How to Move WordPress to a New Host or Server With No Downtime

Are you looking to move your WordPress site to a new host or different server? The biggest risk when migrating a website to a new server is data loss and potential downtime. In this step by step guide, we will show you how to properly migrate… Read More »

The post How to Move WordPress to a New Host or Server With No Downtime appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you looking to move your WordPress site to a new host or different server? The biggest risk when migrating a website to a new server is data loss and potential downtime. In this step by step guide, we will show you how to properly migrate your WordPress site to a new host with no downtime.

Migrate WordPress to New Server

Important: Before we start, we want to remind you that most WordPress hosting companies offer free migration services. If they don’t publicly state that, then all you have to do is ask. Usually it’s free, but some may charge a small fee.

Step 1: Choose Your New WordPress Host

If you’re stuck with a slow web host even after optimizing your WordPress site for speed, it’s time to move your WordPress site to a new host that can handle your growing traffic.

When looking for a new WordPress hosting provider, it’s important to choose carefully, so you don’t have to move again any time soon.

Here’s who we recommend:

  • For reliable shared hosting, we recommend going with Bluehost. They’re officially recommended by WordPress.org. And with our Bluehost coupon, WPBeginner users get 60% off and a free domain name.
  • If you’re looking for cloud hosting or location-specific providers, then we recommend you check out Siteground. They have data centers across 3 different continents.
  • If you’re looking for dedicated servers, then we recommend you check out InMotion Hosting. Their commercial class servers and support are amazing.

After buying your new hosting, do NOT install WordPress. We’ll do that in a later step. For now, your new web host account should be completely empty, with no files or folders in your main directory.

Step 2: Set Up Duplicator for Easy Migration

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the free Duplicator plugin on the website that you want to move.

Duplicator is a free plugin that we highly recommend. We’ve written in the past about how to use Duplicator to move your WordPress site to a new domain name without losing your SEO rankings.

However, in this article we will walk you through how to use it to migrate your WordPress site with zero downtime. The process is similar, but this guide will focus on moving your hosting, while the other guide focuses on switching to a new domain (such as from www.oldsite.com to www.newsite.com).

Once you have installed and activated Duplicator, go to the Duplicator » Packages section in your WordPress admin area.

Next, you need to click the Create New button in the top right corner.

Duplicator Packages

After that, click the Next button and follow the steps to create your package.

Create a copy of your website using Duplicator

Make sure that your scan results check out (everything should say “Good”), and then click the Build button. The process may take several minutes to complete, so leave the tab open as it works.

Duplicator scan results

Once the process is complete, you need to click on both the Installer and then the Archive buttons to download the package. You will need both files.

Download Duplicator package

The archive file is a copy of your site, and the installer file will automate the installation process for you.

Step 3: Import Your WordPress Site to Your New Host

Now that you have downloaded both the archive and installer files, the next step is to upload them to your new web host.

You can do this by connecting to your new web host using FTP. If you’ve never done this before, check out our beginner’s guide to uploading files via FTP to WordPress.

Note: When setting up your FTP client to connect to your new web host, keep in mind that your domain name still points to your old web host. That means you’ll need to enter the IP address of your new host instead of your domain. This is to ensure that these files go to the new host rather than the old host.

Using your FTP client, upload both installer.php file and your archive .zip file to the root directory of your website. This is usually /username/public_html/ or /username/public_html/example.com where example.com is your domain name.

If you’re not sure, just ask your web hosting company.

Make sure that your root directory is completely empty. If you have WordPress installed in your root directory, then you need to delete WordPress first.

Step 4: Change The Hosts File to Prevent Downtime

Once you’ve uploaded both files to your new host, you need to access the installer.php file in a browser.

The file can be accessed using a URL like this:

http://www.example.com/installer.php

However, the problem is this URL will take you to your old web host, and you will get a 404 error. This is because your domain name is still pointing to your old web host.

Normally, folks will tell you to change your domain nameservers and point to your new host. However, that will result in your users seeing a broken website as you migrate it.

We’ll show you how you can access your new site temporarily on your computer, without affecting your old site.

This is done with a hosts file on your computer.

