.0 or above. Also make sure the web host supports FTP application.
  • Clean up Wordpress. Clean out your Wordpress blog of anything inessential before the actual migration. If possible, disable all plugins and switch to the default theme. Also clean up your meta data, pages, posts and categories. Pruning your blog at this stage can prove to really helpful in the end. It is also a good idea to turn of all caching and update your Wordpress installation before making a migration.
  • Use phpMyAdmin. Read instructions on how to use phpMyAdmin; it allows you to backup the database in .zip format.
  • Backup Your Content. Backup everything, including empty folders, to your local hard drive or a DVD. Upload them to the new server using your FTP app. This could be a challenge, especially if you are still using the same domain name. As a solution, the web host may advise you to use a temporary domain. Nameservers would be updated once you move all the files over.
  • Import Database. Import your database to the new server. It is essential to have the same database name, so everything can work properly and smoothly. If for some reason you can’t remember some of the credentials, check the wp-config.php file located in the Wordpress home directory.
  • Domain Registration. Update the registration of your domain and nameserver. At some point, you either need to change the nameserver and/or migrate the domain registration via your registrar so that the new web host can assume control and help you configuring the website. In most cases, this is as simple as contacting your old web host and ask them to change the nameserver. Once completed, continue with the domain registration process with your new hosting provider. There are ample of instructions online to help you do this safely and easily.
  • Be Patient. It takes time for changes and updates to propagate worldwide. It may take anywhere from a couple of hours to 3-4 days. Be patient and expect some traffic drop. One very useful too is “What’s My DNS”, it allows you to check nameservers of your recently migrated domain. During the critical transition phase, you can use the tool 3-4 times each day.

Once all nameservers have been switched over, users could access your blog with similar credentials as before. You may need to configure a few things though. For example, you need to check the .htaccess file as well as re-enabling caching, plugins and themes. You should be aware that some content might still be lost during the process, like comments users posted after you back up the database. It is what it is! So make sure you import the database quickly after performing the database backup.

It is important to let your audience know that the site undergoing a migration and they should expect some downtime. Give them some notice, preferably one month in advance and a reminder every week after that. Moments before the actual process, write a “Goodbye” post and if possible update your readers during the migration. Consider when you need to migrate. After years of blogging, you should be able to identify easily when the traffic is the lowest, for example during the weekend.

Image by intelfreepress

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