As you run a WordPress website, there may come a time where you decide that you need to move it:
- From a subdomain to a main directory, or
- To a new and better web hosting service (for example, if your current one is too slow or doesn’t provide enough storage space).
Alternatively, you may want to push new features on a local version of your website to your live server.
Whichever is the case, migrating your WordPress website is the way to go. It involves moving your current WordPress installation from one server to another, without affecting your website’s functionality.
While you can do a migration using one of the plentiful WordPress migration plugins in the market, many web hosts (including Krystal!) will gladly handle the migration for you if you’re looking to switch hosting providers. Relying on such dedicated WordPress migration services can help you:
- Receive expert help on your migration
- Avoid running into errors or downtime during the migration
- Prevent inadvertent data loss
- Save time on DIY-ing the migration
It’s a really attractive prospect, especially if you’re unfamiliar with web development!
But before you start migrating your website (whether through a WordPress migration service or WordPress plugin), take the time to plan your migration and make it a success. Here are eight issues to consider when migrating a WordPress website:
1. Backing up your files
Before migrating your website, take a backup of your website files. That’s because depending on the migration plugin that you’re using, you may need to upload this backup to your new server to complete the migration. In any case, it’s just good practice to back up your website before making any major changes to it (and a website migration definitely counts as one of them).
What should you be backing up? Well, pretty much all the files that you want to migrate. These could be your:
- WordPress databases
- WordPress theme files
- Website content, including your WooCommerce, ecommerce or multisite content (if any)
- Media files, such as images and videos
Make a list of all these files, so you can easily keep track of whether you’ve backed up everything that needs to be backed up.
2. Transferring your files
With your files backed up, you’ll need to transfer them to your new server. Consider questions such as:
- How will you transfer the files? For example, will you need to upload them via FTP (which means that you’ll need FTP access to your new web host)? Or can you upload a backup via your WordPress dashboard?
- How much data do you have to transfer? Large sites will necessarily involve transferring more files over. If you’ll be using a migration plugin to take a backup of your website, check whether the plugin’s file upload limit is large enough for uploading and restoring your backup on the destination website.
- Can you continue to work on your site while the transfer is in progress? You can, but you ideally shouldn’t. Otherwise, you run the risk of your work not being transferred over. It’s preferable to wait until the migration is complete before making further changes to your website.
3. Updating your domain name
As part of the website migration, you may decide to update your domain name. For example, this could involve migrating your website from the “myawesomewebsite.com” domain to the “myfantasticwebsite.com” domain.
To ensure that your website is accessible at its new domain, you will need to point the new domain to your server’s Domain Name System (DNS) records. (If you are changing web hosts, be sure to point the new domain to the DNS records belonging to your new host, and not that of your old host.)
You may also need to update your add-on and alias domains, and subdomains while migrating your WordPress site. If this sounds like a lot of work, be reassured that we’ll help you update all these for free if you are migrating from a cPanel host to our servers.
4. Reconfiguring your URLs
Apart from updating your domain name, you may also want to change the structure of your URLs when executing a WordPress website migration.
For instance, perhaps your blog post slugs currently come immediately after your domain name, such as “myawesomewebsite.com/blog-post”. After the migration, however, you want to park them under a blog subdirectory for search engine optimisation (SEO) purposes, such as “myawesomewebsite.com/blog/blog-post”.
Needless to say, manually rewriting and redirecting all your URLs can be quite a chore. However, the more comprehensive migration plugins include find-and-replace features to automatically update your migrated URLs for you. They’re a must-have if you have many URLs to reconfigure!
5. Minimising website downtime
When migrating your WordPress site, be mentally prepared for your website to experience downtime.
For example, if you are migrating your website to a new server, you might need to wait 24 to 72 hours for the changes to your DNS records to fully “propagate”, and be updated across the entire Internet. But if your previous web server has already been taken offline, then your website may not be accessible until your DNS records have finished propagating.
Apart from that, if something goes wrong during the migration, your migrated website may not display properly - also causing it to be inaccessible.
Any time that your website is offline is a time that could equal lost traffic and lost revenue. So take utmost care when migrating your website - the goal is to achieve as close to zero downtime as possible. If you aren’t feeling confident in your ability to do so, it may be worthwhile to leave the job to a professional website migration expert.
6. Migrating your email accounts
If there’s one thing that’s often overlooked during website migrations, it’s the fact that you may need to also migrate your email accounts. You don’t want your website to be successfully migrated, only for incoming emails to disappear into the ether!
Fortunately, email migration is a much easier process than website migration. In Krystal, for example, we offer an IMAP sync tool for users to conveniently migrate their inboxes from their old hosting company. Simply create your new mailbox where emails should be sent to, and fill in your source and destination mailbox details. Then, start the email migration process and sit back as our tool does all the heavy lifting for you.
7. Price of migration
Many website migration plugins and services aren’t free. For instance, the WP Migrate DB plugin costs US$49 per year, while BackupBuddy costs US$80 per year, at their cheapest plans. And apart from the financial cost, you’ll also have to spend time:
- Learning how to migrate a website, and then
- Actually carrying out the migration yourself.
All these may take away valuable time from attending to other responsibilities. So instead of incurring all these costs, why not make use of a free migration service?
At Krystal, we provide complimentary website migrations when you are coming over from a cPanel host. We’re also happy to migrate up to three websites from non-cPanel hosts for free, with subsequent website migrations costing a low £10 + VAT.
Similarly, if your website runs WordPress, we’ll do a free WordPress migration to our powerful Onyx managed hosting platform. There’s really no better deal if you’re looking to migrate your website in an error-free manner and with no hassle.
8. Availability of support
How much real human help will you have during the migration process? While you might be able to reach out to a customer support team if you run into issues using a migration plugin, nothing beats having a professional oversee and carry out the entire migration on your behalf. In particular, getting your new hosting provider to help with the migration is ideal. With extensive knowledge of their servers and systems, they’ll be best placed to provide ongoing support after the migration.
And Krystal does just that - when using our website migration service, you can arrange a call with our team of website and WordPress experts to discuss your migration and plan it in detail. When the migration is done, our team will also do a thorough check of your migrated website to ensure that everything is working as expected. We aim to provide complete peace of mind at every stage of the migration process, no matter how complex your migration may be.
Tap on our free WordPress migration service when you switch to Krystal
As you can see, there are many things to keep in mind when migrating your WordPress website. Some of these, such as transferring your files and reconfiguring your URLs, are more technical in nature. On the other hand, other issues touch on practical considerations, such as cost and availability of support.
Getting a handle on all these different matters can be daunting, especially if you are migrating your website for the first time. However, if you are looking to change WordPress hosting providers, we’ll take care of the complicated migration work for you at no extra charge if you opt for one of our managed WordPress hosting plans.
We’ve designed these plans to offer nothing but the best performance for WordPress website owners. For example, our users enjoy generous solid-state drive website storage, with their websites being served from enterprise-grade hardware for maximum performance and reliability. Our LiteSpeed caching technology provides blazing-fast load speeds that both your visitors and search engines will love, while our real-time distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection and free SSL encryption keep your website safe and secure.
We’ve hosted over 127,000 WordPress websites so far and would be honoured to have you join the fold. Sign up for a 30-day trial of our managed WordPress hosting plans to redeem your free WordPress migration service and get started.
About the author
I'm Darren and I'm the Senior Copywriter at Krystal. Words are what I do. Aside from writing, I play guitar and sing in my band Machineries Of Joy, work on getting my 2nd Dan in Taekwondo and seek adventure with my wife and daughter.
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