How to effectively move your WordPress site from one domain to another

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One question that we get daily is about the transfer of a WordPress site from one domain to another. When you first think about it it sounds like a scary undertaking, but one fast realize that its a easy move and within an hour or two, you can have a site moved painlessly.

The main parts

It’s important to visualize what is going to happen and to understand the process, so lets start by a clear path of all the actions that need to take place.

First you need to copy all the files from one domain to the next, followed by a copy of the database file.

Next you need to change the configuration file to tell WordPress what the settings are so that it can connect to the database at the new site.

Lastly you need to get a quick way to replace all the references of your old web address with the new one in your site.

Tools needed

This project will also need additional resources so lets get all the tools ready that we will need.

1. A ftp program to copy files from and to different locations. If you have not worked with a ftp program before, I suggest you start with Filezilla.

2. A text editor to change the contents of files. For Mac you can get the free app from the mac appstore called textwrangler. For windows you can install notepad++ as a good alternative for windows.

3. Your web hosting company on speed dial.

Things to sort with your host

First your host should assist you or point you to a tutorial that will assist you in creating a database and user for the database on the new domain.

after your database creation is finnished you should have the following ready to add to your files:

  • Database Name
  • Username that have authorization to use the database
  • Password for the user
  • Password for the user
  • Host for the database

Next your host should assist you in login in to your phpmyadmin in the old domain and export the database.

Lastly you will also need the following for both the old and new domain:

  • Ftp host
  • Ftp username
  • FTP password

 

The Recipe

First copy all the wordpress files from the old site to your desktop. We’re talking all the files here, below is a list of all the files and folders that should be copied.

Next export your database from your phpadmin. ask your host if you are unsure.

Now open the database with the text editor and search and replace all the references of the old site with the new one. You should replace: www.old_site.com with www.new_site.com.

If you feel unsure about this part, you can also use a plugin to make the changes. The search and replace plugin will do the same for you. you will then use the plugin after all the files and database was moved.

Following that copy all the files that now resides on your desktop to the new location.

Second from last you will import the database that you changed into the new database with phpmyadmin. Again you should ask your host for assistance if you are unsure.

Lastly you will add the details of the new database in the config.php file.

Your new site should now be live and working.

Things to remember

When you copy the files and the database. keep a fresh copy in one place as a backup that can be restored when needed.

If you are moving to a new host, ask them if they will doe the move of the files for you.
A Lot of hosts are prepared to do all of the above for new customers.

Do not overcomplicate things. It really is just a simple copy paste and renaming process.