Migrate WordPress without a migraine

Changing to a new web host is  daunting. It may seem easier to stay with the ‘devil’ you know, than to switch to a new supplier. Last week, I faced the challenge of finding a cost-effective solution for hosting my WordPress websites. I manage seven WordPress sites. After emailing a few questions to potential suppliers and engaging in additional online research, including customer complaints on social media, I was ready to make the move. Now, came the huge task of migrating my seven WordPress websites.

Tips to help migrate WordPress from my own experience

Tips to help migrate WordPress from my personal experience
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Seven tips to help migrate WordPress

Here are some tips drawn from my own experience, to help you migrate WordPress to a new web host:

  1. Check WordPress compatibility
  2. Check the compatibility of your plugins
  3. Read through articles on how to migrate WordPress
  4. Copy your web files and database
  5. Change your domain name servers
  6. Check your database information and password in the config file
  7. Cancel your old web hosting service
WordPress is my favorite CMS

WordPress is my favorite CMS for Websites and Blogs.

 1. Check the compatibility of your host with WordPress

Before you purchase web hosting, first check if the web host is compatible with WordPress. The last thing you want to do, is to sign up with a new host without checking the services they offer. Luckily for us, WordPress.org provides information on the minimum requirements for WordPress.

2. Check the compatibility of plugins

Security plugins such as BulletProof Security Pro (BPS Pro) may have additional hosting requirements and instructions for migration.

3. Read through articles on how to migrate WordPress

Migrate WordPress without the stress

Reduce the stress of your WordPress migration with preparation.

Here are additional online resource articles I found useful in my preparation

4. Copy your web files and database

  • Create your own WordPress migration checklist
  • Notify your website users of downtime
  • Lock users out of your website
  • Check, turn off, deactivate or remove any security plugins, such as BPS Pro
  • Use an ftp client to copy your WordPress web directory and files to your computer
  • Export your SQL database and save a copy of the database locally

5. Change your Domain Name Servers

An often overlooked step during the migration of a website is the change to domain name servers.  When you order web hosting, your new web host should provide you with your Domain Name Servers. A Domain Name Server is like a home address for your website. It directs traffic to the server location of your website. If you forget to change your domain name servers, you could be

  • looking at your old website on your old host if it is still running, or
  • receiving an error message from your browser, such as “Oops! Your broswer can not find yourwebsite.com

Oops Error Message often related to NameServer issues

To change your domain name servers, you need to access your domain registration account details and change the server address where it says “Nameservers”.  This often looks like

  • ns1.nameserver.com
  • ns2.nameserver.com

6. Check your database information and password in the config file

If you first installed a new copy of WordPress and set up a new mysql table, you may need to configure the database and user names, and database password in your WordPress config.php file. If there is an issue with the configuration, you will get an error that says something like, “Error establishing a database connection” message.

7. Cancel your old web hosting service

Once your new web host has your WordPress website up and running, make sure you contact your old web host if you no longer require their services, and cancel your hosting.  Do not get caught with a payable invoice you no longer require.

Final considerations to help migrate WordPress

In step 4, I mention creating a custom WordPress Migration checklist to assist with your migration. Double check your checklist to ensure you have completed all the necessary steps. Go through your website and check for errors.

Uh-oh, Huston we have a problem – White screen of death strikes

Out of the seven websites I migrated in the last few days, one website site had a corrupt theme stopping me from going into the CMS back end. I ended up with the dreaded white page of death.

Using phpMyAdmin I removed the offending theme from the database and replaced the option with a standard theme name such as twentyfourteen. This then gave me access to the backend and the motivation to redesign the website. All the rest of the WordPress websites migrated smoothly.

If you strike a problem while migrating, get some sleep, contact your hosting support and wake up with a fresh perspective. Use the tips I’ve put together above to help make your WordPress migration, a stress free and enjoyable experience.

Migrate WordPress

Celebrate when you successfully migrate WordPress to a new Web Host

Happy migrating!

Comments, thoughts?

%d bloggers like this: