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How to move a Joomla site to a new server / hosting company.
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Move joomla site to new server

Joomla Move servers

So you want to move your move a joomla 2.5 site to a new server? Confused with all the half finished or techno babble guides? Well don't worry, our 'Migrate your Joomla! Site to a new server guide' below will show you the way. We have listed literally every step with pictures so even a Joomla! newbie can move hosting companies.

If you are moving Joomla 3+ we suggest following the websitemigrationguides.com guide "HOW TO MOVE JOOMLA 3.X TO A NEW HOST".

Before doing any of the below steps, you will need some new hosting for your Joomla! site. If you haven't got some already, see our Joomla Hosting page.

Step 1 : Back up your Joomla! site

The first thing we need to do is backup your Joomla! site's database and files. This can often be done via your Hosting's control panel automatically and if you have this feature we suggest you use it and skip to step 2. If not, don't worry just follow the below steps and you'll have your Joomla! site all backed up in no time.

Step 1a : Backup your Joomla! Database

To backup your Joomla! database you will need to ask your hosting company for access to phpMyAdmin. This is an online admin area where you can view your databases and edit/export them. Once you have found phpMyAdmin, load it up and look for your Joomla! database then look for your Joomla! table. These will probably be called Joomla-XXXX or something similar. You should see them on the left hand side, click them to open.

Select Joomla Database

If you have the right database, you should see a list of tables with names like bak_jos_assets and bak_jos_associations. Click the 'Export' Tab.

Export Joomla Database

We're not going to export the database as a compressed Zip file to speed up download times. To do this click the custom button to reveal the hidden export options.


Make sure all the tables are highlighted (if not click 'select all') then from the compression drop down choose 'Zipped'.

MySQL Zipped Joomla

Scroll to the bottom and click go. It will ask you to save a file to your computer. Put this in a new folder called 'Jooma DB Backup'.

Step 1a : Backup your Joomla! files via FTP

Backing up your files via FTP is actually very simple when you use a program such as Filezilla. This is a free program which can be downloaded from here. In the below guide, we will use FileZilla and show you how to connect and backup your files.

The first thing we will need to know are your current servers FTP details (Host, user name, password and port number). This is usually provided to you in a welcome e-mail when you buy your hosting or can be found in your hosting control panel.

Open up FileZilla and enter your FTP Host, User name, Password and port in the boxes at the top then click 'Quick connect'.

Joomla! FTP connect

FileZilla should now connect to your server and when done should display some folders. These folders vary depending on which hosting company you are with. What we need to do now is navigate to the folder where your Joomla! site is installed. This folder is usually called htdocs or public_html. Double click this folder to navigate into it.


Once in your Joomla! directory (you should see files like index.php, configuration.php, hide_config_files.php etc if you're in the right directory). You will need to highlight all the files listed and copy them to a folder on your computer. In this Guide we copied them into a folder on our desktop called 'old site'. To do this, simply click on any file once to highlight it, then press the CTRL key on the keyboard and the letter A at the same time. This should highlight every file for you. Then it's simply a case of clicking on a file and whilst still keeping the mouse button pressed, moving the mouse over your folder (old site), then letting go of the mouse.

Download / Move Joomla Files

If you did this correctly, you should see a lot of green and black writing appear at the top and files should start appearing in the 'old site' folder on your desktop.

Transfer Joomla Files

Once FileZilla has finished downloading all the files, the text will stop scrolling and display something along the lines of 'File transfer successful, Status: Disconnected from server'. You can now close FileZilla.

Step 2a : Set up a new Joomla! database

We now need to set up a new database for Joomla! on the new server. The below guide explains how to do this on our servers but for other servers, you will need to look in your control panel for something like "MySQL" and "create new database". Once you have created the database you will need to log into it.

Squirrel Hosting customers can click the control panel in the top right at www.squirrelhosting.co.uk.

Control Panel

Enter your Squirrel Hosting user name and password then click login.


Click 'Manage your hosting'.

Manage your hosting

Click 'Load eXtend Control panel'.

Load control panel

In the pop up window, click the MySQL icon

Mysql Icon

Under the 'Create a MySQL Database' section enter a user name and password of your choice. Click the 'create' button.

Create Mysql Database

Next click the 'manage' button next to the database you have just created to load up phpMyAdmin.

Manage Mysql Database

Make a note of the User name and password as you will need these later.

Step 2b : Import your old Joomla! Database

Once in phpMyAdmin, click into your new database if you're not already in it..

