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Issues to Avoid When You Migrate a WordPress Site to Another Host

Written by Alfred Bassetti on
Two women in hallway checking website on laptop

Ready to migrate your WordPress site to another host? Great! Just don’t mess it up.

Moving your website from one host to another can be intimidating. What if you accidentally delete your site? What happens if you crash it?

The good news is almost anything that goes wrong can be fixed. To help you avoid issues in the first place, we put together this post highlighting the most common pitfalls to avoid when migrating WordPress sites to another host.

Why People Change Hosting Companies

There are two main reasons people migrate WordPress sites to another host.

First, an agency or developer may build a site on their development servers and needs to transfer the site to the client’s host. Agencies or freelancers should consider finding a hosting partner to host their client sites to avoid the hassle.

The second reason people switch hosts is dissatisfaction with their hosting provider.

How do you know if you should find a new host?

Look for these signs you should switch web hosts:

  • Slow Sites. Not all hosts are created equal. If you started with a cheap, shared hosting plan, you could experience painfully slow site loading times. Slow sites lead to lower conversion and poor search rankings.
  • Overage Charges. If you’re regularly exceeding bandwidth or visitor limits on your current plan, it’s time to consider upgrading your plan or switching to a new host.
  • Lack of Support. Your host should have your back. You need to switch if you can’t count on your host to provide excellent technical support. When something goes wrong with your site, you need to trust that your host is willing and able to help.
  • Poor Customer Service. In addition to technical support, a quality host should provide excellent customer service. Look for a host that’s easy to do business with.

Common Issues to Avoid When You Migrate WordPress Sites to Another Host

If you need to switch hosts, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. We review each step in our post on how to transfer a WordPress site to a new host.

You can transfer a site manually, use a plugin, or utilize a white-glove service where your host handles it for you. These are the issues to watch for no matter which method you choose.

Downtime

Every minute your site is down is a minute you’re not making sales or capturing leads. Minimize your downtime by moving your site to a new host while leaving the current host active. Test the site on a new host using a temporary domain. Once you’ve worked out all the bugs, it’s time to make the new site live. Update your DNS records to point to the new host.

DNS changes can take up to 24 to 48 hours to propagate, but it’s often much faster than that. Make sure to update your domain’s TTL before the migration to help your DNS update as quickly as possible.

During this window, it’s like the hosting version of roulette. Visitors could be directed to either your old or new host. Keep your old host active until the DNS changes have enough time to take full effect. If you process payments or have interactive elements on your site, you may want to put your site into maintenance mode during the DNS propagation window to avoid missing orders or other visitor-driven activity.

Data Loss

Data loss is one of the biggest fears of anyone transferring their site from one server to another. Fortunately, it’s also the easiest issue to prevent. Before transferring hosts or making major changes to your website, do a full site backup. Regular backups should be part of your routine WordPress maintenance anyway. With a quality managed hosting service, the backups will be automatic. To be on the safe side, run a backup right before you start making changes to ensure you have a copy of the latest data.

Damaged URLs

When you set up a website on a new hosting service, you often use a temporary domain. Sometimes your website links don’t update when you change your URL to the live domain name. The solution is pretty simple. We’ve outlined it in this support article: Using Search and Replace on WordPress and Your Pressable Site.

The best tip in the support article is that editing your database can be tricky. You may be better off using a plugin. We’re fans of the Better Search Replace plugin.

Dropped SSL Certificates

The URL issue can also impact your SSL certificate. An SSL certificate often automatically gets issued for the temporary domain. You need to reissue it when you change the domain name to your live URL.

Disconnected Database

Your WordPress site won’t work if it can’t connect to your database. This connection issue is most likely to happen if you manually migrate your site. The most common culprit is a typo in your wp-config.php file. You can find the database info at the top under “MySQL settings.”

 

MySQL backend coding database settings

Displayed 500 Internal Server Error

The Internal Server Error is the WordPress equivalent of the Blue Screen of Death. The most common causes of this error are .htaccess file issues, PHP memory limits, and plugins.

Rename your .htaccess file, then reload your site to see if that fixed it. If it’s still not working, generate a new .htaccess file. If that doesn’t work, then you can go back to using the original file.

Next, increase the PHP memory limit on your server.

Finally, deactivate all your WordPress plugins and reactivate them one at a time until you find the problem.

The Best Way to Avoid Issues When You Migrate WordPress to Another Host

Want to avoid the problem and save yourself some work? Let the pros handle your site migration. With Pressable, all plans include free site migrations. You can use our simple and fast plugin for an easy DIY solution or have our experts do everything for you with our managed migration service. Pick your plan and contact us today to schedule your site migration.

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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!