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How to Transfer WordPress to a New Server or To a New Domain

If you depend on a WordPress site for your SEO, you probably need to move the site to a new domain at some point. It might sound as easy as copy and pasting, but moving the WordPress site from an old site to a new one can be demanding.

If you have lots of information, posts and content, one wrong move could affect the integrity and the ranking of your site. Rectifying a site moving process gone wrong has its downside. You are likely to lose business if you experience an extended downtime. To avoid the mishaps when moving the site, you need to go through a detailed step by step guide on how to move your WordPress site to a new host.

Non-technically, moving a WordPress site to a new server or domain could lead to data and time losses. If you know how to migrate your site despite your lay understanding of the technical requisites, you will avoid huge costs and inefficiencies.

Transfer your WordPress site to a New Host

The Critical First Move

Transfer WordPress

The initial move you make when moving your site is the most critical. It’s important that you create a comprehensive backup of your current site. This is can be done by downloading your content on the hosting services. This is recommended since you need to have a copy of the WordPress site to move since you will, in the end, need the content into the new domain. Also, such backup acts as insurance should you make a mistake as you move the site. Since you are relying on your paltry technical know-how, the site back up gives you confidence.

Here are some of the crucial steps to observe when moving your WordPress website to a new host.

Back Up Your WordPress Database

When you embark on the migration process, you don’t want to make preventable mistakes. As such, it’s advisable to back up your entire WordPress database. This is your site’s core content including posts, podcasts, comments and the like. If you are stuck, you can resort to useful plugins that make such a process fast and error free. Apparently, manual transfer option is risky and unpredictable. You need to evaluate the best plugins; free or paid-for version to automate the process.

Export and Import Content

After backing up your current site, you need to export your posts, pages and relevant content from the old domain. Your WordPress export function found in the tools section will help you export. From where you need to go to the new host platform and on the tools section, you can choose the import function to move your content of the previous domain.

Migrate WordPress Content/Uploads Via Ftp

Transfer WordPress


The next step involves moving your WordPress uploads through their FTP protocol. The uploads folder contains filers including images, blogs and other uploads that you uploaded to the WordPress interface. If you cannot risk the manual FTP process, there are tools including the Windows File Explorer.

Once you download this file, you only need to copy it to the corresponding directory in the new host platform. If you have prompts requiring you to overwrite files, you need to comply. If you want to preserve some of the old files/uploads on the new site, you can skip the overwriting prompt.

Re-Install and Configure Themes

One crucial step you need to follow is to reinstall and reconstruct the site’s theme. Automation tools are perfect for such a task. However, if you are a bit tech-savvy, you can still follow the manual theme re-installation and reconfiguration. At this point, it’s important that you update your site’s critical components including fonts, codes and the design blueprints.

See more: 10 Website Design Trends To Check Out In 2018

Reinstall and Configure Plugins

Site plugins are not movable when you initiate the export and import function explained above. As a result, you need to verify that you have the crucial plugins. There is a paramount need to search, evaluate and reinstall plugins. Also, you need to reconfigure them, although the number of plugins will determine the time it will take. To make it smooth, keep the windows of the new and the old host running and crosscheck the settings concurrently.

Update Widgets

As the new site on the new domain takes shape, you will realize that sidebar or footer widgets won’t be present. It’s practically a manual process if you want to replace the links to previous images, files and domain pages. On the old domain’s site panel, you will find your widgets on the appearance function. You need to copy and paste the widgets to reintroduce and update them.

Search and Replace Your Domain Name

Transfer WordPress

By now you will have made major strides in your quest to move the WordPress site onto a new domain. It’s imperative that you prioritize the search and replace plugins to ensure that the old links lead to your new host instead of the old site. From here, you need to search and replace the old with the new.

At this stage, your new domain is almost ready for use. You need to test and retest whether your transition was successful. By testing your main pages, you will ascertain whether they are working on the new domain. You need to check your recent posts, sidebar or footer function to verify they are in good working order. It’s advisable that you do the checking yourself and correct anomalies wherever they occur.

Test and Test Again

Nobody wants their clients to find glaring site mistakes that can be corrected by in-house “beta testing”. It’s important to know how to troubleshoot the common problems that arise during a site migration. Whether they are issues of corrupted databases, file permission issues or database connections problems, knowing how to solve these will enable your new site to take off to a good start.

Final Words

When your new WordPress is ready on the new platform, it is probably looking like the old one. However, there are tweaks that need to be to be done. It’s important to update internal links on the new site to correspond with the new host. Your RSS feeds and 301 redirects are crucial to guide search engine crawlers to your site.

Picture of Paulina P.
Paulina P.
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