New Joomla Database

Click the import tab at the top.

Import Mysql Database

Click the 'choose file' button and find the database backup of your Joomla! site (this is the Zip file we downloaded in step 1a), then click the go button.

Choose database

If everything went correctly, you should see a "Import has been successfully finished..." message.

Step 2c : Edit your Joomla! Configuration file.

In the folder you downloaded your Joomla! site to (in step 1b) you should see a file called configuration.php. This file contains details your Joomla! website needs to communicate with the database. Since we have made a new database, we will need to update the details in this file to contain the correct information.

Open up the file in a plain text editor such as notepad and scroll to line 15 where you should see something like the below;

public $host = 'localhost';
public $password = 'YOUR OLD DATABASE PASSWORD';
public $db = 'YOUR OLD DATABASE NAME';

You will now need to edit these to contain your new information:

  • public $host : This is usually localhost.
  • public $user : This is the new database user name you set up in step 2a.
  • public $password : This is the new database user name you set up in 2a.
  • public $db : This is the name of your new database (on Squirrel Hosting this is the same as your user name)

Further down the file you will see the following lines;

	public $log_path = '/home/sites/YOURDOMAIN/public_html/logs';
	public $tmp_path = '/home/sites/YOURDOMAIN/public_html/tmp';

These we will need to edit with our new paths later. We have made a file which you can download and use to find these paths later on in Step 5. Alternatively you can contact your current host who may be able to inform you of them.

Save the configuration file and close it for now.

Step 3 : Uploading your Joomla! sites files

The next step is to upload all your old Joomla! files to the new server. To do this we need to connect via FTP and drag the files from the 'old site' folder onto the new hosting public_html (or htdocs) folder.

Squirrel Hosting users can find their FTP details (and unlock the FTP) using the below guide. If you're using another company, you will need to ask them for your new FTP details.

Log into your squirrel hosting account at www.squirrelhosting.co.uk and click 'manage web hosting'. Then click, 'Load eXtend Control panel'. Once loaded, scroll down and on the right hand side you should see a box labelled 'unlock FTP'. Choose 1 Hour from the options and click the unlock button.

Unlock FTP

Next scroll down a bit further and you will see your FTP Host/server user name and password. Write these down.

FTp Details

Next, open up FileZilla and enter your new host's connection details (the ones from above) in the boxes at the top. For Squirrel Hosting you may leave the port blank.

ftp into drupal

Next, double click on public_html or the equivalent folder if using another hosting company.

drupal public html

Next we need to upload all the files we downloaded from your old host. Locate the folder where these files are stored (old host) and highlight all the files in the folder (CTRL+A). Finally left click on the files and drag them over onto the empty public_html folder window.

Upload Joomla Files

You will see lots of writing appear and scroll in the status window. Once this stops, your upload is complete

TIP : check at the bottom for any failed transfers, if you see any repeat the step above.

Step 5a : Update your domains name servers.

Your new server now has a working Joomla! site. Problem is your domain name will still be loading the old server. To get around this we need to update the domain name to point to the new hosting company. Contact the company you bought the domain name with and ask them to update the name servers to your new hosting company. Squirrel Hosting's name servers can be found here. Alternatively you could place an order for a domain transfer to the same company your hosting is with. This usually updates the name servers for you automatically.

Once the name servers have been updated (this can take up to 48 hours), you should be able see your website on your new server.

Step 5b : Locate your log_path and tmp_path

In step 2c we saw the following lines in our configuration.php file;

	public $log_path = '/home/sites/YOURDOMAIN/public_html/logs';
	public $tmp_path = '/home/sites/YOURDOMAIN/public_html/tmp';

To find these paths you can upload a small file we have made here. Unzip this file and upload it to your new website's root directory (public_html or htdocs). Then using your browser visit <your domain>/path.php

You should see a message saying what your full path is and what your log_path and tmp_path should be.

Step 6 : Edit your configuration.php file

This is the final step of your Joomla! Transfer. Open up the configuration.php file (either the one you have on your PC or whilst in FileZilla, right click on the file and click edit) and alter the log_path and tmp_path to your new settings. Then save the file and upload it. (FTP drag and drop the file via FileZilla)

Your Joomla! Site transfer is complete

That's it - you're all set! Has this guide helped you move your Joomla! site to a new server? Have you had any issues with the above guide or found something we've missed? If so let us know in the comments below.

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Has this guide helped you? Have an idea for a guide or need help? Let us know below.

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