Moving WordPress websites can be a tricky task. There are many Steps that you need to follow and make sure everything is working. In this post I will discuss details and options on “How to Migrate WordPress Website”.  I will discuss various options, tools, techniques and resources that will help you migrating your wordpress blog and websites.

It is essential to know what kind of hosting do you have ? Many times the hosting company does not have the required Software To support tools that are required to automatically backup or clone WordPress Websites. I recently noticed that “GreenGeeks” WordPress hosting does not support WP_Clone or WordPress Duplicator Plugins. Also they did not offer any script or built in mechanism to do this automatically. All I got from the chat was a link that pointed to the article “How to move sub directories” and all the steps mentioned were manual. I dont have anything against any hosting company and I am not selling any hosting plans but I highly recommend that you do your research before you sign up with a Hosting Company. I have found Godaddy and Host Gator to be great options for Hosting Small to Mid Size WordPress Websites. The software stack is supportive of standard plugins which can only help you.

Now moving on to “How to Migrate WordPress Website ?”

When it comes to WordPress, really there are 2 important things that drives the website. First there is the WordPress theme directory and secondly there is a MySQL Database. There can be a variation of scenarions that you might be facing and I will try to cover some of them in my post. I will mention useful plugins and techniques along with other posts that will help you decide How to Migrate WordPress Website in your scenario ?

How to Migrate WordPress Website – Directories and Sub-Directories

Many times web developers will use a sub-directory in their domain to do the development. This is mainly because the client’s main site cannot be down while the developer works on the new site. Lets say the current site is live at www.abc.com, the developer would simply create sub directory and install wordpress and theme there. Lets say the new site is accessible at www.abc.com/newabc

When the development site has to move to the url, the standard first step should be to back up the Old site. If the old site is a WordPress site then the theme and the database should be backed up. I would like to mention a plugin WP_Clone that can create a clone with a downloadable XML File for the old site. There are also a number of plugins that will completely backup the WordPress Website. I typically take a Clone , export all the pages in an XML file, Export all the posts, and take a backup of the wp_Content Directory from my WordPress Install.

A detailed discussion on WordPress Backups and FAQS are mentioned on the wordpress.org . I highly recommend this reading !

Once the backup is complete, you have a variety of options. The first option is to Clone the Development website using WP_Clone Plugin or WordPress Duplicator Plugin. Those are the free options that work. The paid and easier option is a premium wordpress plugin called Backup Buddy. Then the clone or backup can be restored on the main site. In Addition, prior to doing this you might want to check with your Hosting Company provider if they have any options on How to Migrate WordPress Website ? I know that GoDaddy WordPress Manager has a built in option to Move WordPress Installs.

Here is a short video on how to use WP_Clone:

I also found a great tutorial on WordPress Duplicator Plugin:

If you decide to go the manual route and not use the plugins, the first step will be to upload the content of “wp_content” directory from the old site. This will set up the themes, Plugins installed on the previous install and any customizations that you might have completed.

Many other Hosting Companies also offer similar options where the DNS A Record can simply be updated to point to a new directory. I have done this on Host Gator and Netfirms Hosting accounts. Once you do this, you will also need to find and replace all instances of the old domain with the new domain.

When It comes to find and replace strings inside of the database, there are plenty of options there are well. First you can use the WordPress Plugin “Search and Replace”. Look for the old Url and replace with the New URL.
Second Manual option that I prefer is logging on to “PHPMyAdmin”, exporting the current database as XML file and then use Notepad ++ to Search and Replace. I have to admit that I am Old School !! Also a popular option especially with the Hosting Companies is the “Database Search and Replace Script” which is a pretty nifty tool and does the job ! After replacing all occurences simply import the updated XML file back in your new install. Always remember to update your “permalink” settings once you migrate a website. Many times it is as simple as updating them to something else and then updating them again to set them up as they were.

All the above specified steps will still be valid if you wish to change Hosting companies and Migrate your WordPress Install. Also it is a good idea to check with the hosting provider upfront about what are the options to migrate wordpress website.

Changing the Address of a WordPress Website

Changing the Address of a WordPress Website seems like a simple task. A Detailed description is provided at http://codex.wordpress.org/Changing_The_Site_URL but let me tell you that it can be really tricky.

Moving WordPress Media Library

Moving WordPress Media Library involves two basic steps.Copying all the content of “WP_Uploads” directory from the old install to the new install is the first step. Then you can “Add” the Media content into your wordpress blog using the “Add From Server” WordPress Plugin

I hope that I provided helpful pointers and resources to help you decide How to Migrate WordPress Website. This was the aim of my post. If you need professional Help, I provide all WordPress Development Services in Atlanta, WordPress Coaching with Screen Sharing and other WordPress related Development Services.

You can Contact me and describe the service that you are looking for and we will do our best !

Best of Luck and Happy Blogging.