The hosts file maps domain names to specific IP addresses. In this step, we will show you how to add an entry for your domain name in the hosts file so that it points to your new host, but only when using your computer.

Making these changes will allow you to access the files on your new host using your own domain name, while the rest of the world will still be accessing your site from the old host. This ensures 100% uptime.

The first thing you need to do is find the IP address of your new web hosting server. To find this, you need to log into your cPanel dashboard and click on expand stats link in the left-hand sidebar. This will expand the sidebar showing you information about the status of your server. The information you need to copy is the Shared IP Address.

Finding your server's ip address in cPanel

In the next step, Windows users need to go to Programs » All Programs » Accessories, right click on Notepad and select Run as Administrator. A Windows UAC prompt will appear, and you need to click on Yes to launch Notepad with administrator privileges.

On the Notepad screen, go to File » Open and then go to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc. Select hosts file and open it.

Mac users will need to open the Terminal app and enter this command to edit hosts file:

sudo nano /private/etc/hosts

For both Windows and Mac users, at the bottom of the hosts file, you need to enter the IP address you copied and then enter your domain name. Like this:

192.168.1.22 www.example.com

Make sure that you replace the IP address with the one you copied from cPanel, and example.com with your own domain name. Save your changes, and you can now access your files on the new host using your domain name on your computer.

Important: Don’t forget to undo the changes you made to hosts file after you have finished the migration (step 5).

Step 5: Begin the Duplicator Migration Process

Now we’re ready to run the installer. Navigate to this address in your browser window, replacing example.com with your domain name:

http://www.example.com/installer.php

If you have not already created a database on your new host, then it is time for you to create a database in cPanel. Be sure to make note of the database username and password.

Once you have created the database, you will need to enter the database information in the fields below and then click on the Test Connection button.

Test your database connection

If the installer fails to connect to your database, then check the values you entered above and make sure they are correct.

Once you have successfully connected to your database, scroll down to read the warnings and notices and check the box confirming you’ve read them. Then click the Run Deployment button.

Run deployment

The installer will now import your database. The process may take several minutes, so keep the tab open as it works.

In step 2 of the installer, you’ll be asked to verify your old and new URL paths. Make sure it’s accurate and click Run Update to update your URLs.

In the final step, you can complete the process and verify that everything is working correctly by clicking the buttons in order.

Duplicator installer final steps

Important: Now you can remove the changes you made to your hosts file in step 4.

Step 6: Update Your Domain

At this point, you’ve created a complete copy of your WordPress database and files on your new hosting server. But your domain still points to your old web hosting account.

To update your domain, you need to switch your DNS nameservers. This ensures that your users are taken to the new location of your website when they type your domain into their browsers.

If you registered your domain with your hosting provider, then it’s best to transfer the domain to the new host. If you used a domain registrar like Godaddy, Namecheap, etc, then you need to update your nameservers.

You will need the nameserver information from your new web host. This is usually a couple of URLs that look like this:

ns1.hostname.com
ns2.hostname.com

For the sake of this guide, we will be showing you how to change DNS nameservers with GoDaddy. Depending on your domain registrar or web host, the screenshots may not reflect the setup on your registrar or web host. However the basic concept is the same.

Just look for domain management area and then look for nameservers. If you need assistance with updating your nameservers, you can ask your web hosting company.

First you need to login to your Godaddy account and then click on the launch button next to domains.

Launch domains

On the next screen, click on your domain name. You will see your domain details, along with your nameservers. You need to click on the manage link under the nameservers.

Manage nameservers

On the next screen, you will see a link to enter custom nameservers. Clicking on the link will open a form where you can enter your custom DNS nameservers.

Entering nameservers

Save your changes and you’re done.

You have successfully changed the nameservers. DNS changes can take 4 – 48 hours to propagate for all users.

Now since you have the same content on your old host and the new host, your users wouldn’t see any difference. Your WordPress migration will be seamless with absolutely no downtime.

To be on the safe side, you can wait to cancel your old hosting account until 7 days after your migration.

