WordPress Migration: 4 Easy Methods and the Best Plugins
Migrating a website to a new hosting provider or web server can be daunting for many WordPress users. This is understandable since a poorly executed WordPress migration can trigger adverse effects such as downtime and data loss.
Fortunately, migrating a WordPress site to another web host the right way isn’t as complicated as you might think. In addition to the manual method, many tools are available that can help automate most of the process, ensuring a smooth and secure migration.
This article will explain four ways to migrate a WordPress site to a new server. We will also list five of the best migration plugins to help make the process easier.
1. Migrate Your WordPress Site Manually
To learn how to migrate your WordPress site to a new hosting server manually, check out our video tutorial.
If you prefer non-manual methods, we will be exploring them in the following sections.
2. Migrate Your WordPress Site With a Plugin
Another method to migrate a WordPress site involves using a cloning plugin. There are hundreds of PHP cloning scripts in the WordPress plugin directory to choose from.
We recommend using the All-in-One WP Migration plugin as it is easy to use and provides all the necessary migration tools.
Before starting the WordPress migration process, make sure to install and activate the plugin on your old and new hosting accounts. Once that’s done, follow these steps:
- Open the WordPress dashboard of the WordPress site you want to transfer and navigate to All-in-One WP Migration -> Export.
- Click Export to and choose the File option from the dropdown menu.
- Wait for the plugin to finish retrieving your WordPress files. Once the process is complete, download the backup file in the .wpress format from the pop-up window.
- Open the WordPress admin dashboard of your new hosting account and navigate to All-in-One WP Migration -> Import.
- Click Import from and pick File. Then, locate the WordPress files you’ve exported. Keep in mind that the default maximum upload file size is 128 MB. If your backup file is larger than 128 MB, increase WordPress’s maximum file upload size first.
- Once the process is completed, click Finish.
If the import method doesn’t work, you can upload the backup data manually via FTP or File Manager and use the restore feature. To unlock the backup restore feature, you’ll have to upgrade to the Unlimited Extension.
- Navigate to All-in-One WP Migration -> Export on your old server.
- Generate and download the .wpress file to your local computer.
- Log in to your FTP client or open the File Manager on your new WordPress host.
- Upload the .wpress file to the folder wp-content/ai1wm-backups.
- On the WordPress admin dashboard of your new server, go to All-In-One WP Migration -> Backups. The .wpress file should appear there.
- Select the Restore icon next to the .wpress file.
- Click Proceed to begin the migration process.
The final step of using the plugin is to re-save your permalink structure. You need to change the structure twice to reconstruct the .htaccess file.
- From the WordPress sidebar menu, select Settings -> Permalinks.
- Choose a new structure and press Save Changes. If you’re using a Custom Structure, make sure to copy it first.
- Reload the Permalinks settings page and select your original structure.
- Hit Save Changes once you’re done.
3. Migrate Your WordPress Site With hPanel
Hostinger’s free migration service is the fastest and easiest way to transfer WordPress websites to Hostinger. Easily accessed via hPanel, this feature takes care of the entire migration process for you.
The tool requires your WordPress username, password, and the link used when logging in to the WordPress admin panel (yourwebsite.com/wp-admin).
The migration tool will also need the link to the previous hosting provider’s login page along with the old hosting account’s username and password.
Here’s how to use Hostinger’s migration tool:
- Log in to your hPanel and navigate to Website -> Migrate Website.
- Click Add request and choose the WordPress tab.
- Fill in the required fields with your WordPress site and hosting plan details:
- Website migrate to ‒ enter the domain name of your new WordPress website.
- http://domain.com/wp-admin ‒ the site URL to your WordPress admin panel. For example, yourwebsite.com/wp-admin.
- WordPress username ‒ the admin username used to log in to your WordPress admin panel.
- WordPress password ‒ the admin password used to log in to your WordPress admin panel.
- Select previous hosting provider ‒ choose GoDaddy, SiteGround, HostGator, or Bluehost. If your hosting company isn’t listed there, pick Other.
- Click Add request.
4. Migrate Your WordPress Site With a Hosting Backup Service
The final migration method uses the web hosting backup service to move WordPress files to the new web host.
Some hosting providers, like Hostinger, generate backups periodically. You can use these backups to migrate your WordPress site to the new server.
If the WordPress website you’re migrating from uses Hostinger, here’s how to download its backup using hPanel:
- Log in to hPanel and navigate to Files -> Backups.
- Hostinger generates backups periodically, so you have the option to select an existing backup or generate a new one to download.
