How to Migrate WordPress to a New Server (Step-By-Step-Guide)

WordPress website migration can be a daunting and stressful task, especially when you don’t know how to tackle it without complications. There might be some people who hire a professional to transfer their site to a new host—or looking for a hosting provider that offers free migration services with their hosting package. However, if you’ve landed in this article, it means you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to migrate WordPress to a new server on your own without any fear of making a mistake and damaging your site(s).

Migrate WordPress Site to a New Server

Manual WordPress migration involves files transfer and databases, and then edit the wp-config.php file. You can easily migrate WordPress files via the file manager or use an FTP client like FileZilla to download WordPress files and use the hosting control panel to transfer WordPress databases.

In this article, you’ll learn how to migrate WordPress to a new server manually without any possible hurdles. If you can set up your WordPress website, you can migrate it too without any help. Yes, it isn’t anything you shouldn’t be able to handle.

Follow this step by step guide to migrate WordPress to a new server without the help of a plugin. This guide will help beginners and experienced WordPress users move their websites with no downtime in between.

How to Clone WordPress to a New Server – Step by Step Guide

1. Choose your New Host

Before we move forward, it’s essential to know why WordPress website migration is necessary. There may be different scenarios for WordPress users that forced them to transfer their site(s). Maybe your site performance slows down due to massive traffic, or you want to switch to an affordable hosting plan or look for reliable support to resolve any issues. Whatever the reason might be, there is some risk involved in website migration, and if not handled properly might result in loss of data and sales.

Choosing the right hosting provider is itself a big decision before a user went into the website setup or migration process. Since you’re looking for better hardware, uptime, affordable plan, and better customer support, it means you’re not satisfied with your current web host. It’s necessary you purchase the new hosting plan before moving your site, as you’ll need login details from your new website to transfer your old site. Once you’re done with choosing a web host, it’s time to create a backup of your website files. 

2. Create a Backup of Your WordPress Files

Before migrating the WordPress website, the first step is to create a complete backup of every element of your website. That ought to be the part of your website security and includes the backup of WordPress database backup, themes and plugins, media uploads (images/videos), and WordPress core files.

So, how can you create a backup? You can create a manual backup of your WordPress files and its database; otherwise, use a third-party plugin to create a complete backup of your WordPress website. Manual backups require an (FTP) file transfer tool like FileZilla to access and download your website files.

The first step is to download all WordPress files under your website’s directory to your computer. You’ll upload these files to your new hosting account later on.

  1. Connect FileZilla(FTP) to your old hosting server.
  2. Now open the public_html folder and select all the files inside it.
  3. Right-click, then select Download.

 

Download old WordPress website files

In case if something went wrong, you can restore your website files using that backup. This step may take some time as it depends on the type of media uploads on your site; meanwhile, you can make a copy of your database.

3. Export the WordPress Database

After downloading WordPress files, it’s time to create a backup of your MySQL database that is connected to your WordPress website. It is a straightforward process that only requires a few steps to complete.

  1. To export the WordPress database, login to cPanel to access the phpMyAdmin application/page.
  2. Now select the database that is connected to your WordPress website on the left-hand sidebar and open the Export button on the navigation menu.
  3. Pick the Quick method and SQL as a format to export your entire database.
  4. Hit Go. Your database export will begin, and the file will be saved automatically to your local computer.

Export Old Website Database

4. Create the WordPress Database on Your New Web Hosting

Before we start migrating the old website to the new host, we need to create a new web host database.

To do this, login to your new hosting cPanel with user credentials. For our step by step guide, we will employ the MySQL Databases application. However, if your web host doesn’t have that application running, you should ask for support to share their method of creating new databases.

Follow the complete steps as mentioned below to create a database on your new host server.

  1. Open MySQL Database and create a new WordPress database for your website with an appropriate name.
    Create new database
  2. Create a new MySQL user and set a secure password.
    Create new databse user
  3. Now, add this user account to the new database and grant All Privileges.
    Add newly created user to new database

Save the database name, the new MySQL username and its password in a file. You will need them soon.