We hope that this step by step guide helped you move WordPress to your new host with no downtime whatsoever. If you come across any issues with your WordPress migration, then check out our guide on the most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

If you liked this article, then subscribe to our YouTube Channel for our WordPress video tutorials. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Move WordPress to a New Host or Server With No Downtime appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Move WordPress to a New Host or Server With No Downtime

Are you looking to move your WordPress site to a new host or different server? The biggest risk when migrating a website to a new server is data loss and potential downtime. In this step by step guide, we will show you how to properly migrate… Read More »

The post How to Move WordPress to a New Host or Server With No Downtime appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you looking to move your WordPress site to a new host or different server? The biggest risk when migrating a website to a new server is data loss and potential downtime. In this step by step guide, we will show you how to properly migrate your WordPress site to a new host with no downtime.

Migrate WordPress to New Server

Important: Before we start, we want to remind you that most WordPress hosting companies offer free migration services. If they don’t publicly state that, then all you have to do is ask. Usually it’s free, but some may charge a small fee.

Step 1: Choose Your New WordPress Host

If you’re stuck with a slow web host even after optimizing your WordPress site for speed, it’s time to move your WordPress site to a new host that can handle your growing traffic.

When looking for a new WordPress hosting provider, it’s important to choose carefully, so you don’t have to move again any time soon.

Here’s who we recommend:

  • For reliable shared hosting, we recommend going with Bluehost. They’re officially recommended by WordPress.org. And with our Bluehost coupon, WPBeginner users get 60% off and a free domain name.
  • If you’re looking for cloud hosting or location-specific providers, then we recommend you check out Siteground. They have data centers across 3 different continents.
  • If you’re looking for dedicated servers, then we recommend you check out InMotion Hosting. Their commercial class servers and support are amazing.

After buying your new hosting, do NOT install WordPress. We’ll do that in a later step. For now, your new web host account should be completely empty, with no files or folders in your main directory.

Step 2: Set Up Duplicator for Easy Migration

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the free Duplicator plugin on the website that you want to move.

Duplicator is a free plugin that we highly recommend. We’ve written in the past about how to use Duplicator to move your WordPress site to a new domain name without losing your SEO rankings.

However, in this article we will walk you through how to use it to migrate your WordPress site with zero downtime. The process is similar, but this guide will focus on moving your hosting, while the other guide focuses on switching to a new domain (such as from www.oldsite.com to www.newsite.com).

Once you have installed and activated Duplicator, go to the Duplicator » Packages section in your WordPress admin area.

Next, you need to click the Create New button in the top right corner.

Duplicator Packages

After that, click the Next button and follow the steps to create your package.

Create a copy of your website using Duplicator

Make sure that your scan results check out (everything should say “Good”), and then click the Build button. The process may take several minutes to complete, so leave the tab open as it works.

Duplicator scan results

Once the process is complete, you need to click on both the Installer and then the Archive buttons to download the package. You will need both files.

Download Duplicator package

The archive file is a copy of your site, and the installer file will automate the installation process for you.

Step 3: Import Your WordPress Site to Your New Host

Now that you have downloaded both the archive and installer files, the next step is to upload them to your new web host.

You can do this by connecting to your new web host using FTP. If you’ve never done this before, check out our beginner’s guide to uploading files via FTP to WordPress.

Note: When setting up your FTP client to connect to your new web host, keep in mind that your domain name still points to your old web host. That means you’ll need to enter the IP address of your new host instead of your domain. This is to ensure that these files go to the new host rather than the old host.

Using your FTP client, upload both installer.php file and your archive .zip file to the root directory of your website. This is usually /username/public_html/ or /username/public_html/example.com where example.com is your domain name.

If you’re not sure, just ask your web hosting company.

Make sure that your root directory is completely empty. If you have WordPress installed in your root directory, then you need to delete WordPress first.

Step 4: Change The Hosts File to Prevent Downtime

Once you’ve uploaded both files to your new host, you need to access the installer.php file in a browser.

The file can be accessed using a URL like this:

http://www.example.com/installer.php

However, the problem is this URL will take you to your old web host, and you will get a 404 error. This is because your domain name is still pointing to your old web host.

