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How to Transfer a WordPress Site to a New Host

Written by Alfred Bassetti on
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Breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes it’s necessary. So, if you’re ready to move on from your current web host, here’s how to transfer a WordPress site to a new host.

Not all hosts are equal, and much like a romantic relationship, you can grow and change. What used to be a good fit can start to seem like a bad deal. This post will examine the top reasons to switch hosting services and cover the steps for transferring a WordPress site to a new host.

4 Reasons to Choose a New Hosting Provider

What would cause you to switch hosts? Many people assume it’s not worth the hassle, but that’s not the case. Switching hosts doesn’t have to be cumbersome. Sometimes your website’s success and business depend on finding a better host. The top four reasons to search for a new hosting provider are:

1. Speed

A slow-loading website can cause visitors to leave before ever making a purchase or filling out a lead form. In our guide to the types of WordPress hosting services, we talked about how shared hosting services are affordable but can have performance issues if another site on the same server experiences a big influx of traffic. As your website grows, you might need more bandwidth and resources than are available on an entry-level shared hosting plan. If you’ve noticed your site suffering from slow loading times, it could be time to consider switching hosts.

2. Security

In addition to implementing WordPress security best practices, selecting a quality host can go a long way in protecting your site from attacks. Look for a host that offers malware scanning and threat monitoring. For additional security, select a host with a web application firewall. The firewall monitors, identifies, filters, and blocks malicious activity while allowing normal traffic through with no problem. It protects your WordPress site from many application-layer attacks like cross-site scripting, cross-site forgery, cookie poisoning, file inclusion, and SQL injection. These types of attacks can gain access to your website and customer data and are the No. 1 cause of data breaches.

3. Service

Running your WordPress site shouldn’t be a Hunger Games-style fend-for-yourself venture. When you run into trouble, you want a hosting service with experts on standby to help resolve issues. If your current host doesn’t provide timely quality support, it’s time to find one that does.

4. Savings

Saving money is always a motivating factor for business decisions. But, when you’re looking for a web hosting service, consider the total cost of hosting. Do you have to pay extra or support or additional visitors? For more details on what factors to consider when evaluating hosting costs, download our e-book, Why Cheap Web Hosting Costs You More.

Steps to Transfer a WordPress Site to a New Host

Once you decide it’s time to make a switch, follow these steps to transfer your WordPress site to a new host.

Step 1: Sign Up With a New Host

Select a new host and set up your account. In addition to the factors we reviewed earlier, download this e-book on the five things to look for in a WooCommerce hosting provider if you run an eCommerce site.

Step 2: Set Up a Temporary Site With Your New Host

After signing up for your account, you’ll need to set up a temporary site. Most hosts will give you a temporary URL to use while transferring your site. This way, you can work on setting up your site on the new host without disrupting traffic to your live site.

Step 3: Back Up Your Current Site

Before you begin transferring your site to a new host, back up your current site. Then download your site files and databases. To be safe, you want copies of all your site files and databases before you let your host know you’re leaving.

Step 4: Transfer Your Site

At this point, it’s time to transfer your site to the new host. WordPress site owners can choose from manually transferring a site, or using a site migration plugin or migration service.

To transfer your site manually:

  1. Import Your WordPress SQL Database. If you set up a new instance of WordPress while setting up your new host account, you’ll already have a WordPress database. If not, you’ll need to set up a new SQL database. Take the database export file from your old host and import it into your new database.
  2. Upload Your Website Files. Upload all your site’s files to the new host.
  3. Edit the wp-config.php File. Update your site’s configuration settings, such as the path to your database in the wp-config.php file.

To transfer your site using a plugin:

  1. Install a Plugin. Download and install the migration plugin on your old and new websites. Quality hosts will have their own plugin or one they recommend.
  2. Create an Export. Follow the plugin’s instructions for creating a site export.
  3. Import and Configure the Site. Follow the plugin’s instructions for importing and configuring your site on the new host.

To transfer your site using a service:

  1. Select a Service. You can pay someone to transfer your site for you. But you can also look for a host that offers free migrations as a service.
  2. Let the Service Do the Work. You don’t have to do anything. The experts will move your site for you.

Step 5: Test and Debug the Site

After transferring your site to your temporary domain, test it to make sure everything copied over correctly. Look for broken links and images as well as any missing content. Once you resolve any issues, you’re ready to launch.

Step 6: Update Your DNS Records

To officially move your site, update your DNS records for your domain. The DNS records tell internet browsers which host your site uses and where to find your site. DNS records can take 24 to 48 hours to propagate across the globe, so consider making this switch during a period of lower web traffic.

Step 7: Cancel Your Old Hosting Service

Once everything is running smoothly on your new host, don’t forget to cancel your old hosting service. No need to pay for something you’re not using.

Transfer Your WordPress Website to Pressable

Pressable takes the hassle out of transferring your WordPress site to our state-of-the-art WordPress hosting platform. You can use our Automated Migration WordPress plugin or let our team do it for you. Schedule a demo today to learn more about getting started with Pressable.

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Alfred Bassetti

Alfred Bassetti is a Sales Representative and Sales Operations Analyst at Pressable. He focuses in helping people get the best possible experience with hosting by bringing customers closer to their needs!