Whether you are looking to move your website from server to server or maybe you sold it and are moving it to another person.
Either way, migrating your WordPress website doesn’t have to be difficult.
In the past, you would have to manually download all your files, database and then move them to the new server, but now there are a plethora of WordPress plugins that make migrating your WordPress website a breeze.
In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to migrate your WordPress website using the best migration plugins and even how to do it manually if you don’t like using plugins.
Migrate WordPress using All-In-One Plugin
The All-In-One migration plugin is one of the best plugins to use to migrate your WordPress websites from one server to another.
Firstly, you will need to install the plugin on the WordPress website that you want to migrate.
Install and activate the plugin and you will see a new tab on the left called ‘All-in-One WP Migration’. Click on the tab and you will be directed to the Export Site page.
With All-in-One Migration, you can export your website to a file, FTP, Google Drive, OneDrive, Amazon Cloud and a number of other cloud locations. If you have a larger site, it may be a good idea to export to one of these locations as it will be a very large file to download to your local computer. If your website is smaller, then you can simply export it to a file.
It will take a few minutes to package up the site and then when it’s complete, you will see a link to download the packaged migration file.
The file will end in .wpress so keep that in mind when you are importing it back into the new site.
Now that it’s downloaded, we need to set up our new site so it’s ready to import this file. In order to migrate your site, you will need to install a fresh WordPress installation on your new site and then install All-in-One Migration on the new website.
This time, you will choose Import and then find the file you downloaded and either select it or drag it to the import area. If you downloaded your file to another location, you can choose that location to import from.
It will start importing your site from the file you downloaded from the original website.
If your website is larger than 100 MB, you will need to purchase the premium version to migrate larger sites.
Migrate Manually with FTP
If you aren’t a fan of using plugins or maybe you don’t want to buy the premium version to migrate a large site, then you can do it manually.
In order to migrate your entire WordPress website, you will need to use FTP to migrate the files and migrate the database as well.
Create FTP Account
The first thing you will need to do is connect to your site via FTP.
In order to connect to your server via FTP, you will need to create an FTP account. Log into your cPanel and find the FTP Accounts link.
On the FTP Accounts page, create a new FTP account and make sure to write down or copy the credentials as you will need them in a bit.
It’s also important to note that you want to make sure the directory this login has access to is the base directory so you have access to all files.
Now that your FTP account is set up, you will need an FTP client to connect to your web server where all your files are located. There are plenty of great FTP clients out there, but I would recommend Filezilla as its free and works great.
Open up your FTP client and create a new connection with your FTP details that were just created.
When connecting to your server, you should see some folders and files. Look for the WWW or public_html folder. This is where all of your public-facing files are installed.
Open the public_html folder to reveal your WordPress files. You should see a wp-admin, wp-content, and wp-includes folders as well as the base WordPress files. Now you are going to simply copy all of the files to your local computer. I would suggest creating a new folder and dragging all the files to the left window pane which is your local computer.
This will take some time depending on how large your WordPress website is.
Once the files are completely downloaded to your local computer, connect to your new server, open the public_html folder and drag the files back over to your new server.
Migrate the Database
When the files are migrating head back to cPanel of your old host and find the phpMyAdmin link and open up phpMyadmin.
phpMyAdmin is where you can manage, update and export any of your databases on your server.
Find your WordPress website’s database on the left (If you only have one website on the server, it will be the only one) and click it to open the table.
With the table open, find the Export tab on the top of the phpMyAdmin table management navigation.
Click ‘Go’ to export your database in SQL format for easy import into your new servers phpMyAdmin. It will download your .sql file to your local computer for importing into your new site.
Now head to your new server’s cPanel and create a new database that we will use to import our old .sql file. Make sure you name the database the same name, with the same username and password so its able to connect on your new server.
Go to the phpMyAdmin of your new server, click on your new database and then go to the Import tab where you can simply import the .sql file that we just downloaded to your new server.
Your new site should now be live on your new server and look the exact same as it did on your old server.
Common Issues with Manual Migration
Database Connection Error
Most of the time, if you are getting a database connection error, it means that your settings in your wp-config.php file do not match the database name, username or password.
Make sure your wp-config.php file has the same credentials that you created for your database on your new server.
Website Design is Messed Up
If your website doesn’t load or it looks discombobulated, it’s likely that all of your files did not upload. Head back to your FTP client and re-download/re-upload all files from your old server.
Check out our article on common WordPress errors and how to fix them for more issues you may face.
While it’s very possible to manually migrate your WordPress website by moving the files and database over to your new server, it’s much easier and quicker to just use a plugin to easily migrate your WordPress website between servers.
Tyler Horvath is an SEO Expert with over 15 years of experience in search engine optimization, popular blog author and WordPress SEO expert.