How do you move a WordPress site

WordPress Migration: Instructions for the server move

A move can be made not only from Hamburg to Berlin, but also virtually from server A to server B. The reasons for such a server move can be a change of provider, the creation of a backup or a round of testing. If you want to move your WordPress blog, you have the option of doing this manually or with the help of a migration tool. We give you step-by-step instructions for the WordPress server move and also introduce the best free migration plugins.

Moving manually with WordPress

A reasonably experienced WordPress user can move to a new server and a new domain easily do it yourself. In just a few steps, all themes, plugins, settings and of course all content including comments are completely migrated. The only requirement for the move is FTP access to the existing site, phpMyAdmin access to the database and a web hosting package from an appropriate provider. Within roughly an hour, the old data is saved and exported, new accesses and a new database are created, and the existing data is adapted and imported.

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Step 1: Back up the database and WordPress files

Before each move, the current status of the database should first be backed up. It is not enough to just export the content, because all other important settings and plugins would still be lost. The software is ideal for blogs and smaller pages of up to 2 MB phpMyAdmin which is integrated in many hosters. For larger pages you should use an external program, for example mySQLDumper, The backup is saved locally. Within phpMyAdmin, first select the correct database - if you run several websites on the server. A click on "Export" brings you to the selection "Fast"Or"customized". The latter option allows you to influence the export. However, this is only recommended if you are already familiar with MySQL. The reason for the backup: You want to move manually with WordPress. Therefore, choose SQL as the format again. The other formats only make sense if you are pursuing other goals with your export. Now confirm your settings and save the file on your hard drive.

With the help of an FTP client such as FileZilla, all other WordPress files are then saved locally: Select the correct website within your folder structure and copy the data to your hard drive. Now you have all the files together and can move with WordPress.

Step 2: Create a new account and the database

In the next step you have to create a database with the new web host. As an IONOS customer, you can open the MySQL database area in the Control Center and create a new database there. You also need FTP access for your new server, which you can generally create via the login area of ​​your hosting provider. When creating the FTP access, make a note of the new username and password for later steps. You should proceed in the same way when setting up the database and note down the database name, host name, database user name and password.

Step 3: customize and upload WordPress files

The next step is to align the existing data. To do this, open the file "wp-config.php " with a conventional text editor. The file is in the Root-Directory of the backup created. Now you have to enter the entries "DB_NAME "," DB_USER "," DB_PASSWORD "andDB_HOST " customize and save. You can also find this information in the settings of your host. The blog is now ready for the WordPress server move. With the help of FileZilla or a similar program, a copy of all WordPress files and folders is then uploaded to the root directory of the new server.

Step 4: change the domain

If the domain of the page or blog changes as a result of the move, this can be noted directly in the SQL file, before uploading them. If you search for the keywords "siteurl" and "home " you can replace the old domain with the new address there.

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Step 5: import the database

In order to complete the WordPress migration, the database now has to be imported. To do this, you call the program in the administration area of ​​the new provider phpMyAdmin on or uses for larger projects mySQLDumper. There you can re-import the previously exported SQL file. For phpMyAdmin: It is important that the correct database is clicked in the left sidebar, otherwise the database is not selected and the import will fail. Now you can go to the tab Import change, select the database on your hard drive and start the upload. If you did not make any special settings when exporting, you can keep the default settings when importing.

Step 6: Complete and check WordPress migration

The website should now be running on the new server. Of course, some errors can still occur. We introduce the three most common of them and present the appropriate problem solution:

  • .htaccess error: In the .htaccess- File links can be stored manually. After the move, there are often still some such links that refer to the old domain and so on Error messages cause. You can make changes quickly and easily in the .htaccess- Make file.
  • Umlauts are not displayed correctly: If umlauts are not displayed correctly, this is usually due to the wrong charset (language code). This must be exchanged or adapted. It often helps to have various options (latin, UTF8 etc.) to experiment until the display is correct. The appropriate charset for tables can also be pulled from a WordPress installation. There are also various plugins whose developers have taken on the umlaut problem.
  • Mod_Rewrite and Internal Error 500: The new server can not.htaccess-Read files, that's because he doesn't have a mod_rewriteModule. The result is the error message Internal Error 500 when calling the article. This can be done in the dashboard of the CMS under "Settings / permalinks“Must be deactivated. If there are no error messages, the user can mod_rewrite activate and the site will run without problems even after the WordPress server move.

The WordPress migration with plugins

Many instructions on the net give the impression that migrating WordPress is extremely easy and quick to do. But for users who are not so tech-savvy, manual migration is quite complex and not easy to accomplish. You quickly skip an important step and the server move fails. Even for advanced users and professionals, the step-by-step approach is not always practical - for example, if you want to carry out variable tests as quickly as possible. However, since WordPress is open source software, there are now many free plugins that make WordPress migration easier. The programs also cover the essential security steps - but you should still create a backup before moving the blog.

The 5 Best Free WordPress Migration Tools:

WordPress Move

The WordPress Migration Plugin WordPress Move impresses above all with its simple and intuitive operation. The migration assistant enables a complete relocation of the site, the change of the domain and the transfer of databases. In addition, WordPress Move serves as a backup tool.

After the plugin has been installed and activated, see the dashboard under Tools the migration assistant. If you decide to move to WordPress servers (Migrate), you must first set up a completely new WordPress installation on your new host and install the plugin there as well. Now enter the FTP details of the new server. As soon as you have created your backup, you can switch to the migration extension in the new installation and use Restore upload the old content and settings.

All-in-one WP migration

As the name suggests, the All-in-One WP Migration tool is a complete solution for WordPress migration. It exports all data - so you can move with all files and the WordPress database: in one step. Another advantage of the extension: the upload is divided into small packages. In this way, the plugin bypasses possible size restrictions of the web server.

You export everything into a single file. If you opt for the premium version, you also have the option of uploading everything directly to an FTP server or various cloud solutions. You also install WordPress and the plugin on your new server and can then upload the old data using drag and drop.

WordPress Clone by WordPress Academy

The Wordpress Clone plugin is probably the easiest and fastest solution if you want to move with WordPress. The plugin can also help to switch pages to a local server environment and thus create copies for testing different approaches.

WP Clone also creates a new menu entry. The move is very easy. Click on "Create backup“Creates a link. The backup is located at this address. On the new server (also there you first install WordPress and the plugin installed) the URL can then simply be inserted at the appropriate place.

WordPress Duplicator

The WordPress Duplicator enables the duplication of a blog and then the transfer of the page from Server A to Server B. This plugin is definitely not a solution for WordPress laypeople, but a tool specially designed for developers, which is correspondingly demanding in terms of usability.

Under the menu item "Duplicator " you can now make some settings before the tool creates a backup. In addition, each archive generated receives one Installer. This makes the move easier: Both files can be downloaded and then uploaded to the new server. Then the file installer.php is called on the new server (e.g. and the migration can begin.

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The UpdraftPlus plug-in enables you to save your backup on various cloud servers: After you have activated the extension, you can find the plug-in under the menu item "Settings“In the dashboard of your WordPress installation. First set the storage location of the backup in UpdraftPlus: This can be done, for example, with Dropbox, Amazon S3, Google Drive or even by email. (The latter is only recommended if you are not using a freemail provider that severely restricts the size of the files received.) When you have made all the settings, the backup can be set up at the push of a button. To install it on a new server, switch back to the plugin view in the newly installed WordPress and select the appropriate files to restore.

It can be made easier if you switch to the paid version of the plugin. A dedicated migration function is then also available to the user. Premium users also have the option of encrypting their backups, which is not a bad idea, especially with backups on cloud servers.

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