How to Migrate a WordPress Site to a Different Domain and Hosting

Nowadays, move WordPress site is often automated by hosting providers and numerous free and non-free plugins. These automated systems just migrate assets, they are database and image migration processes. SEO migration tasks such as URL mapping and redirect setup are not done by hosting providers and these automated tools. If you rely on these systems it is very likely that after the migration you will lose all traffic.

Migrating a WordPress website or blog to another domain is easier than you think, just follow this guide and you’ll be done in a few minutes.

For small and medium-sized websites it is not necessary to ask for help from an SEO agency, which is highly recommended when it comes to migrating portals with thousands or millions of pages that generate significant volumes of traffic.

Of course, WordPress migration of a website that does not generate profit is one thing, migrating a website that supports families or perhaps an entire company is quite another matter.

A migration approached the wrong way could cause loss of ranking and indexing in search engines, leading to significant drops in organic views and therefore fewer conversions.

You may have to migrate to a new hosting while keeping the same domain, or change both, domain and hosting to a WordPress site. Now I will explain how to transfer a WordPress site from one domain to another, that is, we will see the procedure for making an SEO-safe domain change.

How to migrate WordPress from one domain to another

1. Make a local copy of the site via FTP

Using any FTP client download a total copy of the website to your PC, backup the folder/www / or the root, it depends on the type of hosting used.

In practice you have to save the site folder locally, the one that contains the system folders “wp-admin”, “wp-content”, “wp-includes” and all files such as images and attachments uploaded to the site.

2. Download the MySQL database backup

From the phpMyAdmin control panel, or with any database management plugin (WP-DBManager for example), download the MySQL database backup.

As an alternative to phpMyAdmin or plugin for WordPress, there is also client software that you run on your PC or Mac that allows you to connect to the SQL server to modify, upload or download the database. 

3. Set up the new hosting

Register the new domain, activate hosting (Linux, Ubuntu), PHP (7.2 or more recent versions possibly), and the MySQL database. Save all login data:

  • FTP user and password
  • MySQL user
  • MySQL database name
  • MySQL password
  • MySQL database host

The most famous hosting services have the predisposition for the most common CMS, buy the most suitable package for the traffic you expect from the website.

At this point, the platform should be ready for the WordPress transfer to the new domain.

4. Edit the wp-config.php file

Now you need to change the settings you used for the old site, in particular, you need to update the location and access information of the new database.

Open with a text editor the wp-config.php file that you find inside the main folder of the website you just downloaded via FTP.

5. Edit the MySQL database *

This step is the most delicate and must be done very carefully, you can follow alternative routes.

If you need to migrate from one hosting to another without changing the domain, this replacement will not be necessary. Upload the site via FTP and the MySQL database to the new server, and then change the DNS pointing data.

6. Upload the site via FTP

To transfer WordPress it is not necessary to install the CMS on the new hosting. Connect via FTP to the new server, locate the root and upload to the remote folder all the site downloaded previously on your PC (local folder).

7. Import the WordPress database to the new hosting platform

Log in to the phpMyAdmin control panel of the new SQL server (login data is usually sent by email after purchasing the service). In the left column of phpMyAdmin the active databases on the server are listed, click on the one you want to use to select it. The database should be empty, if you use an old DB select all the tables and delete them
8. Open your browser and check that the new site is working properly 🙂

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