Moving a WordPress site from one hosting company to another can be stressful. This post is an overview of the process, and a listing of tools that can help.
Some hosting companies offer free or fixed-price migrations. Among them are Siteground (free), Flywheel (free), Hostgator (free), and Synthesis (low flat-rate). Others refer you to partners to get the migration done.
WPEngine is currently having a sale offering FREE WordPress migrations + 20% off to new customers who sign up for an annual or monthly Personal, Professional, or Business plan through 7/31/15. And don’t forget, annual plans also get two months free!
Offer: Free WP Engine Automated Migration plugin to new customers who sign up for an annual Personal, Professional, or Business plan through 6/30/15. And don’t forget, annual plans get two months free!
Validity: Offer valid for new customers only; does not apply to upgrades or existing customers. Customer must purchase an annual Personal, Professional, or Business plan. Cannot be combined with other offers.
If you are doing it yourself, or hiring talent, it will help to understand the process. Your site consists of three parts:
1) Your WordPress MySQL database
2) Your files, which include WordPress PHP files, theme files, plugin files, images and other media files.
3) Configuration/server settings including DNS, and settings specific to your host, such as those made in your CPanel, including email settings and mailboxes. This is kind of a “catch all” category, but I included just so you know that these settings are important and need to be considered.
A complete WordPress backup should contain both #1 and #2, but does not usually contain any of the server settings.
IMPORTANT TIP: A WordPress export file is NOT a complete backup, and is not a good way to migrate a site.
Here are a few plugin tools that can assist in site migration.
IMPORTANT TIP: NONE of the following tools will move your server/configuration settings such as DNS and CPanel settings.
2) All-in-One WP Migration is a free plugin with paid extensions.
IMPORTANT TIP: As long as your old hosting account is active for 72-hours after you change your DNS to your new server, you should not experience any down time while moving from one host to another.