A Step-By-Step Guide to Successfully Migrate Your Website to WordPress

Antonio C.

Antonio C.

2 Laptops with migration flowing arrows

Your website is one of the most important parts of your business. How it operates defines your business and its sales and overall growth. And imagine, you rely on a system wholeheartedly and it gets hacked by any hacker or you lose your data due to any issue in the website.

You may relate with any of the above scenarios that is why you are here reading this blog post. But worry you not. We are here to help you with your website migration.

Website migration is when you change your website environment or the framework it operates on, its domain name, structure, design or even location, etc. When you perform your WordPress website or migrate any other site to WordPress or from one host or server to another, it is called WordPress migration.

WordPress migrations seem overwhelming and daunting but you can do it with preparation or assign any competent WordPress Development company to do the job for you.

Why Should You Move Your Website To WordPress?

You might have opted to migrate the site to WordPress because your current website environment is too slow, not secure to use, is expensive to manage or doesn’t have any support hosting package to offer.  You may want to change your domain name that requires moving the existing site to WordPress. WordPress is best for building websites from scratch.

The WordPress website is a win for the following reasons.

Free: WordPress is an open-source software that costs nothing to install and use.

Blogging Capabilities: WordPress was initially built for blogging that is the reason it has excellent blogging capabilities.

SEO-Friendly: For your site to rank, SEO is important. It is easily compatible with powerful SEO plugins like AIO-SEO.

Secure: WordPress takes care of its safety in itself but has numerous security plugins to keep your business and your website safe and secure.

Flexible: You can easily extend your website functionalities with WordPress plugins which are mostly free with premium for extraordinary features.

No Coding Needed: Anyone can use WordPress without being a developer or designer. Being user-friendly with WordPress gives you an edge of not relying on developers for your website.

Endless Design options: WordPress offers endless theme options, drag and drop page builders, and ultimate customization options to make the website as personalized as you want.

WooCommerce Integration: WordPress website can become an e-store in a snap by using WooCommerce plugin; which is a perfect ecommerce store in itself.

Unmatched Support Services: WordPress with its unlimited customization allows you to hire developers for backend tasks from WordPress itself or it offers developers to provide support services to its customers with much ease.

How To Plan Prepare for a Successful WordPress Migration?

There are two options that you must keep in your pre-migration checklist that will help you in preparing for WordPress migration.

  1. WordPress Migration With Your New Host

WordPress migration is included in most of the website hosting servers’ packages. Some of the exceptional WordPress development agencies do it for free if you are taking their services for your WordPress website. Or they offer you a tool that you can use to migrate your WordPress website with their assistance.

  1. WordPress Migration With a Plugin or Other Tool

You must be aware of migration plugins and tools before planning for WordPress migration. These tools and plugins are designed to provide customized and affordable support to move your website.

You must do your research and check  whether the plugin:

  • Provides backup services
  • Provides recovery services
  • Supports your new server
  • Supports your existing server
  • Recovers broken links
  • Recovers missing content

What to Look for in a Professional WordPress Migration Service

Any great agency providing top-rated WordPress migrating service has a checklist of what includes in their service.

Minimum Downtime

For transferring your data to the new WordPress environment or hosting, a professional migration service keeps migration downtime to the minimum in order to cause least interruptions in your business operations.

Reliable Plugins Usage

The migration service providers use plugins that are reliable and most compatible with your existing and new servers. This helps in decreasing downtimes and secure data transfer.

User-Friendly Process

Being user-friendly is one of the main concerns of migration service providers. They assist you in tools’ selection and support throughout the process to make it easier than expected for you.

Round-the-clock Assistance

Migration service providers assist website owners with technical assistance throughout the migration 24/7.

Dedicated Developers for Migration

Great WordPress migration developers who know what they are doing and are dedicatedly available at your service for any problem you may have during migration.

Security and Safety

One of the top priorities, when it comes to WordPress migration, is security of your website and safety of your data not to be lost. Make sure their offerings are safe and secure and provide recovery services if something goes wrong.

The 8 Essential Steps For Migrating Your Website To WordPress

  1. Backup the Website Files

You must backup every aspect of your website before you migrate your existing website to WordPress. It also should be a general part of your overall website security, however, this is an essential part of requirements since there is so much data to be moved.

You can use plugins to backup your WordPress website like WPvivid which offers you tons of powerful backup options for all aspects of your website. Or you can own a traditional approach using a transferring tool called FTP (FileZilla (PC), Transmit (Mac). Do not forget to copy your database.

