How do I move my WordPress site to another host? The chances are that at some point you will change your hosting company. I will show you how to transfer your WordPress site web hosting from your old company to your new one when using WordPress.org. When you change hosting companies you need to transfer files and databases. You also need to change your nameservers. With one plugin you backup your old site and save that backup to an online drive. On your new site, you restore your site from the saved backup. Once everything is uploded, you change your nameservers.
If you have never changed companies before it can look very complicated. There are many paid services that you can use to migrate your website if you are not comfortable doing this way.
Before you start anything, please read through the whole post. If you are unsure about something then I suggest you seek a professional to complete the task for you.
Are you ready? Let’s get started.
- Before you do anything, check this!
- Don’t wait until your hosting has expired!
- Step one-Use Updraftplus to backup your website.
- Step two-Install WordPress on your new hosting account.
- Step three-Install the Updraftplus plugin.
- Step four-Restore your site.
- Step five-Change your DNS nameservers.
- How do you check if your DNS nameservers have changed?
Before you do anything, check this!
There are some hosting companies that will transfer your website from your old hosting company to your new one, free of charge.
When you decide on your new hosting company, ask them if they have a free transfer service. If they do, then you don’t have to do anything. You can get them to do it for you.
The hosting companies that don’t do it for free will obviously have a fee. Check how much they charge.
Don’t wait until your hosting has expired
Don’t forget to note when your hosting account expires. If you let it expire before you look for another hosting company. Your website will not be accessible. Not good!
If you are thinking about renewing with your old hosting company. Be sure to check the renewal price.
In my experience, the renewal price is a lot higher than the signup rate. Hosting companies give huge discounts to new customers but never to current customers.
You want to find your new hosting company before your old one expires. This gives you time to complete the transfer. Time to check that your transfer is successful.
If everything is fine, then you change over to your new hosting without your website being down. This is good.
Do you want to do the transfer yourself? If you do, here is a step by step guide.
Step one – Use Updraftplus to backup your website
Updraftplus is a WordPress plugin for backups. If you have never backed up your site before. I suggest you start today.
Having a backup of your website is so important. Should anything happen to your site and you have no backup. You run the risk of losing all your work.
If you are new to WordPress and are not sure how to install or configure the Updraftplus plugin to your WordPress admin.
I recommend that you read my post, ‘Easy step by step guide on how to backup your WordPress site‘, before you continue reading this post.
It is the backup that you are going to use to transfer your data to the new hosting company.
If you run a backup and then continue to work on your site. You will need to run another backup before you do the transfer.
You want the backup to have the latest data for your site.
Step two – Install WordPress on your new hosting account
If you have completed step one, then you have completed a full backup of your site and it has been saved to an external drive. For example, Google drive or Dropbox.
Now we log into our Cpanel on our new hosting account.
The login details for your new Cpanel will be sent with your welcome email from your new hosting company.
You login page for your Cpanel will look like this.
Once you login you will come to your dashboard. In your dashboard, you need to scroll down to the ‘Software’ section.
To install WordPress from my Cpanel, I have to go into ‘Softaculous Apps Installer’. Your Cpanel could be different.
I have had Cpanels where I had a link to install WordPress straight from the ‘Software’ section.
When I click on ‘Softaculous Apps Installer’, I get this.
From here I can install WordPress. Installation is very quick.
Once installation is complete, you will receive an email with your login details.
Step three – Install the Updraftplus plugin
Now you have access to your new WordPress admin. The first thing to do is install and configure the Updraftplus plugin.
If you need a walkthrough of how to install and configure Updraftplus, please read through my post, ‘How to backup your WordPress site‘.
Once you have configured UpdraftPlus. You will have access to your backups.
I have three websites and they are all saved in the same Dropbox account. Therefore, it is important that you choose the correct backup of the site you want to import.
The existing backup list above only gives you the date and time. To find out which backup belongs to which site, I need to login into my Dropbox account.
Now I can see the names of the websites. With this information, I find the site that I want to use and note the time and date.
For example, Newblogr was backed up on the 9th April 2019 @20:58. This time and date will match one of the backups in our list on WordPress.
From my list of existing backups, I know that the top one is for Newblogr.com because it matches the date and time.
Step four – Restore your site
What I love about UpDraftplus is that it backups everything. Your database, plugins, themes, uploads, and all your other files.
There is no need to start over again or import new databases. With one click you are done.
To move all my old site data to this new site all I need to do is click on the blue ‘Restore’ link of the correct website.
You will be asked what you want to restore. You can restore everything or you can be selective.
After you confirm your selection. Updraftplus will start uploading the files. You will see the current progress on the screen. If all is well, you will get a ‘Restoration successful’ message.
If there is going to be a problem, then this is where it will be. If your restoration is not successful, you will need to find an alternative method.
If you don’t encounter any problems, you will have two sites exactly the same. Your old site and your new one.
Because you did not let your old hosting account expire, you have time to check that the transfer was successful.
Have a look at your posts, plugins, images, themes, etc.. Are they all there?
The internet is using your old hosting company to get the files needed to display your website.
If everything is fine. It is time to tell the internet that your files are now saved with your new hosting company.
Step five – Change your DNS nameservers.
Where ever you bought your domain from, that is where you need to go to change your DNS nameservers.
I always buy my domains from ‘Namecheap.com‘. So I will show you my domain dashboard from Namecheap.
My website ‘Newblogr’ is listed. To change the DNS nameservers, I first need to click on ‘Manage’.
You can see half way down this page that I have a section labeled ‘NAMESERVERS’. This where I can edit my DNS nameservers.
To find your new nameservers, you need to check the email sent to you by your new hosting company. It will probably be called something like “New Account Information’.
In that email they will tell you the name of their nameservers.
If you have lost the email. Then you can contact the support of your new hosting company.
Once you have your new nameservers. You just update them in your domain dashboard and click save.
When you change your nameservers it takes anything up to 48 hours for the internet world to know your new ones.
In my experience the change is much quicker than that.
Once the internet world knows where to find your new hosting account files, you can stop worrying about your old hosting account.
Once it expires, your website will not be affected because you have all your files on your new hosting account. No downtime.
How do you check if your DNS nameservers have changed?
When I change my nameservers I go to ‘www.whatsmydns.net’ to check the progress of my change.
The homepage looks like this.
To check the nameservers of any website you put the URL in search box on the top left and change the drop down to the right of that to be NS.
For example, I want to know what nameservers Facebook.com has. So I would do this.
After I type Facebook.com and change the drop down to NS. I click search.
Here are Facebook.com’s nameservers.
When you have successfully completed your transfer and have changed your nameservers. You come to this website and put in your own website address, select NS from the drop down and click on ‘Search’.
The different countries on the list will slowly change over to the new nameservers of your new hosting company.
I have changed hosting companies on a number of occasions. I have tried a few methods of changing hosting companies and have found it to be a complicated process.
On the last two occasions I have used Updraftplus restore backup feature and found that it works well.
There are many YouTube videos and blog posts out there that give very good advice and tutorials on moving hosting companies.
Review a few methods and decide on what works for you.
I would also check with your new hosting company to see if they offer a free transfer service. There are so many hosting companies and they all want your business.
Don’t allow yourself to be tied to one hosting company because you understand changing is difficult and expensive. It isn’t. You just need to do a bit of research.
I would like to thank Host Sorter for their kind permission to use one of their images as my featured image in this blog post.
How do you transfer you files and databases when you change hosting companies?
How many times have you changed hosting companies?
Do you pay a company to do the transfer for you or do you do it yourself?
I look forward to reading your comments.