Migrating a WordPress blog is a very delicate operation where things can go VERY wrong. Thanks to my difficult migration, I learned a few lessons that helped me get through.
I thought moving my WordPress blogs would take me about six to eight hours at most but that was not to be. My experience was incredibly difficult thanks in total to my ISP. Despite that and with the help of some fantastic tech support reps, my blogs were successfully moved to their new home. Here are 10 steps that helped me keep some of my sanity during the process:
1. Decide when you’ll initiate the migration
If you have a blog that has a lot of traffic, you will need to plan for potential downtime. As you know more about your WordPress blog than anyone, you are the best person to decide when is the best time to make your move to your new webhost.
2. Test your FTP login
As a blogger and site owner, an FTP client, like FileZilla or CuteFTP should be a staple in your software arsenal. One of the things you want to do is to test your FTP login with the new webhost. I did his and found that I was receiving an error message when I tried to access my FTP site.
3. Download new emails
This is something that I forgot to do before my migration so I most likely lost some emails. Like some, I use MS Outlook to get email. What I didn’t do but should have done was to download new emails into Outlook ahead of time so that I minimize the chance of losing messages that come in during the migration. Once your start moving your WordPress blog to the new webhost, you will no longer have access to the old host’s mail server; that’s why it’s good to do ahead of time.
4. Use a plugin to backup your WordPress blog
The idea of moving each file one by one was not appealing and I needed a way to get this done quickly. Thanks to some great advice, I found a free WordPress plugin called BackWPup that not only backed up my blogs but really saved my sanity during a critical moment
5. Test the backup
Once you have the zip file of your WordPress blog(s), it’s always wise to test them. My webhost provided a test site for me to upload my extracted files. Once I took a look around and saw that everything was good, I knew the back up was sufficient and ready.
6. Create a new Database in your cPanel’s phpMyAdmin
This is where things get a little technical, so bear with me. If you’re going to moving an existing WordPress blog to a new host, you need to create a blank database in phpMyAdmin and import the table from your existing SQL database into that blank database. This is absolutely necessary if you want your blog to work at all.
7. Change your nameservers to the new host
Once you’ve tested and made sure everything is working, you change your nameservers to the new host. This means going back to the place where you bought your domain name and changing the ns1 and ns2 fields to the new webhost. If you don’t have these new nameservers, ask your webhost. This process takes about 4 hours to complete for each site so you have no choice but to wait.
8. Check to make sure your WordPress Blog is pointing to the right URL
When I moved by blogs, I was unable to get the login screen. So I had to go into the phpMyAdmin to modify two fields in my database table that were pointing to the test site and not the main url. Once I did that, I was able to login and get into my blog.
9. Create your Email accounts
Once everything was done, I still had to login and create my webmail accounts. I did this and then configured my Outlook to retrieve mail from the server. If you don’t have the addresses for your incoming and outgoing mail servers, ask your webhost. It’s also a good idea to configure your client to keep a copy of your messages on the server just in case you have problems with your mail client.
10. One important last step…Breathe
After 44 hours of what I thought would take eight, I realized that I was actually holding my breath. Once I made sure I was able to log into WordPress admin and get my emails, I actually breathed.
Moving your blogs to a new webhost is not an easy task but it does take some organization. Things can go wrong so it’s important to have great technical support staff who’s able to help you whenever and however you need it.
You can read more about my experience of moving my WordPress blogs to my new webhost and how I survived the curve balls.