It happens sometimes. For whatever the reason you need to move your WordPress Blog to another host provider. And I can tell you that although it does suck as you might have to suffer some downtime it doesn’t have to be painful. Read on as I share how I was able to transfer avgjoegeek.net to its new home at HostGator . This is my take on how to transfer your wordpress site to a new host
Update: I’ve since moved off of HostGator and you can read why here. But the steps below are essentially the same whenever you want to move a site to a new host. I’ve been with BigScoots for years now and I still can recommend them highly enough.
Why the Move?
I have a silent business partner (my brother) and largest supporter funded me new hosting for the next few years. Mighty nice of him right? So after conducting a ton of research on which way I wanted to go – I decided on the cheap and easy solution.
Now my old host was awesome – but I ran into some technical issues and (funding) so I didn’t have a choice but to switch. It is nothing against my old host – he was great!
So I switched to HostGator – I have their basic single domain account which still provides to me everything I need:
- Single Domain
- Unlimited Databases
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- Unlimited Disk Space
- Unlimited Emails etc.
- Unlimited sub-domains
Switching to A New Host
Switching to a new host is a scary proposition. I was nervous that the site was going to be down for days and that I wouldn’t be able to restore it back to its former glory. But with WordPress and a little planning I was able to make the move pretty easily (with only one or two mistakes)
It always helps to have a little bit of a plan and forethought to get things moving. First I created a mental checklist of what I needed to do before I moved.
- Full Backup from Old Host Including:
- A Separate Database Backup
- Using the WordPress Export Tool creating an *.xml file that included all my posts, comments, users, etc.
- Install WordPress onto HostGator
- Switch DNS Settings in GoDaddy
- Re-configure Mailboxes
- Re-configure WP Plugins
- Go into CPanel
- Go to Fantastico – the one click method to installing anything on your site:
- Click on WordPress
- Fill out the information.
- Hit the GO button.
- Watch the magic work and it finishes telling you how to access your new site.
After that I used the backup I created and FTPd using FileZilla the following:
- The theme I use – Thesis. This meant I didn’t have to re-configure anything. It is in a single folder and WordPress will recognize the theme and let you activate it easily.
- Uploaded all of the images from the old site to the new. Keeping the file structure and the fact that it was already sorted in the file structure that WordPress recognized I didn’t have to worry about this either. (But I fubard it – I’ll explain in a second)
- Double check your permissions to make sure that nothing funny happened after the transfer.
- Transfer the DNS settings in GoDaddy from the old site to the new.
- Log into GoDaddy
- Click on your Domain
- Go to DNS Manager
- Enter in new DNS Names in the fields provided.
- Ignore the message that states it will take up to 24hrs to take effect. I was able to get it switched within 30 minutes.
- Log into WordPress and get to work!
From there it was the scary moment where I had to actually import the data and cross my fingers.
I used the WordPress import tool and re-imported the data and crossed my fingers. Yay! It worked. All of my posts, comments, user data were all there!
I had forgot to upload the images before I imported the data – so although the links to the images work – uh they were no longer in my Media in WordPress. (Crap)
NOTE: If you’re going to use the WordPress Import Tool? Make sure you have your images uploaded FIRST!
OK it was all smooth sailing from here.
After everything was updated and the site was essentially up and functional I still had to do some additional cleanup:
- Re-activate all my plugins.
- Re-Configure the plugins that require it (about half).
- Go back into CPanel and re-configure my email addresses.
Then 2 hours later I was 100% up and running!
Actual downtime for the site was only for about 20 minutes. The rest I was able to do while it was available for visitors. I still had to do some minor tweaks and some design changes (i.e. the Footer) but overall it was pretty painless.
So Why Do it This Way?
Well I did it this way as I had a few technical issues that I wanted to make sure didn’t transfer to the new host. So I went through the extra steps and going through everything and all that extra headache to ensure that when it was moved it was shiny and new.
Plus I was able to perform a lot of clean up behind the scenes. Make some necessary changes. Remove some unnecessary plugins, and generally try and tweak the site so it ran faster so it loaded faster for you!
If the site was 100% functional? I would have installed WordPress on the new host, Copied over the files/images/plugins/themes etc… from the wp-content folder and then performed an import from the database backup and everything would have been restored and it would have been all said and done!
Oh did I mention I did it while looking after my 2 year old? It was really that easy.
Something else to consider after having your site moved is to make it mobile friendly. Although there are a lot of different solutions out there this is one of the best website builders out there that I’ve found. Of course you could always use a WordPress plugin instead but you run into a lot of other issues entirely.