How to Move a WordPress Site

movingfolders Many of my WordPress clients ask me to move a WordPress site for them. They either build the site on a test site and need to move it to the server where it will eventually live and be accessed by the public, or they’ve changed the domain name or even just changed the folder where the WordPress site needs to be. Whatever the reason, moving a WordPress site can be a little tricky.

Many of the plugins and themes used by WordPress use the domain name or path in the post, page, menu, settings, etc. and it has to be changed if the url or path changes. This has to be done in the database. Since some of the fields in the database are serialize, or compressed, it’s not quite as easy as ‘find and replace’ in your browser.

You can use some plugins specifically made for moving sites, but I’ve found these tools to often cause more trouble than help. The biggest reason these don’t work well is because of the disk space needed to move a site.

WordPress sites are usually not small. Many of them are huge. They often have a lot of pictures, pdf’s, videos or other attachments that make them use an incredible amount of disk space.

Plugins to move sites often time out, hang up or just fail because of the site sizes, permission problems or other differences in hosting accounts.

I’ve tried many of the plugins and finally decided that manual moves save me more time in the long run. When I move a site manually, I have more control. If things go wrong, I know exactly where the problem started. I can narrow down and find the problem much more quickly. Overall, it saves me time to do it myself.

Here are the steps I use to migrate a WordPress site:

  1. Download the current site code
  2. Export the current site database
  3. Import the database to the new site
  4. Upload the site code to the new database
  5. Set up temporary DNS if necessary
  6. Run the database migration script which replaces the old URL with the new URL in the database
  7. Test the new site
  8. Fix any problems that may have occurred
  9. Change the DNS if necessary

If you are still having problems, or need help moving your site, please feel free to contact me. I will help.

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