How to Transfer WordPress Hosts

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posted on: February 8, 2018

After reading this post on website speed and this one on why hosting matters, you might be thinking to yourself, “I need to move hosts”. Switching hosts is possible, just not always easy. If you are not that technically savvy, most companies offer to do the transfer for you. If you have any doubt about the transfer process, I recommend you pay for the service. You do not want to lose any content.  Today, I’m going to show you how you can transfer hosts, to secure and safe hosting like SiteGround, without any downtime.

Before Your Begin

You want to take care of a few different components:

  1. Gather your domain and current hosting provider login details.
  2. Sign-up for your new host (I recommend SiteGround).

1 | Backup Your Content

Whenever you are making changes to your website, you should always backup first. I recommend using one of two premium (paid) plugins – Vaultpress or Backup Buddy. Both platforms offer an automated backup of your website. For both plugins, give specific details on how you should backup your site, and you should follow those.

2 | Migrate Your New Site

Go to BACKUP BUDDY > RESTORE/MIGRATE, click to download both IMPORTBUDDY.PHP and the latest backup version of your site (will be in a .zip file).

3 | Connect to New Host

Once you have both files, you will want to upload them to your new web host via FTP. I like using Cyberduck. During this process, instead of using your URL like lindsayhumes.com, you will be using your host IP address. Using the IP address makes sure your files go to your new host.

4 | Upload Files

Under your root directory (usually /username/public_html/ ), you will upload both IMPORTBUDDY.php and the exported backup of your website. Note: The root directory should be empty. If you have WordPress installed, delete it first!

5 | Update the Host File

Your domain is pointed to specific IP address (server) via the host file. You will want to change the host file so that you can access the files on your new host while others can still access your site from the old host.

  • In your NEW HOST, login to the cPanel dashboard, and you should see your SHARED IP ADDRESS (typically on the left-hand side). Copy this number.
  • If you have a MAC, you need to open TERMINAL and enter this command to edit the host file:
    sudo nano /private/etc/hosts
  • Then at the bottom of your host file, you will enter the IP address you copied and your domain name. Here’s an example:
    123.456.7.89 www.example.com
  • Save changes. You should now be able to access your files on the new host using your domain name on your computer.

6 | Run ImportBuddy

Once both files are uploaded to the new host, you will need to access your importbuddy.php file using the URL like: http://www.example.com/importbuddy.php. The URL should take you to the BACKUPBUDDY Setup wizard. If you get a 404 error, you might have made a mistake in STEP 5.

  • BackupBuddy setup wizard will prompt you for the password you created when you back-up.
  • Select your most recent backup to import. BackupBuddy will start importing your content.
  • (Backup Buddy Step 3): ImportBuddy will display your URL and database information. If you are not changing domains, then you should see your same domain. If you are changing domains, this screen should show the updated domain. Below the URL Settings are the Database Settings. You will need to create a new database. I recommend using the “Click to Create a Database Button”. Import buddy will import your Database (Backup Buddy Step 4). Step 5 involves updating the URLs.
  • Once everything is completed, you will be asked to verify your URLs by clicking on the URL. If you have any errors or problems, click the “CLEAN UP + REMOVE TEMPORARY FILES” button. You would then get a 404 error, which means that ImportBuddy.php is removed.
  • Remove the changes you made to your host file.

7 | Updated Nameservers

Now that you’ve setup your site on the new host, you can now update your nameservers to point to the host. Name servers typically look like this: ns1.hostname.com and ns2.hostname.com.

  • Login to your Domain Registrar (GoDaddy, Namecheap, etc).
  • Under Domain Settings, look for NAMESERVERS. Select “MANAGE” or “EDIT” (differs from provider),
  • Enter your new name servers (ns1.hostname.com, etc.) to reflect your new host.
  • Save your changes. These will take approximately 1-24 hours to update throughout

That’s it! Now you were able to transfer your website without anyone noticing!!!!! So stealth! With any custom project, I always include the option for this service as part of the installation.

You Might Also Like: How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting + What Kind of Website “Home” Do You Have?

Want more WordPress tutorials? Check out more posts!

Editor's Note

Some of the links included throughout this website are affiliate links, which means that Lindsay Humes LLC receives a small commission when certain items are purchased. These affiliate links provide a means for the site to earn revenue and generate free content for readers. For more details, read the privacy policy here.

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