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Migrating your website to any other platform can always look daunting. With constant worries of whether any of your website files might go corrupt or missing in the process, website migration used to be a serious concern for much of the WordPress community. Not anymore.
With free migration and duplicator plugins hitting the WordPress plugin directory, changing gears to a better host or domain name is easier than ever before.
Previously, the long downtimes while migrating websites to a new server caused severe disadvantage for online store owners, as an unavailable website can’t drive sales, let alone greet a customer.
Follow some basic steps in that order, and you can now easily get your website transferred to your exciting new host in no time – with absolutely no downtime.
Choose a new host
You may be having a tough time running your website on an expensive host or their faulty services. Either way, there are way more options for you to choose from and make your shift within just a few clicks.
If you are unsure of hosts to choose from, here’s our comparison of 6 best cheap WordPress hosting services.
While selecting your new host, take in account the following factors to make sure they are in fact your best option.
- Make sure they have zero downtime. It’s to prevent downtime that you chose a host anyway.
- Check if they offer 24/7 customer service. Trust me, you’ll need help from time to time.
- Make sure that the plan is at the right price for your website’s requirements. Attractive offers can often derail you into choosing expensive plans for no actual benefits.
- Some of the most popular hosts have migration as a feature. Choose that if you are not sure about all the hassle that comes with backing up, migrating, and exporting website data.
- Security options like SSL certificates and firewalls are an absolute must for any web host. Make sure you have the maximum security settings available to you at all times.
Creating backups for your website
As a rule of thumb, you should always save the current version of your website before making any changes to your live website. This is to ensure that you won’t create any downtime while fixing your website through faulty plugins, themes, or updates.
While it is also a good option to have a scheduled backup, you can always start with manually backing up your website if your website is not content-rich or regularly updated with themes or plugins.
Your WordPress website back up will have a lot of things exported to your preferred location on your computer. So it is important to know how well you can backup your files and avoid any mistakes while doing so.
- Backing up your website doesn’t mean all your files are safe forever. If left unchecked, your website can run out of storage and miss out on parts of your backup. This means that you have to actively keep relevant backups and discard the ones that are redundant.
- Although web hosting services help you backup your website, make sure that these backups are accurate and if you can selectively restore files back to your website. For how long do these backups are retained by hosts is also another factor to consider here.
- You must ensure that all your backups are safely stored. Since these backups contain all your website details, it is prone to threats and attack from hackers.
After setting up your website on your brand new host, there are a couple of options to migrate your files from your previous website.
Let’s discuss one such method which doesn’t require you to do any tedious coding – by adding a migrator plugin.
5 step WordPress migration using WordPress Migration and Duplicator
Your WordPress website has a lot of files and databases that are saved on your hosts at all times. While transferring these files to another destination, there should be no margin for errors as one misstep and you get a collection of corrupt files.
So it is important to make sure your files and databases are migrated safely to your target website. WP migration and duplicator plugin is a free plugin that allows doing exactly that, with no coding needed whatsoever.
Here are the 5 steps quick migration sequence to fully migrate and publish your website on your new host.
Step 1: Install the WordPress migration and duplicator plugin on your existing website.
On your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New > WordPress Migration & Duplicator.
Step 2: Generate a migration file that includes all the files required as a zip file.
The files in this case will include multimedia, posts, and other data that you have on your website in addition to any or all databases that are already maintained within your site.
You can easily save the exported zip file to any desired destination on your pc.
Step 3: Install WP Migration and Duplicator plugin in the target site
Follow the same steps as Step 1. The files you exported are fully compatible to be added to your new website.
Step 4: Import the zip file into your new location. The plugin will move all files including theme files, plugin files, and transfer all existing databases to your new website.
You’ll get an exact copy of your previous website with no changes in plugins, themes, posts, or media.
Final: You will be logged out once the WP migration is completed, but don’t worry. This means that your website is fully migrated to your new host.
Backing up using the plugin
There’s an additional feature called Backup which lets you save versions of your website within your WordPress dashboard. Backing up, as we already discussed, is a crucial step to follow before making any changes to your live website.
As a safety measure, it is advised to backup your website from time to time or before you add in any plugin, theme, or feature update for your fully functioning website. In any case of a website crash, you can rest easy and use the backup of all your important files, databases, etc.
Migrating your website to create a staging environment
By now you have learned how to easily migrate your website to another host. But there’s one more area in building websites which might help you in the long run – creating staging environments.
Trying out new features on your fully functioning website could cause unexpected errors. So it is best that you create a clone of your website and test out your modifications, plugins, themes, or any additional functionality.
This new test website where all your experiments on your store are done is called a staging environment. You will find so many options that you can tinker with on your WordPress site.
Although you are free to change any feature of your website at any point, at times there could unintended errors that could cripple your site for hours. These errors could arise due to several reasons:
- Updating your WordPress website along with plugins
- Adding new plugins to your website
- Trying out an interesting new theme
You now see the importance of testing every change on your staging site first, just to be safe. Perhaps your new host has a staging functionality to help you out. In any case, you can also create a staging website by following these 3 simple steps:
- First, migrate your WordPress website to an existing subdomain
- Next, make this subdomain private using .htaccess and adding noindex rules.
- You’re all set now. Migrate this test site to your live site and see your changes reflected there.
Even though migrating seems difficult, it is often a great step for your growing business. Low storage, higher premiums, and reduced features can all be tackled by choosing the right host from time to time.
With the right plugins, you can seamlessly transfer entire data from websites to better hosts and make sure that your website progresses at all times. So keep an eye out for better platforms to showcase your website without the fear of changing hosts.