Migrating a WordPress site manually can be a intricate process, especially if you’re new to the ecosystem. Managing a site includes routine tasks such as adding content, and customizing your site, while also performing backups. These tasks are very different in terms of the techniques performed to move a WordPress site.

What makes WordPress migration such a complicated task, is the fact that a number of things can go wrong during the process. (This is why it’s important to have a backup of the site before the migration begins). The site also needs to be constantly monitored through the process.

How to move your WordPress site

There are a few factors which could help determine what your migration experience is like:

  • Level of technical mastery
  • Amount of effort dedicated
  • Time required
  • Efficiency (or accuracy)

Based on these factors, you can choose to perform a WordPress migration in two ways:

  1. Migrate WordPress site manually
  2. Migrate using a WordPress plugin such as Migrate Guru.

Every process has its pros and cons, but the tradeoff depends on how important the above factors are, to you.

Migrate WordPress site manually

To manually migrate your WordPress site, you need to perform the following steps (explained in the WordPress codex):

1. Backup full site first

You can do this manually, or via a tool, like a WordPress backup plugin like BlogVault. WordPress sites consist of 2 essential parts: files, and a database. Both these parts are correspondingly fundamental and must be went down before you move your WordPress site. To backup the site, you need to copy of the files via FTP, and the database, imported via phpMyAdmin.

2. Backup the database

After your files are consciously placed on your local computer, you must export the WordPress database. You will need access to cPanels as well.

  • Log in to your cPanel
  • Navigate to Databases section
  • Open phpMyAdmin
  • Choose the Export tab
  • Select a method
  • Pick a format
  • Click Go button to save the database on your computer

3. Establish a new database on the new host.

To move your site to a new domain, you’ll need to create a new database on the hosting service you’re moving to. This also means creating a new MySQL user with a secure password.
Open cPanel on new host

  • Navigate to MySQL Database
  • Create a new database
  • Create a new MySQL user
  • Add new user account to the newly created database with all privileges selected
  • Copy database name, username, and password

Note: Once this has been done, keep the database name, new MySQL username and its password safe.

4. Choose a the wp-config.php file corresponding to the new database changes

You’ll need to change the database name, the database username, and the database user password.

  • Open the WordPress folder you backed up previously.
  • Keep a copy of wp-config.php file just in case you do something wrong
  • Open the wp-config.php file and find the following code:
     define('DB_NAME', 'your_database_name');
    
     /*The MySQL database username */
    
     define('DB_USER', 'your_user_name');
    
     /*The MySQL database password */
    
     define('DB_PASSWORD', 'your_password');
  • Revise the database name, username, and password to newly created ones
  • Save changes

5. Make another backup

Make sure that this backup doesn’t overwrite the previous backup. This backup should contain all the new changes made to the database. Follow the same steps as mentioned in Step 1

6. Import the Backup

After this, move the files and database to the new domain via FTP and phpMyAdmin, respectively. Follow the below steps:

  • Login to your FTP account
  • Find WordPress or public_html folder
  • Upload the entire WordPress folder from your computer

7. Link your site to the new domain

When you’ve got external links on your site, they might break when you move them to a new domain. This is why it’s important that you update the links to point to the new domain. You can do this either manually, or via a plugin like Better Search and Replace or Search and Replace.

8. Update (or repoint) your DNS

You’ll have to update your DNS settings so they point to the new server instead of the old one. You can get the details required from your domain registrar.

Merits and Demerits of a manual WordPress migration

Pros:

  • Good if you’re acquainted with WordPress
  • Free
  • Gives you control

Cons:

  • Takes time
  • Needs manual work
  • Can be intimidating for a first-timer
  • You need to be very careful at every step of the process

This is why alternative procedures exist.There are migration services provided by web hosts, and WordPress migration plugins.

Migrate WordPress site with Migrate Guru

Migration plugins then again, are tools that completely upgrade the manual migration process for you. There are various WordPress migration plugins accessible in the vault. While their techniques waver scarcely, they all work on the focal component of playing a backup framework, moving it to the new region, and typically offering a Find and Replace work with the target that URLs can be rethought.

For the sake of elucidation, we will take you through the way toward moving your WordPress website with Migrate Guru, a WordPress migration module that is exceptional for moving massive WordPress sites.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Needs minimal manual work

Cons

  • Takes less time

The Essentials required for using Migrate Guru

Migrating a site with Migrate Guru comes with a few simple prerequisites:

  1. A new hosting account with a domain that has WordPress installed and knowledge of the directory in which you installed WordPress (You would have selected this when you set up a domain on your new hosting account)
  2. Migrate Guru WordPress plugin installed on the site you want to move

You can do this by logging in to the site you want to move (the source site), navigating to ‘Plugins’ and clicking on ‘Add new’. Type in ‘Migrate Guru’ in the search bar, and click on ‘Install Now’.

Once installed, activate the plugin.

 

Using Migrate Guru

Step 1: Choose the host you want to migrate to, via Migrate Guru

  • If your destination host is on Migrate Guru’s list of hosts, choose one of them.

  • If you can’t see your host in the list, you can choose to move your site via FTP or cPanel, depending on which option you have the credentials for.
  • If you select FTP instead of a host, this is what you should see:

You’ll be asked for the following details:

  • Email address: The email address to which you’ll be receiving emails detailing the progress of your migration
  • Destination site URL: the URL of the domain you’re moving your site to
  • FTP type: Make sure you know which protocol your host uses – FTP, SFTP, or FTPS. If you enter the wrong protocol, Migrate Guru will prompt you to change it.
  • Host/Server Address: This should be on your hosting account’s cPanel.
  • FTP Username and Password

If you select cPanel instead of a host, these are the details you will be asked for:

  • Email address: The email address to which you’ll be receiving emails detailing the progress of your migration)
  • Destination site URL: The URL of the domain you’re moving your site to
  • cPanel Username and password

Email address: The email address to which you’ll be receiving emails detailing the progress of your migration)
Destination site URL: The URL of the domain you’re moving your site to
cPanel Username and password

Note: If your site is HTTP Authenticated, click on ‘Advanced options’ and enter the username and password for the source and destination site. They are needed ONLY if either the site being moved or the destination site is ‘https://’ instead of ‘http://’. If the URLs of either one begin with ‘https://’, they are HTTP authenticated. These credentials can be retrieved from the site’s server logs. Some website hosts offer apps in cPanel that make it easier to browse those logs.

Step 2: Fill up the form, click ‘Migrate’

Once you have all the details needed, fill up the Migrate Guru form, and click on the ‘Migrate’ button.

Doing so will take you to a real-time progress screen where you can see how much of the migration process is over, and how much is left.

Migrate Guru will send you an email notification confirming that the process of migration has begun. MIn the mean time, you will also be taken to a screen that portrays the real-time progress of your website migration. The link for this can also be found in the mail notification.

Once the migration process is completed, you will receive another email from Migrate Guru notifying about the successful migration, and the link to the migrated site.

Notes:

  • After your migration is over, it’s important that you repoint the DNS of your site to the location it’s been moved to. It takes about 4 hours for this to happen.
  • For most hosting accounts, you can edit your DNS settings from the cPanel, under a variant of ‘DNS settings’.
  • This link should help you with the details for Bluehost

And that’s it! In two steps you have completed Website Migration!

We can agree that WordPress migration can be a backbreaking especially if you’re new to the system or are unfamiliar with the processes. However, having a WordPress migration plugin like Migrate Guru remarkably saves time and effort required to move your site without any downtime.