- If you want to save an existing backup, select Files backups, choose the backup time, and download it.
- If you want to save a new backup, select Generate new backup -> Proceed. Wait until the latest backup is generated. Finally, select Files backups, choose the newly created backup, and download it.
- From cPanel, navigate to Files -> Backup Wizard.
- In the backup wizard menu, select Backup -> Full Backup. This backup option covers your home directory, WordPress database, email forwarder configuration, and email filter configuration.
- Set your preferred backup destination. In this tutorial, we’ll go with Home Directory. Don’t forget to add your email address if you want to be notified once the backup process is complete.
- Click Generate Backup to start the process.
After obtaining the backup .zip file, restore it on the new hosting account.
Here’s how to do it on hPanel if you’re migrating to Hostinger:
- Log in to hPanel and go to Website -> Import Website.
- Under Import your website, select Choose a file to upload the previously downloaded .zip backup file.
- Click Import and wait until the restoration is complete.
Alternatively, here’s how to restore the .zip backup file if your new web host uses cPanel:
- Navigate to Files -> Backup Wizard from the cPanel of your new hosting account.
- Within the backup wizard menu, select Restore -> Home Directory.
- Choose the backup ZIP file you’ve created and then click Upload.
You can also restore the backup data by manually uploading the .zip file to the root folder of your new web host. You can do this via the File Manager of the control panel or an FTP client.
Make sure that all the site files within the old host’s public_html WordPress folder are moved to the new host’s public_html folder.
Cookies are blocked or not supported by your browser is an error that commonly occurs after migrating a WordPress site to a new hosting provider. If refreshing the browser doesn’t resolve the issue, deactivate any installed security or cache plugins one by one and delete browser cookies.
5 Best WordPress Migration Plugins
All-In-One WP Migration is only one among many WordPress migration plugins on the market. To help you pick a tool that best suits your preferences, we have compiled a list of the ten best WordPress plugins for site migration.
- Downloads: 4,000,000+
- Rating: 4.6/5
- Notable features: drag-and-drop import, 50 language translations, vast web hosting provider support
- Price: freemium
All-In-One WP Migration is an easy solution to migrate your WordPress site. It lets you upload databases, media files, themes, and plugins to a new hosting server – no technical knowledge necessary.
Its drag-and-drop import functionality further simplifies the migration process. Besides being compatible with major Linux distributions, macOS, and Microsoft Windows, this migration plugin also works with numerous hosting providers.
Since the plugin imports WordPress site files in chunks under 2 MB, it can bypass most providers’ upload size restrictions. It takes a single click to generate a copy of your site and restore it on another hosting service.
Various extensions are available to expand the plugin’s functionality, and they all come with premium customer support. For example, the Unlimited Extension removes the 512 MB import limit and supports WP-CLI commands.
If you want to migrate your WordPress website to cloud storage services, the plugin offers cloud storage extensions starting at $99. Some supported cloud storage services include Dropbox, Google Cloud Storage, and OneDrive.
- Downloads: 1,000,000+
- Rating: 4.9/5
- Notable features: site pre-configuration, manual backups, and staging area duplication
- Price: freemium
Duplicator is one of the best WordPress migration plugins. It simplifies the migration process and helps users clone their site to another web host or staging area without downtime. Duplicator also serves as a backup solution by bundling site files into a .zip file.
The website pre-configuration feature further streamlines the process. Duplicator creates a package with all the preconfigured website files instead of configuring themes, plugins, and site data every time you want to create a backup or migrate to a new hosting service.
If you have the budget, Duplicator Pro offers abundant premium features.
It provides users with scheduled backups and integration with popular cloud storage platforms like Amazon S3, Dropbox, and Google Drive Storage. You will also get better support for a larger WordPress database and files.
The premium version of this migration plugin starts at $69/year. All plans come with customer support and updates for the duration of the license.
- Downloads: 3,000,000+
- Rating: 4.8/5
- Notable features: automatic scheduled backups, vast cloud storage options, efficient use of server resources
- Price: freemium
UpdraftPlus is one of the best WordPress backup plugins worth trying out. With over three million downloads, it’s a popular choice for users looking for a backup and restore solution.
This backup plugin supports remote backups directly to popular cloud storage platforms like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Amazon S3. It also lets you back up a site on an FTP server, UpdraftVault, an in-house storage space, or email.
You can browse the backup content in WordPress for easier access and set automatic backup schedules.
While the plugin’s free version comes with more than enough tools to ease your work, UpdraftPlus Premium offers excellent value for money. With prices starting at $70/year, you’ll be able to copy and migrate WordPress sites as well as send backups to multiple remote destinations.
