Recently I have been moving WordPress blogs from my old server to a new one. I searched for the best practices on various blogs and tried a few tricks myself. Although the process is not that smooth but one can get the best results with some simple but useful steps. In this tutorial, I am going to tell you how to migrate a WordPress site to a new server.
If you are a newbie to WordPress, I would highly recommend this simple WordPress migration process. I have tried my best to simplify the steps as much as possible. I hope you find it useful.
1. Create a backup of wp-content folder:
The reason why I preferred this step above all is due the fact that when you change your DNS setting like MX records or Nameservers so that your domain points to the new server, you might loose access to this folder. In some cases your host deletes all the files instantly upon package expiry. Keeping a backup of this folder will solve your problem to greater extent in both cases.
Login to your FTP software. I prefer Filezilla. Go to public_html -> wp-content
Select the folders that you want to backup. Right click and then click Download.
2) Export your WordPress Posts, Pages and Comments:
Once done with the backup of wp-content folder, login to your WordPress dashboard and export your blog data including posts, pages, comments, user details etc.
If your theme supports backups, make sure to create one because you are going to need it after fresh installation.
3) Install a fresh copy of WordPress on new server:
Once your nameserver has propagated, you will be able to login to the cPanel of your new server. Create a fresh copy of WordPress manually or by using available tools in your cPanel. If there is no such tool already, you may install WordPress manually.
Once Worpress is installed on your server, login again to the FTP software using the new details. Go to public_html -> wp_content.
Now upload all the content that you had earlier downloaded from your old server in step 1.
4) Import Wordpress Posts, Pages and Comments:
The next step is to import the posts, pages and comments etc. In step 2, you had created a backup file using export tool in the WordPress dashboard. Using the very same too, import that file. It may take a while but most of the times it doesn’t disappoint.
If you are unable to access the posts by clicking the post name on the homepage, make sure the permalinks are set properly. Unfortunately, there is no way to backup these settings from WordPress dashboard. If you are lucky enough, your theme might have a few settings that can be restored using the backup that I described in part 2.
You’re done with migrating your WordPress website to a new server.
Please feel free to ask via comments if you face any problems while transferring your WordPress based website to a new server or hosting account.