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

Woman wearing yellow jacket sitting on desk using laptop with phone and notebook beside

Ready to migrate your WordPress site to another host? Great! Just make sure you don’t run into these WordPress migration issues.

Moving your website from one host to another can be intimidating. What if you accidentally delete your site? What happens if you crash it, or it just disappears? There are tons of WordPress migration problems out there that you want to avoid to keep your site and business running smoothly.

The good news is almost anything that goes wrong can be fixed. To help you avoid WordPress migration 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.

  1. 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 WordPress hosting for agencies to avoid the hassle.
  2. 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 to know it’s time to switch web hosts:

  • Slow Sites. Not all hosts are the same. 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

It’s not as difficult as it sounds if you need to switch hosts. 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 use a white-glove service where your host handles it for you. These are the WordPress migration problems to watch for, regardless of your chosen method.


Every minute your site is down is a minute you’re not making sales or capturing leads. Minimize 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 migrating a website from one host 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 are automatic. To be safe, run a backup before 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 must reissue it when changing 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 will most likely 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 fixes it. If it’s still not working, generate a new .htaccess file. If that doesn’t work, you can return 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.

Different Types of WordPress Migrations 

There are different types of migrations, and each requires special considerations. While you can use a plugin to help you transfer your WordPress site to a new host, there’s more work involved if you’re migrating your site to a new domain. And if you don’t follow the few extra steps, your site’s SEO may take a hit.

To migrate a site to a new domain, you’ll need to start by creating a backup of your website. Then, create a database for your new domain name. After that, you’ll upload your backup to your new domain and set up permanent 301 redirects. To finish it off, you must notify Google about your new domain in Google Search Console.

Not Creating a Full Backup of the Site Before Migration

Backing up your site is vital for many reasons, but it’s crucial when you migrate a WordPress site from one server to another. Without the backup, you may lose some of your files, and getting back to a previous version of the website can be expensive and time-consuming. There are a lot of great WordPress backup plugins available, like WP-DB-Backup. Pressable offers free daily backups to sites hosted on our platform.

Not Checking for Compatibility Between Old and New Hosting Environments

WordPress can function in almost any hosting environment, but some hosts won’t work for WordPress. And depending on your theme and plugins, you may need additional requirements that the more basic hosting options don’t have. Generally, you will need a server that supports and executes PHP files.

Most hosts will work well for a WordPress site, but there are still some out there that might not be what you need to keep your site running fast and smoothly. Before you choose a host, make sure they’re WordPress-ready.

Overlooking the Need to Update WordPress and Plugins Before Migration

Plugin update notifications can be annoying. They’re always popping up, and if you clear them out occasionally, everything’s fine, right? 

The thing to keep in mind is that plugin updates exist to fix bugs and address potential vulnerabilities. It’s the same with WordPress updates. So, if you’ve been putting off any updates for a while, addressing them before you migrate a WordPress site to a new host can help strengthen your site and prevent any issues you might encounter with your new host. 

Forgetting to Migrate Media Files and Other Content

It happens to lots of website owners. They migrated their site only to find they’re missing images or other content. It can happen because files are stored in paths that are unique to your old host that don’t translate when you move a WordPress site to another host. The good news is that site backups will usually prevent this issue from happening, meaning you can get your site back up and running promptly without the stress of trying to find lost files.

Best Practices to Avoid Issues with Customers and SEO

When you migrate WordPress to another hosting provider, it doesn’t have to result in downtime, lost files, or lost sales. Whether you choose to use a plugin, a service, or manually migrate your site, following these tips can help you avoid any potential WordPress migration issues.

  • Notify Users. Notify visitors and search engines of the move. Use social media and your newsletter to let your audience know you’ve moved your site to a new domain. Set up 301 redirects to send all traffic to your new domain and notify Google that you’ve changed your domain.
  • Use Maintenance Mode. Consider using a maintenance mode plugin during the migration. A maintenance plugin can help you stay engaged with your customers while your site is offline and help you continue to make sales.
  • Look for Missing Files. Check for broken links or missing media after migration. Use a broken link checker to find broken links, and take some time to skim through your site to see if any media is missing. 
  • Optimize Your Site. Optimize the new site for speed and security. Updating WordPress and plugins and taking advantage of your host’s security and performance features will help your site continue to run quickly and smoothly.

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

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

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!

Related blog articles