Moving to a new server with WordPress can have various reasons – such as a change of provider or insufficient server capacity. The WordPess migration can be done manually or with the help of a plugin. In this post, we explain the manual WordPress server move step-by-step and introduce you to Duplicator, a free migration plugin.
Of course, you can also use the instructions for your online shop or other content management systems. You then only have to consider that the configuration file has a different name, for example, and that other/additional entries in the database may have to be adjusted. You can find detailed instructions on how to install WordPress in our WordPress tutorial. You can also find more information about moving WordPress in our WordPress tutorial.
Manual WordPress migration
Step 1: Back up database and WordPress files
To ensure that you always migrate to the latest version, you should start by backing up your current database. Smaller websites can use phpmyAdmin for this. Most web hosts have this software integrated.
Since the phpMyAdmin server timeout takes effect after 60 seconds and this leads to problems with large amounts of data, larger sites should use the mySQLDumper to export their data.
To back up the WordPress files and for the move, you need an FTP client, e.g. FileZilla. You can download this for free.
Both the database status and the FTP data are saved locally on your PC. Saves them directly to a location that you can easily reconstruct – for example on the desktop or in your own moving folder.
Backup FTP data from WordPress
To do this, connect to the server on which your WordPress installation is located via FTP. You can find out how to set up FTP access at checkdomain in the video.
Mark all WordPress folders and files in your data so that they have a blue background. Now right-click on one of the files displayed and select “Download” and wait for the process to complete.
Export WordPress files via FTP
Export MySQL database…
… with phpMyAdmin
With checkdomain you reach phpmyAdmin by entering
in the address bar of your browser. In the phpMyAdmin overview, select your database in the left column. Then click on “Export” in the top menu bar.
You can keep the default export settings. By clicking on Okay you confirm that the SQL file should be saved on your PC.
… with mySQL Dumper
After the download, first upload the unzipped mySQLDumper folder to a new web hosting directory via FTP.
Calls the path where you uploaded the folder (e.g. http://EureDomain.de/msd/) in the browser. You will now see a MySQLDumper installation interface. In the first step, select the desired language and confirm by clicking on “Installation”.
Wearing Username and password of your MySQL database in the installation mask. Then click on “connect to MySQL”. If the connection to the database was successfully established, you confirm with “save and continue installation”. If you get an error message, check your access data and add the database name if necessary.
The installation is now complete and you will see the MySQLDumper main menu and you can start exporting the database. Select your database in the left column bottom pull-down menu and then click on “Backup”.
Now you can click on “Start new backup” in the right column. After the message that the backup was successful, select “Administration” in the left menu. In the overview of the backups click on the symbol in the “gz” columnto download the packed SQL file to your PC.
Then delete the MySQLDumper folder from your web hosting using the FTP program.
Step 2: Create FTP access and database
If you change the web host, you have to set up FTP access there. Important: You must set up a new database in any case – regardless of whether you change providers or not. Make a note of all the new access data so that you don’t get confused later.
Step 3: Customize the WordPress files
In this step, the database information is adjusted in the WordPress configuration file. The wp-config.php file is located in the root directory of the downloaded backup. Open this with your text editor.
Enter your new database name, user, password and, if applicable, the database host – if this differs from “localhost” – at the points marked in the image and then save the file. Important: Make sure you keep the quotation marks.
Adjusting the WordPress configuration file
Step 4: Importing the WordPress data
Connect to your new web server via FTP and upload the WordPress files and folders saved on your PC to the root directory there.
To do this, select all WordPress folders and files in the left FileZilla window so that they have a blue background. Now you make one right click Click on one of the files displayed and select “Upload”. Wait for the process to complete.
Step 5: Import the database
Now the SQL file has to be imported into your new database. Depending on which software you use, there are different import steps. Make sure that you have created a new database before you start the import.
Importing the database with phpMyAdmin
Log in to the new server via phpMyAdmin and select the database in the left column. In this step, click on “Import” in the top menu bar. Next, click “Browse” to select the database SQL file on your PC.
In the lower part leave the settings at the default values and just click on “Ok”. The SQL file will now be imported.
Importing the database with mySQLDumper
As described in step 1, first load mySQLDumper via FTP onto your new server and follow the installation steps already described.
In the main menu, select your database again in the pull-down menu at the bottom left and then click on “Administration”.
In the management interface, click on “Browse” in the lower area sql.gz file select from your PC. Then select “Upload file” so that the file is transferred back to the MySQLDumper. Now select “Recovery” in the main menu on the left. Your database is now listed in the recovery overview. To import the data, click on the database name and you will get to a new overview in which you can select the desired database must.
Step 6: Customize the MySQL database
If you want your WordPress installation to be accessible under a new domain in the future, you must adjust this directly in the SWL file.
You can change the entries in the SQL file via phpMyAdmin. Logged into phpMyAdmin, select your database on the left and open the “wp_options” table. In the table you have to adjust the entries for “siteurl” and “home”.
In the table you have to make the entries for your siteurl and home adjust.
WordPress was stored in a subfolder on your old server. But you want to be able to access the blog directly on your new server. Change the information accordingly from eg “www.EureDomain.de/blog/” to “www.EureDomain.de/”.
Step 7: Complete and check the WordPress migration
Sometimes it is necessary to adjust server paths and siteurls in the database. You can easily do this in text editors or you can use the Search & Replace plugin for WordPress.
Once you have completed all the steps, your site is now available on the new server and you can log into the WordPress backend as usual to edit your site.
Checklist for manual WordPress migration: Have you thought of everything?
- Export and backup MySQL database
- Export and backup FTP data from WordPress
- If used, remove MySQLDumper from the previous web server
- Create FTP access with the new provider
- Create a new MySQL database
- Note down new access data and important additional information (host name etc.).
- Adjusting the configuration file wp-config.php
- Upload WordPress data to new web server
- Import MySQL database on new server
- Possibly adjust SiteURL and Home in SQL file
- Customize URLs
Tutorial video: How to successfully migrate to WordPress
Migrate WordPress using a plugin
Many users would not dare to do a manual WordPress migration because they are not very familiar with the technology involved. As with almost everything, there are a number of free plugins that handle the server migration from WordPress. If you decide on a plugin, you should definitely create a backup of your WordPress files before starting the move. We introduce you to two of the best-known plugins for the WordPress move.
All-in-One – WordPress Migration Plugin
We recommend the free All-in-One WP Migration plugin for automatic WordPress migration.
The plugin also serves as an additional backup option beyond the actual relocation function. You can find a great video guide (English) on how to migrate your WordPress using All-in-One WP Migration here.
The popular and also free plugin Duplicator ensures a WordPress migration without interrupting accessibility.
Duplicator clones your entire WordPress installation including database, plugins and uploads and creates an archive from it. This archive can be downloaded and unpacked and installed via FTP on the new server.
You can find video instructions for the WordPress Duplicator here.
Conclusion: manual or automatic?
Both definitely have their advantages. If you are not that tech-savvy, plugins such as All-in-One WP Migration and WordPress Duplicator will help you with the move and take care of the difficult parts automatically.
However, if you dare and/or have the motivation to deal with the topic, we clearly recommend the manual WordPress move. In the event of an error, you can reconstruct exactly which steps you carried out last, thereby narrowing down and simplifying troubleshooting.
Tell us about your experiences in the comments. Which way did you use and did you encounter any problems?
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