  1. Export the WordPress Database

It requires a few steps to export your database.

  1. Login to the cPanel account of your web server.
  2. Open the phpMyAdmin
  3. Select database containing your WP installation (List left hand sidebar)
  4. On navigation menu, click Export tab
  1. Create the WordPress Database to Your New Host Server

For migrating WordPress to a new host, creating an environment is must so that you can install the WordPress. A database must be created to import your SQL data into it. You just have to login into the new host using the provided credentials and connect to cPanel software of the host.

Using a MySQL application example guide, we create a database into the new system. (The host must provide you with a running application in your new database, if they don’t contact them to discover how they create a new database.)

Steps to create a database:

  1. Open MySQL database, choose a name for your website and create a new database.
  2. Create a user on MySQL and add a secure password.
  3. Add the user to the new database and grant all privileges.

Save database name, username and password somewhere safe, it will be needed soon.

  1. Edit the wp-config.php File

In the downloaded website files, you will have a folder named wp-config.php that controls the access between your WordPress and database.

Make a copy and secure this in another folder. It will be required for restoration purposes.

Open the original wp-config.php and a text editor and make the following changes:

  1. Change DB (Database) name
  2. Change DB username
  3. Change DB password

Save the wp-config.php changes and close the file.

  1. Import Your WordPress Database

After that, you can move forward with the import process. It proceeds with the below steps:

  1. Launch phpMyAdmin from cPanel on your new server
  2. Select new DB (database)
  3. Select the Import tab from the navigation menu.
  4. In File to Import, click “choose file” and select SQL (exported previously)
  5. Untick partial import
  6. Set format toSQL and click GO

The import of the database begins. The time of import depends on the size of the database. You will receive a message after it is done successfully.

  1. Upload the WordPress Files to Your New Host

You can now begin uploading website files. Using the FTP program, connect to your new web host and browse the website that has your files. Uploading files to public_html is almost directory.

If a remote directory is selected, you can upload your website files, including the updated version of wp-config.php. It may take a while.

These files will be needed until the end of the process, so do not delete them.

  1. Define New Domain and Search/Replace Old Domain

This step is for the websites that are moving to a new or different domain because they have to update their site to match the domain.

When you move to a new or different domain, the direct links (URLs) and images break because they point directly to the server. If you want to replace it accordingly, you are suggested to search for “replace DB script” on GitHub. It will provide you with an easy replacement method.

You have to delete it after the process completes and do not place it in your root domain. Create a temporary folder to host the script.

Change Site URL and replace your old domain to your new domain. This will ensure that you are logged in into your new domain and not redirected to the old one.

  1. Final Touches

It requires two steps to complete the migration process:

  1. Configure domain DNS settings before using the site. (It may take up to 48 hours to implement the change.)
  2. Connect to your old web host to delete files and databases.
  3. For a person with basic programming knowledge, these are very simple steps to follow. Simply be cautious when migrating your WordPress website to a new web host or domain.

What Are The Common Challenges In Migrating A Website To WordPress?

Although WordPress is popular for it being flexible, having intuitive setups and pocket-friendly, it still is far from perfect. It may cost you your brand impression, a lot of clean-up costs and legal lawsuits to say the least.

Here are some migrating challenges with WordPress that you should know of.

Security vulnerabilities: It is open-source available for everyone to look at it and find loopholes for cyberattacks.

Slow performance: WordPress mostly is a victim of slow loading times, forcing the users to get frustrated and leave the website.

DIY products: WordPress CMS has limited features. The site owner has to add features, content, design and at the same time manage the backend themselves.

Over Reliance on plugins: Plugins can ease-up a lot of tasks but at the same time, causing you security vulnerabilities, slow performance and compatibility issues.

Confusing errors: Without premium support, you may get errors like “white screen of death”  error affecting your website and overall business.

Unexpected costs: WordPress is free, but there are obviously some expected costs to it; just like domain name, hosting, premium themes and plugins, developers costs and security protections, etc.

These are some common issues in migrating a site in WordPress that you must consider before planning a migration.

Sum up!

To conclude the overall discussion, your website is an important part of your business; thus, you must consider all the WHYs of your website migration to WordPress and plan beforehand.

If you rely on a competent WordPress development agency, you must do research, ask a series of questions, and analyze the steps they follow for the migration process before you let them migrate your WordPress website.

Finally, never forget the downsides of WordPress before choosing it to be your new web host because you are going to have to deal with it for a very long time. If you are not prepared, it may cost you more than you earn from your business.

Ready To Start Your Project