Migrating a WordPress Website to a New Domain/Hosting

Migrating a WordPress website to a new domain or hosting can be a complex process, but with careful planning and execution, it can be a seamless transition. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps, from the initial preparations to the final checks, ensuring that your website moves without a hitch.

  1. Preliminary Preparations Before diving into the migration process, it’s crucial to prepare your website. This step involves cleaning up your site, removing unnecessary elements that may slow down the file copying process. Here’s what you need to do:
    • Remove inactive themes: In your “wp-content/themes” folder, delete all inactive themes, keeping only the one you’re currently using. You can do this through your admin panel or using a file manager.
    • Manage plugins: Clean up your plugins by deactivating any unused ones. You can re-install or activate them on the new domain.
    • Check file modifications: Examine any changes you made to files, such as the .htaccess file. Make sure you address these modifications to prevent issues with image display on the new domain.
    • Media files: Consider managing media files, removing duplicates and unnecessary images to reduce the data transferred during migration.
  2. Transferring Files The next step is to move all your website files to the new domain’s server. While there isn’t a direct server-to-server file transfer method, you can perform this operation in two phases:

    a. Download files: Use a file manager, like Total Commander, to connect to your current server via FTP. Create a backup of your website files by copying them to a folder on your computer. Ensure a stable internet connection to avoid data transfer interruptions.

    b. Upload files: After securing your website files, upload them to the new domain’s server. This part is relatively straightforward and should be problem-free.

For a more efficient file transfer process, consider using a plugin like BackUp WordPress to archive your site files and database. With this plugin, you can minimize the migration process by creating an archive, moving it to the new server, unpacking it, making necessary database file changes, and importing it.

  1. Migrating the Database Now, let’s focus on transferring the old domain’s MySQL database to the new one. However, before you proceed, you’ll need to create a new database. Here’s how you can do it:
    • Access your hosting control panel and navigate to the “MySQL Management” section.
    • Select your old domain’s database, then click on the “Export” tab to create a database dump in .sql format. Save this file to your computer.
    • Edit the database file: Open the .sql file with a text editor like Notepad++. Change the old domain name to the new one by performing a global search and replace, ensuring that all occurrences are updated.
    • Import the updated database: Upload the modified .sql file to the new database on your hosting provider, using the “Import” function.
    • Update wp-config: In the wp-config file, specify the new database name, username, and password for the updated database.
  2. Final Touches After the migration process, there are a few remaining tasks to ensure your website works correctly on the new domain:
    • Robots.txt file: Update the robots.txt file by replacing the old domain with the new one in both the “host” and “sitemap” sections.
    • .htaccess file: Check and modify your .htaccess file if necessary.
    • Visitor tracking codes: Replace tracking codes for website analytics and SEO tools with the new domain information.
    • Webmaster tools: Add the new website to webmaster tools for search engines like Google and Yandex, and verify your ownership. Make sure to add a new sitemap.xml file if applicable.
    • Test the new site: Access the admin panel on the new domain, log in using your old credentials, and check the functionality of your admin panel and website.

Migrating a WordPress website to a new domain or hosting requires careful planning, execution, and attention to detail. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure a smooth transition and have your website up and running on the new domain with minimal disruptions. Remember that thorough preparation and double-checking are the keys to success in this process. Good luck with your website migration!