Moving Wordpress to a new server or Host
Wordpress is one of the most popular CMS systems out there at the moment, its flexibility and ease of use make it a good choice for many websites. With so many people running Wordpress, it's no wonder some people accidentally end up buying hosting that's either unreliable or slow. That's why we've created this guide, our step by step guide on moving Wordpress to a new server or host. All of the steps below have pictures and should be extremely easy to understand so even a website novice should be OK.
If you are moving WordPress 4+ we suggest following the websitemigrationguides.com guide "HOW TO MOVE WORDPRESS 4.X.+ TO A NEW HOST".
Remember to make sure you read each step twice before performing the action so you are clear on what to do.
Before starting, get a piece of paper and write the following down.
DB_NAME (Database name) =
DB_USER (Database user name) =
DB_PASSWORD (Database password) =
OLD FTP HOST =
OLD FTP USERNAME =
OLD FTP PASSWORD =
OLD FTP PORT =
NEW FTP HOST =
NEW FTP USERNAME =
NEW FTP PASSWORD =
NEW FTP PORT =
Fill these in as you go along and it will be much much easier!
Step 1 : Backup your websites files and database
OK this first step can sometimes be over before you know it! Some hosting companies (ourselves included) offer a 1 click backup facility. This allows you to backup all of your sites files and databases in a few clicks. If your current server does support this then we suggest using this feature and skipping to step 2 below. If not, don't panic - our guide below will show you how to download your Wordpress files via FTP plus export your database.
Step 1a : Backing up your files via FTP
In order for us to get a copy of your files you will need to connect via FTP. For this guide we will use FileZilla FTP Client as it's great and free! You can grab yourself a copy at http://filezilla-project.org.
OK lets get started. The first thing we need to do is collect the following information from your current host.
- Server FTP Host
- Server FTP User name
- Server FTP Password
- Server FTP Port number (usually 21)
MAKE NOTE: write these down on your piece of paper as old Servers FTP host, user name, password and port.
Once you have these, open up FileZilla (on windows PC click the windows icon in bottom left, click all programs, click FileZilla FTP Client, click FileZilla) and enter your host, user name, password and port number at the top of the page
Once connected you will need to navigate to where your files are stored. This is usually in a folder called htdocs or public_html. Double click this folder and you should see all of your Wordpress files (if you have installed Wordpress in a sub directory e.g. yoursite.co.uk/blog then you will need to navigate to the blog folder to see your files).
Once you are in the folder with your files you will need to select all of your files. You can either do this by clicking the top file in the list then holding shift and clicking the last file, or you can click any file once then press CTRL+A on the keyboard which will select all of the files.
Once you have selected all of your files, you need to copy them to a folder on your computer. In this guide we have made an empty folder on our desktop called 'your website'. To copy the files you left click (hold left click down) on any of the selected files and move the mouse over the folder on your PC, then let go of left click.
FileZilla will now download all of your Wordpress files for you! You should see lots of download and connection writing in the top box.
Once this writing has stopped all of your files should have downloaded.
TIP: you can tell if any files failed to download by clicking the failed transfers tab at the bottom of the screen. If there are any listed, then repeat the above steps.
Step 1b : Exporting your Wordpress database
Now we have the files of your Wordpress site we need to download a copy of the database. The database is where all your blog posts and vital information is stored.
Ask your current host for details on how to access your phpMyAdmin. This is a web interface that allows you to browse, edit and more importantly export your database.
Open up phpMyAdmin and click on your database on the left (this may already be selected/opened for you).
You should now see something that looks like the below picture. If not then you have selected the wrong database.
Click the export link at the top
On the page that loads, click the Custom radio button
Under the table(s) section, click select all. This will select all of the tables in the database. These may already be selected but click this to make sure.
Under the output section make sure 'Save output to a file' is ticked and 'zipped' is selected from the compression drop down.
Scroll down to the bottom and click the go button to start the download.
Depending on the size of your database this download may take a few seconds to start. Save this file to the same place that you downloaded your sites files to.
Step 2 : Installing Wordpress on your new server
That's it for the old hosting company, next we need to set things up on your new server. The below guide can be used for most hosts but if you choose us for your Wordpress hosting then you can follow it exactly.
TIP : Before you can follow the below you will need to order some hosting! You don't need to order a domain transfer until the site is all set up.
Step 2a : Log into your hosting account
For Squirrel Hosting customers, visit SquirrelHosting.co.uk and click Control panel in the top right.
