Without question, WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, with one in six sites using the WP platform. As with any concept in business, things evolve over time, necessitating change. There are a number of reasons that you will need to transfer WordPress to new server, and there are a number of different ways that this can be accomplished. In the past, migrating a site to a new server was somewhat complex, and it carried a number of risks that could cause major setbacks and down time.
One popular method for migrating a WP site to a new server is the use of SSH, and while this process has proven to be a highly successful model, it is not without risks. The risks involved with using SSH as the modality for transferring a WP site can be exacerbated when the site has plugins that utilize serialized data. Serialized data can put you at risk of losing a significant portion of the site data during the migration. While this is rare, it is worth taking note of.
Fortunately, there are WP plugins that can be used to successfully migrate the WP sites to new servers and domains. Following, are three plugins that have proven to be highly effective in transferring sites.
The Duplicator plugin is a free WP plugin that allows users to successfully transfer their site through a simple three-step process. Immediately after installing the plugin, you will encounter a link that will allow you to manage the page and the process.
It will be important to check the compatibility between the server that the site will be transferred to and the plugin. Currently, the only server type that seems to cause compatibility issues is an Open Base Dir server. In theory, the Open Base Dir restriction should not be a relevant issue, it could simply mean that the server needed to be updated at the time it was tested.
The Duplicator plugin requires you to create what is known as packages in order to transfer the site. A package is basically a collection of all of the data on the site. Once the package has been created, you will click the “Create” button, which is located in the top right of the screen. After you click the “Create” button, the program will initiate the process of migrating to the site. You will have the option of viewing the log during the transfer process; however, there will not be much to view, because the process only takes a couple of seconds.
The program also has some advanced options that are available within the “Settings” Panel. These features allow you to send emails after the package is complete, exclude certain directories and prepopulate the installer fields.
2. WordPress Move
WordPress Move is another free plugin that is designed to facilitate the transfer of a WordPress site to a new server. After being installed, the WordPress Move plugin adds a Migration Assistant link, which can be located under the Tools, sub-menu. There are three primary options, which include:
- Completely migrate the site to a new server
- Change the domain without moving the files
- Restore lost data
It is important that you configure the plugin before you attempt to use the migrate feature. The configuration process entails entering certain information, including FTP details of the new site location. It will be important to determine what the relative path of the migration will be, which is about the most complicated element of the process.
It will also be necessary to have WP and the WordPress Move plugin already installed on the other end before you begin the migration process. When considering that the Duplicator plugin was able to perform the complete migration without having to install WP and WordPress Move on the other end of the transfer, this may be a little disappointing; however, this plugin still provides a simple process of moving your site, in a relatively short period of time. This can be accomplished without the risks associated with using SSH to move the site. The need to install both the WP and WordPress Move plugin on the other end does add an additional 20 to 30 minutes to the total migration time. Which is still good.
3. Backup Buddy
This is a premium plugin that has a starting price of $50.00. The good news is that a quick search on Google will produce a coupon that will offer an immediate 33 percent discount on the total price. Although this plugin is actually designed as a comprehensive backup mechanism, the process of backing up and restoring site data is extremely similar to migrating the data to another server, therefore this premium version of the plugin offers a “Magic Migrate” feature. This process is immensely simple. All that is needed to initiate the migration process is to create a restoration password, which can be done from the “Settings” page.
Due to the fact that this plugin’s primary objective is data security, you will have to back up the site’s data before you can begin. Simply select the “complete backup” option and then you will be able to begin. Use the restore/migrate section to initiate the process. You will want to select automated restore/migration. When you hover the mouse over the latest backup, an option to migrate the backup will appear, click that option to start the automated process.
It will be necessary to set up a precise destination for the data to be migrated to. This is done by entering the FTP details of the new locations. If you are unaware of the details, your server administrator will be able to provide all of that information.
While Backup Buddy has some pretty powerful features, its greatest strengths rests in its backup capacity, and while being highly efficient, it is difficult to recommend it over Duplicator, primarily based on the fact that it has a premium price tag. The fact that Duplicator has the capacity to facilitate the need to transfer WordPress to new server in under 10 minutes, makes it a favorite option of many users, but all of these methods will get the job done.