Moving your WordPress website to a new host? Here’s how to do it

It’s not uncommon for websites to be set up in haste. You have an excellent idea for a business, so you want to get it online as quickly as possible. In your rush to share your idea with the world, you choose the wrong website hosting package for your needs.
Fast forward a few years, and you suddenly feel that your business is suffering as a result of your website hosting. It crashes all the time, you struggle to get through to support, and it doesn’t give you any room to scale your business. When this happens, you have no choice but to move your website to another host, but the thought of dismantling your website and moving it to a new hosting platform fills you with dread.
Moving hosts doesn’t have to be the modern-day horror story many developers make it out to be. If your website is hosted on WordPress, you should have an easy enough time moving to a better hosting service. In this article, we’ll break down some of the most important steps for moving your website to a new host.

Choose your new host

Before putting yourself through the trouble of moving hosts, check with your current provider if you can upgrade to get the level of service you are looking for. If you can’t, or if the price would be too much, then you need to start looking for a new host.
Once you have chosen your host and signed up, you will be able to set up your webspace and email on your new server.

Prepare your old site

Always backup your site before you move it. Since the process of moving your website involves downloading all of your website data, make two copies of everything. It’s also a good time to do a quick SEO audit of your website. Look for things like broken links and missing meta titles or descriptions. These are things that you will be looking for once the website has moved, so you don’t want to cause unnecessary concern by migrating a website with existing problems.
You can also get rid of spam comments, update your plugins and themes, and make sure everything is running smoothly before you start moving any content. When you are ready to make the move, switch your current site to maintenance mode. This will prevent any changes from taking place while during the process and prevent any service interruption for your visitors.

Prepare your new site

Before you can import your website files, you will need to install WordPress on your new hosting platform. Some hosting providers will offer a guided installation process for WordPress. You will also need to set up a staging site which is separate from your main domain. 

Get to grips with FTP

The easiest way to migrate a WordPress website is by using an FTP program. FTP allows you to access your website files just as you would on your computer. It’s important not to change anything at this stage as it could break your website.
You will need to download all of the files from your current hosting provider and then upload them to your new host. This could take a long time and the transfer mustn’t be interrupted.

Transfer your databases and update name servers

Moving your WordPress content is a little more difficult than simply downloading and uploading files. You will need to download the MySQL database from your existing host and then upload it to your new host. You can find instructions for how to do this on the WordPress website.
At this point, you should have a fully functioning website, but it won’t be accessible through your existing URL. You will need to log in to your domain server and point the nameservers to your new hosting.
Nameservers typically look like this:
It is often as simple as updating this with the information provided by your new hosting company.

Go live

Your website is now live. If you have set it up on a staging domain, it’s time to test out the site and make sure everything is working correctly. Look for things like missing images and broken links. When you are happy, you can take down the maintenance mode and put your website live. Remember to shut down your staging site and your old site so there aren’t any issues with duplicate content.

Sound like a headache?

If all of that sounds like too much work and worry, there is help available. Some hosting companies will offer a free migration service to give you an incentive to switch. Or you could bring in the professionals. We’re experts in moving WordPress websites and have helped countless companies to break free from their old hosting provider. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.