Tips for moving WordPress to a new hosting account

There can be many reasons why you think that moving WordPress to a new hosting account is the logical next step. For starters, you could be having some problems with your current host, or you could simply be wary of a much better solution in your vicinity. With all the hosting options for WordPress websites, you can always find a new solution in a matter of hours. But the prospect of migrating your site to a new host is always a daunting one. Or so you think. Let us give you a few tips about how to do it simply (as simple as it can be) and without putting yourself through incredible amounts of stress.

The first step is always the most difficult one – choosing a new host

What you are about to see is that moving to a new hosting provider is not a simple process. That’s why you want to make the best decision when choosing a new one since it makes no sense for you to go through all this trouble a few months down the line. You want to move on to a host that’s reliable and can handle your growing traffic and, luckily, we have a few suggestions.

A drawing of a web developer moving WordPress to a new hosting account.
Having a good host is imperative for the success of any website.
  • For shared hosting, your best bet is with Bluehost.
  • For cloud or location-specific hosting, we recommend you check out Siteground.
  • And for managed hosting, take a look at WP Engine.

Before moving WordPress to a new hosting account, website backup is a must

Website backup is a mandatory part of owning and running a website. But this process is even more important when you are about to make any changes or updates to your website. And can you think of any change that’s bigger than changing your host? We think not. By using a program such as Transmit, you can connect to your web host and then copy all files to a folder on your computer. In case you have a lot of media uploads, this process could take some time. But backing up your website files is just one part of the process. While this process is under its way, you can move on to another one – exporting your WordPress database.

By opening up phpMyAdmin, you can select the database that has your installation and once you select it, you can click on the Export tab. Once the export process begins, a file will be downloaded to your computer, finishing up this very important step. If you know the importance of website backup, then you know that backing up both your database and your files was of crucial importance.

A person holding a paper with a cloud shaped hole in it.
It’s ludicrous to discuss just how important website backup is in this day and age.

Create a new database on your new host

Some might argue that this is a complicated process. We guess it all depends on your interests and abilities. But to create a new database is a process that happens in three steps:

  1. You should open the MySQL Database and create a new one with a name for your website.
  2. Obtain a secure password by creating a new MySQL user.
  3. Proceed to add this new user to the new database, and don’t forget to grant it All Privileges.

Remember to write down the information you get during this step. You will need them when moving WordPress to a new hosting account.

You’ll have to make some necessary changes to the wp.config.php File

Remember that step when you had to back up your folders and store them in a location on your computer? Now’s the time to access that folder and find a file called wp.config.php, as this is the file that controls the connection between your database and WordPress. What are the changes we refer to that you need to make? For starters, you’ll have to change the database name to the name of the new database you created. Then, you need to change the old username so that it matches the one you just created. Finally, you’ll have to change the password to the one you created when making a new MySQL user.

Feeling tired yet? Well, our WordPress experts would like to tell you to hang on a bit longer. We are not quite done yet – quite the contrary.

Import your WordPress database

Depending on how many files there are to be imported, this process could take some time. Alas, you have no other option but to be patient. Find the cPanel software and launch the phpMyAdmin page. On the left-hand sidebar, you should choose your new database and click on the Import tab once it opens. Remember the SQL file you exported previously? This is when you import it back on the new server.

An hourglass with pink sand.
You have no other option but to be patient while some parts of the process are taking place.

Click the Choose File button in the File to Import section and, naturally, choose the SQL file. Check that the format is set to SQL, click Go and simply wait while the new database is being imported. Once it’s done, you’ll receive a message of confirmation, informing you that you can move on to the next step of the process. By now, there aren’t many of them left.

Your WordPress files should be uploaded to the new host

By using a program called FTP, you should connect to your new host. To your site’s root directory, you should upload both the archive zip file and installer.php file. This is still not the time to install and activate WordPress, as your root directory should be completely empty. You should know that some web hosting companies automatically install WordPress as soon as you sign up, so this is a thing you should be wary about. It never hurts to check.

Replacing/updating the new domain

From choosing a new host to changing the username and password and uploading the extracted files, we reached the finishing step. Once you finish up with replacing or updating the new domain, you can brag to others that you were successful in moving WordPress to a new hosting account.

At this point, everything for your new website is ready, and you’ve created a complete copy of it on the new host. But, the domain is still showing your old hosting account. What you need to do is to switch your DNS name servers. In case you have a domain registered with the old hosting provider, it’s quite clear what your next step is – transferring the domain from the old host to the new one.

There is no point in going into great length to explain how to switch the domain to the new host as the process can be different with every host. This is supposed to serve more as a reminder that this is the last and finishing touch of a lengthy but ultimately necessary process. Because all the struggle you will go through while moving WordPress to a new hosting account will be worth it if you are moving on to a better option. And it’s only logical that you are.

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