Migrate WordPress to a new Host

We can do this for you, for free

Managed Hosting means we handle the technical stuff so you don't need to. Open a help desk ticket and we can get this done for you, usually within a business day. There is no charge for this service

This is a common request, and it’s a simple and fast process once you know what you’re going.

We are going to use the All-In-One WP Migration tool, now owned by ServMask.  You can read more about the extension on the WordPress site if you like, but basically this is a paid plugin that has some free features too.  We will walk through a free way to use the plugin to migrate the site, but you can simplify the process if you purchase the plugin for $69 per year.


Step 1: Install the plugin on the site you're migrating from

Plugin installation is easy: on the left-hand menu, choose Plugins, Add New Plugin:

On that page, search for All-in-one and install the Migration and Backup tool:

The install button will become an activate button.  Make sure your click Activate.


Step 2: Download your backup

After you refresh your screen,  you will see that the menu on the left has a new section: 

Choose Export, then click the green box and select File.  You can safely ignore the advanced options in most cases:

It will be obvious this is working:

When the button turns green and starts to grab your attention, click it to initiate the download.  This will download a file with the extension .wpress.

Congratulations!  Now you have a full backup of your site, ready to upload to your new server.


Step 3: Configure your web site and staging site (optional)

Your web site should have been created when you signed up for your account.  The simple way to move to your new site is to simply change your name servers to the wellbuiltnetworks.net name servers, wait for your new site to pop up in your browser once the DNS changes have propagated across the Internet, and restore your site then.  The problem here is downtime – you really want your web site to stay up the whole time the migration is happening, don’t you?

So we will create a staging web site that we will restore to, and when the restore is done we will copy that to the domain we are hosting for you, so when you change nameservers it will all be transparent.

Here’s the process:

a: Click the Add Website button

This looks confusing, but it’s pretty simple.  Here’s the option screen:

You want to choose a staging website that is a clone of your existing web site.  Choose a staging domain name, and select your web site from the thumbnails below.

Then scroll down and click the Add button.

You can watch the process complete, then click Manage website when the process is complete.

b: Update your SSL certificate (optional)

SSL certificates are the method web sites and web browsers use to encrypt data sent over the connection.  By default your staging certificate was created with a SSL certificate that is secure, but your browser will complain because the certificate isn’t issued by a known certification authority.  This causes warnings in web browsers and reduces the trust that your site is legitimate.

A self-signed certificate is indicated in your control panel by a gold-colored lock symbol.  

Let’s turn that green, which means you’ve got a trusted SSL certificate.

First, click Security on the top menu.

That will take you to this page – note that I opened the menu to the right:

Most people will choose the top option to request a Let’s Encrypt certificate.  You can watch the process at the bottom of your page:

c: Log in to your staging web site

Now, click the Home button on the top menu, and then log in to the WordPress site on your staging domain:


Step 4: Install the plugin on the new site

This is where things get a little confusing.  If you use the free All-in-One WP Migration and Backup plugin, you may be unable to restore your data to your new web site without upgrading your license.  This is new – the old version of the plugin supported that functionality, so we are going to use the old version.

You can download version 6.7 of this plugin here, or you can download the old plugin from the WordPress Plugin Directory as they maintain a copy of all old plugin versions.

We are going to expand the Plugins menu on the left and choose Add New Plugin, but differently this time:

This time, we are going to upload the plugin from our computer.  Click this button

Then choose the zip file you just downloaded with the old version of the plugin, and click Install Now.

Once installed, click the Activate Button.

Step 5: Upload your backup

When you clicked the “Login to Admin” button in your control panel to log into WordPress, that opened in a new tab.

Go back to the previous tab, and choose the Files option on the top menu bar.

That brings up a file browser for your web site.  Double-click on public_html

Now choose the wp-content folder in the top middle:

And now choose the ai1wm-backups folder

We are now in the folder where backups made with the All-in-one Migration and Backup plugin would be stored, and we are going to click Upload, and upload the .wpress file we downloaded before:

You’ll see the progress in the lower-right of your screen, and will know when this is complete:


Step 6: Restore from Backup

We’re almost done.  In this step we are going to tell the plugin to restore from backup, which will overwrite all our files and our database with the data from your backup.  Once this is complete you will need to login with the same credentials on the new site as you did on the old site.

So, go back to the tab with your new WordPress site in it, go to the All-in-One WP Migration tab on the left, and choose backups:

You should see one backup there (the one we just uploaded), and on the right are three buttons.  Click the grey restore button:

You will get a scary message which you should read:

If you click proceed your site will be completely overwritten.  So check the URL and make sure you’re looking at the staging set you created (it will look like <sitename>.staging.wellbuiltnetworks.net if you are on the right tab.)

Once you are certain you are on the correct site and you want to overwrite it, click Proceed.

You will be able to see the status of the process

Now, this step is very important:

Click where permalink settings is linked in blue, then click Save Changes, then click Save Changes again.  This insures that the permalink names are updated correctly, in case you changed the name of the web site as part of your migration.

Don’t overthink it.  Just click the button two times.


Step 7: Push the staging site live

What we have done is this:

  • Your original WordPress is with your old hosting provider.
  • The web site that was created when you created your account with us is empty, because it was installed automatically by the system and you haven’t put any data there yet.
  • We copied your empty site it to a “staging” web site.  This is a place where you can test changes to your web site and not worry about breaking the main site, or (in this case) where we can restore a copy of your web site as it exists at another hosting provider.
  • Now that your staging web site looks the way you want your main site to look, we need to “push it live,” which means your main site on your new web server (which is currently empty) will be overwritten by your staging web site.
  • Once this is complete your web site hosted with us will be identical to your web site hosted with your old provider, so you can finalize the move with DNS settings.

So make sure you are happy with the way your staging site is working.  It should be identical to your existing site at your old provider, except it has a different URL and is hopefully faster now.  When you’re happy go back to your web control panel, click the Home button, and choose Push Live, to an existing web site:

Select the web site you want to overwrite in the drop down control, then click Push Live.