5. Upload WordPress Files to New Web Host

After importing the WordPress database, it’s time to upload the WordPress files to your new host that you’ve downloaded previously.

Use an FTP program like FileZilla to connect to your new hosting server. However, you’ll need a new set of credentials this time around. You’ll get them from your new web host. This time, locate the FTP Accounts button under Files.

FInd new FTP credientials

Inside, look for the fields that read FTP host and FTP username. Your password should be the same one as for your Hosting account. Use login credentials, open FileZilla, and enter them into the empty fields at the top of the screen.

  1. Connect FTP, i.e., FileZilla, to your new hosting account and navigate to the public_html folder in the Remote Site column.
  2. Find the files you want to upload from the Local Site column, right-click on those files, and then select upload.

Upload old WordPress files to new host

 

6. Edit the wp-config.php File with Your New Database Details

Connect to your website to access the wp-config.php file using the FTP client. This file is placed in the root folder of your WordPress website with other folders, i.e., /wp-content/.

The wp-config.php file is so crucial for a WordPress site as it controls the access between WordPress and website database, and a little mistake while configuring this file can make your site inaccessible.

Make a copy of the wp-config.php file and save it in another folder on the system. That step is necessary to make sure that if something goes wrong, we can quickly restore website data.

Next, specify the login details of your new MySQL database by editing the wp-config.php file in your new hosting account.

  1. Open the public_html folder again from FileZilla and search the wp-config.php file.
  2. Right-click and click on View/Edit.
    Access wp-config file
  3. Change the database name, username, password, and hostname values with your new database details:
  • DB_NAME – database name.
  • DB_USER – database username.
  • DB_PASSWORD– user password.
  • DB_HOST– database hostname (optional, as this value is usually localhost, but it may vary depending on your hosting platform).

Change database name, change user name and password

  1. Click on Save Button, a popup window will appear. Now click on Yes.
    Confirmation of File Changes

7. Import the mySQL Database

Once the upload has finished, don’t remove these files from your local computer as they are still required until the final steps have been completed.

After uploading WordPress files, we need to import the MySQL database:

  1. Open the control panel of your new web hosting account and navigate to MySQL Databases.
  2. Navigate to Databases -> phpMyAdmin and select the new database that you’ve already created in 4th
  3. Click on the Import tab at the top of the page.
  4. Select the Choose File button and import the downloaded MySQL database backup file you’ve saved previously on your local computer.
  5. Leave all the other settings, as they are, and click on Go.

Import the database

It may take some time to import the database as it depends on the size of your database. You’ll be notified when it has finished successfully.

8. Update WordPress URL’s if You Move Your Website to a New Domain (Optional)

Follow this step only if you are looking to move your old website to a different domain name. Before proceeding to update WordPress URLs, make sure that the new domain is functional and correctly pointed to your new hosting platform.

Follow the steps below to update domain URLs and replace old URLs with new URLs.

  1. Go to the phpMyAdmin application and select the wp_options table.
  2. Find the website URL and home under the column “option_name.”
  3. Double click the field under option_value and change the old domain URL with the new one.
    Update URLs in wp-options table
  4. Open your Dashboard, and then install the plugin “Better Search Replace” and activate it.
  5. Then navigate to tools and click on Search & Replace. Fill out the fields with your old and new domain, and check to select all tables.Search: //old-domain.com
    Replace: //new-domain.comSearch and Repalce old webiste URL
  6. Now click on “Do Search & Replace.”Depending on the size of your database the processing can take a while. When it’s done login again to your WordPress site and you are done.

Conclusion

In short, migrate WordPress to a new server, moving your website to a new host is a straightforward and quick process. In this article, we’ve shown you a step by step guide on how you can migrate an old website to a new web host without the use of any plugin. Just by using the free tools provided by your hosting provider.

We hope that this step by step complete guide can help you migrate your WordPress site manually.

Do you have any further questions about WordPress migration? You may ask us by hitting the comment section below.