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Migrating a website – via FTP (Advanced Level)
Want to know how to migrate your website to a different server or host?
Unsure how to migrate your WordPress website to a different location or host? What steps are required and how to ensure everything goes across? Read the following article which explains in simple steps, how to achieve this manually for the FTP/SQL fans…
Step 1 – FTP PHP Files
You need to create a FTP account on your old host server. Access the FTP account via Filezilla or another FTP file manager client. Log into that account and you will see all the PHP files for your website (typically stored in ‘/public_html’ folder, though this does vary on some hosts).
Simply create a folder on your computer called ‘My website’ or similar and copy across the complete contents of the PHP files there – you want EVERYTHING in that base folder, including the .htaccess etc.
Once done, close the FTP client and check that the site PHP files are on your computer.
Step 2 – Download the Database
Then, go back to your existing host, log into PhpMyAdmin and choose the relevant website (again options can vary depending on host).
Go into and you will see the database and tables on the left side frame. Choose EXPORT > EXPORT METHOD > QUICK.
Choose SQL from the Format dropdown. Then click GO.
It will then produce a pop-up menu (depending on your computer configuration) and you choose where to save the file – it will be a .SQL file, so your back-end Database.
Once saved, disconnect from PhpMyAdmin and close the browser.
Step 3 – Upload the website to the new host/area
Go to your new host, create an FTP account for your new website instance and go into, using FileZilla for example (see below image). Copy across the complete contents of ‘My website’ folder to the remote server (check with the host you are at the same level in terms of root when you go – you don’t want to copy the contents to a folder that is higher or lower than ‘/public_html’, for example. This is why using a plugin is simpler!
Once you’ve copied the PHP files across completely, close the FTP client and go into the PhpMyAdmin service for the new host. Go to the database of the relevant website instance and click on IMPORT.
Depending on your exported ‘SQL file’ you may need to omit the ‘CREATE DATABASE‘ line if it is there, as you simply want to create the tables and their respective records and values, not another Database. Once done, follow the steps and then click OK and wait.
Once done, check no errors and then close the browser (I will write a future article on how to handle common WordPress errors – please check back soon!)
Step 4 – Connect the Website to the Database
Next, navigate to ‘WP_Config.php‘ file on the new host (which will be in the root directory of your specific website) and update the database DB_NAME, DB_USERNAME and DB_PASSWORD as per your imported SQL Database, with the new host details and database name you just imported.
If the Database sits on the same server, leave DB_HOST as ‘localhost‘.
However, if the Database sits on a different server, get the IP address of that server and put it in the DB_HOST field instead.
Go back into FileZilla (for example) and upload your updated WP_Config.php file to the webserver, overwriting the one already there.
Step 5 – Check Site/Finishing Line!
Navigate to the site in your browser and Hey Presto!
Remember, you will need to re-point the domain to your new host or transfer in, otherwise you will still be looking at your old site!
The freshly migrated website should now be there – any issues, please go through the process again with a fine toothcomb or if you are stuck, please email me.
If you already have a domain, either switch it to the new host or point the nameservers to the new host from the old one, this will mean the website that sits on your new host, will be accessible from the domain you already had.
Further detail about working with domains will be covered in another article as it is quite involved.
Remember, if you do change nameservers or DNS Custom records, to allow up to 72 hours for propagation across the globe (though for example with .co.uk domains, this can happen a lot quicker).
Once redirection is completed and SSL enabled (if appropriate), you can delete the website from the old host and job done!
Please Note: If you have any problems or run into errors such as the database not connecting properly, please contact me and I will help you fix it.
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