Moving a WordPress blog to a new hosting company is not difficult if you follow these steps. The WXR method requires minimal technical skills. You just need basic skills using an FTP utility to download and upload files and directories.
The first time someone moves a web site to a new hosting company can be a scary experience, but sometimes it is necessary due to problems with some hosting companies. The WXR method does not require any in-depth technical skills, but if you are not technically inclined it might be a good idea to have someone standing by who can help you with technical problems.
The most important part of moving a WordPress site is to make sure that you have a good copy of the WordPress data, a complete copy of the theme directory for the theme that you are using, a list or copy of the plugins directory and a copy of the wp-config.php. If you have good copies of all of these files, your move should go smoothly.
The WXR method is by far the easiest way to move a WordPress blog.
At the Old Host
- Use WordPresses’s Export feature to create an copy of the posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags for the site at your old host. This creates an XML file in a special WXR (WordPress Extended RSS) format that is designed to work with WordPress. The Export feature is on the admin Tools menu. Select All Content for the export. Save the file to your PC.
- Download a copy of the entire wp-content directory to your PC. This will include your plugins, themes and images saved int he upload subdirectory. You do NOT need to download a copy of the entire WordPress installation.
- Download a copy of the wp-config.php file to your PC. You will be saving this file as a reference.
- Make copies of any special files from the root directory, such as the robots.txt file (if used) or a specially configured .htaccess file.
- Take notes for any special configuration issues in the admin section, such as the permalink configuration in the Settings section of the menu.
After you are sure that you have good copies of all of this information, change the nameservers for your domain at your domain registrar to point to the new server. The new hosting company will provide this information.
It usually takes only a few hours for the nameserver change to propagate through the global DNS servers, but it can take up to 72 hours. You will not be able to complete the move until this change takes effect. Strange things can happen during the waiting period, so do not panic if you cannot immediately access the domain name at the new hosting company. Sometimes it is a good idea to make the nameserver change at night and then plan to set up the hew hosting the first thing in the morning. That almost always works.
At the New Host – After Nameserver Change
- Do a fresh install of WordPress at your new hosting company after the nameserver change has taken effect.
- Upload the contents of the saved copy of the wp-content directory to that directory in the new installation.
- Make sure that any special configuration settings have been changed in the new wp-config.php configuration file for the new installation. The new database settings and password will undoubtedly be different, so you cannot simply copy the old configuration file over the new one.
- Copy the robots.txt file (if used) to the root directory for the new installation.
- If there were any special configuration directives in an old .htaccess file, transfer those to the new .htaccess file and copy it to the root directory.
- Log into the admin for the new installation. Make sure that any special settings, such as the permalink configuration, are the same as the old installation.
- Go to the Appearance section of the menu and activate your original theme.
- Go the Plugins page and activate the plugins that you used at the old host.
- In the Tools section of the menu, select Import, then select WordPress as the import type. If prompted, you may have to install the WordPress importer. Just follow the instructions. Import the WXR file from the location where you saved in on your PC. This should load all of your posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags from the old installation into the new.
- If you were using the Upload subdirectory in the wp-content directory to upload images, you will have to set permissions for this directory using your FTP utility.
Carefully review the new installation and look for any issues that may need to be resolved. Most of the time, moving a WordPress blog is pretty simple, but there are times when things do not go as planned. Some hosting companies will assist you with a WordPress move, so if you are a complete newbie when it comes to dealing with web site technical issues, you may want to seek a hosting company who will perform the move for you.