Enter your login e-mail address and password then click login. Once logged in, click manage your hosting.
Next to your domain name, click 'load control panel'.
This will now load your eXtend control panel. This is where squirrel hosting users can access databases and much more.
Step 2b : Create a new database and import your Wordpress database into it.
Next we need to create a new database and insert our Wordpress database from the old hosting.
Squirrel Hosting customers click the MySQL Databases icon.
Under the create a MySQL database section, enter a user name and a password of your choosing. Please note your user name should be 9 characters or less. Then click the 'create' button.
Step 2c : Log into your new Wordpress database via phpMyAdmin
Next we will log into your new database and import the Wordpress database we downloaded earlier.
Open up phpMyAdmin and navigate to your new database.
Squirrel Hosting customers can do this via the MySQL Database section (the page you were on in the last section) then clicking the 'Now' button under the manage column.
MAKE NOTE: whilst you're in this section write down the database user name (DB_USER) and password (DB_PASSWORD) as you will need this later e.g. below the user name is 'web163-anything' and the password was 'anythingyoulike'.
Once in phpMyAdmin, click your new database on the left.
MAKE NOTE: this is the database name (DB_NAME). e.g. the above database name is 'web163-anything'.
You should see a page stating something like "No Tables found in this database". Click the import tab at the top.
Click the 'choose file' button and select your Wordpress database zip file we downloaded earlier in step 1.
Then click the 'Go' button further down.
You should now see a bright green strip with some writing stating 'Import has been successfully finished..." (see below pic).
Step 2d : Change of domain name
If you are changing your domain name e.g. from www.yourcompany.com to www.newcompany.com then you will need to follow these next steps. Otherwise you can skip to step 2e.
In the menu on the left you should see a table called 'wp_options'. Click this.
Next scroll down and click the 'show all' link at the bottom. This will stop you having to change pages to do the next few changes.
You should see a table and the first row should say your old domain name on it, click edit next to this.
On the next page, change the old domain name to your new one then click 'go'.
Next we need to change your home URL. Scroll down until you see the row that has 'home' followed by your old web address, then click the edit button.
Next change the web address to your new website address and click go.
Finally we may need to change the upload_path. On new versions of Wordpress this is no longer necessary but just in case, check to see if it's empty. If there is a value e.g. path/to/upload, edit it the same way we edited the values in the last few steps and make sure it's blank.
That's it for the database section, go get a cup of tea- you deserve it!
Step 3 : Update your wp-config.php file
Right now we have your database set up the next thing we need to do is edit our Wordpress wp-config.php file to have the correct information.
Go to the folder you downloaded all of your Wordpress files to (remember back in step 1a) and open your wp-config.php file.
If your computer doesn't know what program to open the file with, choose notepad or a basic text editor.
Once open we will need to edit the DB_NAME, DB_USER, and DB_PASSWORD to match our new database user name and password.
This is the database user name and password you wrote down at the beginning of step 2c, not your Wordpress admin user name and password. If you have been making the suggested notes you will have these on your piece of paper :)
Change these values to match what you have written down (make sure DB_HOST says localhost), then save and close it.
Step 4 : Upload your Wordpress files
Right, the final stage is to upload all your files to your new server. Open up FileZilla and in the top bar we will need to enter your new hosting FTP details.
For Squirrel Hosting customers you can find your FTP details on the right hand side of your eXtend control panel (see step 2a for how to log into your eXtend control panel). You will also need to unlock your FTP, again this can be done by the unlock FTP feature on the right.
For non Squirrel Hosting customers you will need to contact your new host for your connection details.
Once you have entered your details into FileZilla, click 'connect'.
You should now be able to see your main web folder where you will put all of your Wordpress files. This is usually called Public_html or htdocs or home (on Squirrel Hosting its public_html).
Next you will need to drag all of the files you downloaded in step one (including the edited wp-config.php) onto this folder. To do this select all the Wordpress files (CTRL+A) then left click (keep left click held down) and move the mouse over your web folder (Public_html etc). The folder should change to be highlighted, when it does let go of left click.
That's all the files and the database set up. The next step is to to either update your name servers (if you wish to keep your domain with your old company) or transfer the domain if you wish to move your domain to the new company.
Once you have transferred your domain (or updated the name servers) you should be able to log into your Wordpress site just like you did before using the same Wordpress user name and password you used to use.
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