The premium version also comes with add-ons, premium support, and 1 GB of UpdraftVault storage.
The best part of investing in UpdraftPlus Premium is that it allows you to restore backups from other backup plugins. It also accepts generic SQL file backups, which can be uncompressed, GZIP-compressed, or BZIP2-compressed.
- Downloads: 300,000+
- Rating: 4.5/5
- Notable features: serialized data and arrays support, multisite compatibility, universal hosting support
- Price: freemium
WP Migrate DB is another user-friendly WordPress plugin that accelerates the migration process, especially for databases.
With WP Migrate DB, WordPress database migration is straightforward and risk-free. The plugin can prevent any risk of data corruption because it supports serialized data and arrays. The free version also supports Multisite and is compatible with all hosting providers.
Although WP Migrate DB is a great WordPress database migration plugin, you will have to upgrade to the Pro version if you want to migrate an entire website along with all the files and media. WP Migrate DB Pro starts at $49/year.
Besides the full site migration feature, the Pro version also unlocks advanced features such as WP-CLI support, push and pull migrations, and one-click migrations.
5. Migrate Guru
- Downloads: 70,000+
- Rating: 4.9/5
- Notable features: one-click site migration, real-time alerts, and crash-proof migration procedure
- Price: Free
If you’re looking for a free alternative, consider using Migrate Guru. This plugin provides an easy and risk-free way of migrating WordPress sites to the server you want.
You only need to fill out a form detailing your site’s new hosting account, and the one-click migration functionality will take care of the rest. The entire process is handled on the plugin’s servers, reducing the risk of crashes.
Migrate Guru can clone WordPress sites of up to 1 GB in less than 30 minutes. A WordPress user with a large website will find the migration size limit highly flexible, as Migrate Guru allows you to copy or move WordPress files that are up to 200 GB in size.
Unlike other migration plugins, Migrate Guru doesn’t offer integration with cloud storage platforms. Instead, the plugin automatically copies your WordPress site to its server and keeps all the crucial WordPress files there until the migration is complete.
Migrate Guru is compatible with 5,000+ web hosting companies across the world. It also comes with Multisite support and real-time alerts.
A knowledge base is also available – it answers frequently asked questions about the migration procedures and the plugin’s functionality.
Why Is WordPress Migration Important?
For some website owners, migrating a WordPress site can be a bothersome experience as there are many details to pay attention to during the process. Others believe it’s too risky, fearing it can damage their whole WordPress website.
However, if done correctly, migration can be a seamless process with several benefits. Here are some of the most common reasons why website administrators may want to migrate their WordPress website to a new server:
- Better value. Since there are many hosting providers to choose from, you might find another web hosting company that offers better value for the money. For example, Hostinger’s Shared Hosting plans start at $1.99.
- Better customer support. Access to responsive and helpful customer support can improve your WordPress website management experience.
- More hosting resources and features. Getting the necessary hosting resources and tools is vital to scale your WordPress website.
- Better server security. Securing your WordPress website should be a priority as a website administrator. It also plays a big part in protecting your site’s credibility and visitors’ privacy.
Migrating a WordPress website to a new hosting service can bring several benefits. You may be able to get a more affordable plan, better customer support, more hosting resources and features, and better server security.
As there are several ways of accomplishing this, make sure to consider your personal needs and the necessary technical knowledge.
Here’s a recap of the four WordPress migration methods we have explored:
- Manual transfer. Use an FTP client or the File Manager of the host’s control panel to transfer WordPress files and databases.
- Cloning plugin. Use a plugin to export and import WordPress files with just a few clicks.
- Automatic migration tool. If you’re migrating to Hostinger, you can quickly do it by submitting a migration request.
- Web hosting backup service. Use the backups created by the old hosting plan to move your WordPress files to the new server.
We hope this tutorial has helped you migrate your WordPress site with ease. Let us know in the comments which method you prefer.
WordPress Migration FAQ
Can Hostinger Migrate a WordPress Site for Me?
Absolutely. All you need to do is add a request on the Migration Requests page of hPanel. Once your credentials are verified, Hostinger will migrate your WordPress site for free.
Can I Migrate My WordPress Site to Another Host?
Yes, you can. There are various methods to move your WordPress site to a new hosting provider.
How Do I Migrate My WordPress to Another Host?
To migrate a WordPress site, you must transfer your WordPress files and databases from the old web host to the new one.
You can choose to do this manually via FTP or by using tools such as a cloning plugin, an automatic migration tool, or the web hosting’s backup service.