So, you’ve finally done it. You’ve set up your WordPress site and now you’re committed to posting content and uploading new images daily. Slowly but surely, you watch your daily page hits increase and your RSS subscriptions grow. Everything is going smoothly.
Suddenly, it happens. You’ve got so much traffic that your site is freezing. Perhaps you need to upload more products into your online store or find a web host with better uptime and lower server costs. Whatever the reason, it’s time to transfer WordPress to a new host. Not sure where to begin? Check out the following 10 tips to learn how to transfer your website like a pro.
1. Back It Up!
Before you do anything to your WordPress website, you need to back it up to local storage. This means that you need to download all of the content from your website and save it. For extra safety, save copies of your content on an external hard drive. Remember, if you don’t back up your data, you’re only one malfunction away from losing all of your work.
There’s a reason that this is the first tip on this list. It’s the most important because you need to back up your data before making any changes to your site, no matter what. Not sure how to run a backup? There are many ways to accomplish this and they all work great. You can backup directly from your WordPress dashboard or cPanel, use an FTP program or use a third-party plugin.
2. Find the Right Host
Before you start a transfer, you need to identify why exactly you need to move your WordPress website. Why? Because you need to find a new host that can solve all of the problems your old host was sending your way.
Do you have interrupted uptime or regular server crashes? Are you paying more than you can afford for less than you need? Consider any faults in your current service and look for a hosting provider that can guarantee improvements.
3. Focus on Your Files
Once your files are backed up and you’ve got a hosting solution in the works, you need to start transferring your files. Make it easy on yourself and create a new folder on your desktop to organize all of your WordPress files. You don’t want to find yourself digging through your downloads when you’re transferring your site. Keep everything labeled and organized and you’ll make the process much easier.
4. Transfer Intelligently
There are many way to move your WordPress files and database from your old site to your new home. Some hosting providers offer a one-step transfer service. In other cases, you may have to move the files yourself via FTP. Contact your new host’s customer service to find out if they can provide any help during the transfer. Some sites guarantee a flawless transfer so make sure to ask about this topic. Transferring your website is possible to do on your own but a little help can go a long way.
5. Launch or Re-Launch?
Are you moving your site “as is” or are you going for a brand new concept? That decision can play a big role in how you transfer your site. If you’re going to use the same content but give your website a re-launch, you might need a new domain name, a new design and new images. Make a list of all the changes you’re considering before the transfer.
When the transfer is completed, check with your new web host to see if they offer support for site redesigns. Some web hosts may even offer discounts on a new domain name if you sign up with them.
6. Check Your Configurations
Once the transfer is complete, make sure your site is configured properly. You’ll need to access your wp-config.php file and update your new database name and password. This is often overlooked so, if your website won’t load properly from the new server, make sure that you’re configured it correctly.
7. Stay Safe, Stay Secure
When your website is safe and sound in its new location, make sure it stays that way. If your web host offers virus scanning or hacking safeguards, activate them. Going through all the work of a transfer will be pointless if your website gets hacked. Do the smart thing and invest in protection for your site.
8. Stay On Top of Social Media
During the transfer process, your website may be inaccessible for a short time. It can take 24-48 hours to populate your website. Hop on to your social media accounts to let your fans and readers know that the downtime is only temporary. This will prevent confusion from your fans and make sure that they come back when you’re fully operational.
If you’re changing domain names, update your social media accounts. Make sure to invite your followers to check out your new site.
9. Test Thoroughly
In the end, you’re the ultimate judge of your new site. Interact with it as your fans and readers would. Check to make sure that all site functions are working properly and that pages are displaying posts and content correctly. If you can’t find your content or if the pages look wrong, your database may not have been set up correctly. Checking your site for bugs will make sure everything is running smoothly.
10. Plan for the Future
Okay, so you’ve successfully transferred your website. Will you need to do that again? When you’re looking for a new host, find one that will give you room to grow. If you explode in popularity, you’ll need a web host that lets you scale up quickly and easily.
Now you have everything you need to transfer WordPress to a new host. A brand new and better host is sitting right there at your fingertips. Just pick a new hosting platform, keep these tips open in another tab and start the transfer now.