Normally, folks will tell you to change your domain nameservers and point to your new host. However, that will result in your users seeing a broken website as you migrate it.

We’ll show you how you can access your new site temporarily on your computer, without affecting your old site.

This is done with a hosts file on your computer.

The hosts file maps domain names to specific IP addresses. In this step, we will show you how to add an entry for your domain name in the hosts file so that it points to your new host, but only when using your computer.

Making these changes will allow you to access the files on your new host using your own domain name, while the rest of the world will still be accessing your site from the old host. This ensures 100% uptime.

The first thing you need to do is find the IP address of your new web hosting server. To find this, you need to log into your cPanel dashboard and click on expand stats link in the left-hand sidebar. This will expand the sidebar showing you information about the status of your server. The information you need to copy is the Shared IP Address.

Finding your server's ip address in cPanel

In the next step, Windows users need to go to Programs » All Programs » Accessories, right click on Notepad and select Run as Administrator. A Windows UAC prompt will appear, and you need to click on Yes to launch Notepad with administrator privileges.

On the Notepad screen, go to File » Open and then go to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc. Select hosts file and open it.

Mac users will need to open the Terminal app and enter this command to edit hosts file:

sudo nano /private/etc/hosts

For both Windows and Mac users, at the bottom of the hosts file, you need to enter the IP address you copied and then enter your domain name. Like this:

192.168.1.22 www.example.com

Make sure that you replace the IP address with the one you copied from cPanel, and example.com with your own domain name. Save your changes, and you can now access your files on the new host using your domain name on your computer.

Important: Don’t forget to undo the changes you made to hosts file after you have finished the migration (step 5).

Step 5: Begin the Duplicator Migration Process

Now we’re ready to run the installer. Navigate to this address in your browser window, replacing example.com with your domain name:

http://www.example.com/installer.php

If you have not already created a database on your new host, then it is time for you to create a database in cPanel. Be sure to make note of the database username and password.

Once you have created the database, you will need to enter the database information in the fields below and then click on the Test Connection button.

Test your database connection

If the installer fails to connect to your database, then check the values you entered above and make sure they are correct.

Once you have successfully connected to your database, scroll down to read the warnings and notices and check the box confirming you’ve read them. Then click the Run Deployment button.

Run deployment

The installer will now import your database. The process may take several minutes, so keep the tab open as it works.

In step 2 of the installer, you’ll be asked to verify your old and new URL paths. Make sure it’s accurate and click Run Update to update your URLs.

In the final step, you can complete the process and verify that everything is working correctly by clicking the buttons in order.

Duplicator installer final steps

Important: Now you can remove the changes you made to your hosts file in step 4.

Step 6: Update Your Domain

At this point, you’ve created a complete copy of your WordPress database and files on your new hosting server. But your domain still points to your old web hosting account.

To update your domain, you need to switch your DNS nameservers. This ensures that your users are taken to the new location of your website when they type your domain into their browsers.

If you registered your domain with your hosting provider, then it’s best to transfer the domain to the new host. If you used a domain registrar like Godaddy, Namecheap, etc, then you need to update your nameservers.

You will need the nameserver information from your new web host. This is usually a couple of URLs that look like this:

ns1.hostname.com
ns2.hostname.com

For the sake of this guide, we will be showing you how to change DNS nameservers with GoDaddy. Depending on your domain registrar or web host, the screenshots may not reflect the setup on your registrar or web host. However the basic concept is the same.

Just look for domain management area and then look for nameservers. If you need assistance with updating your nameservers, you can ask your web hosting company.

First you need to login to your Godaddy account and then click on the launch button next to domains.

Launch domains

On the next screen, click on your domain name. You will see your domain details, along with your nameservers. You need to click on the manage link under the nameservers.

Manage nameservers

On the next screen, you will see a link to enter custom nameservers. Clicking on the link will open a form where you can enter your custom DNS nameservers.

Entering nameservers

Save your changes and you’re done.

You have successfully changed the nameservers. DNS changes can take 4 – 48 hours to propagate for all users.

Now since you have the same content on your old host and the new host, your users wouldn’t see any difference. Your WordPress migration will be seamless with absolutely no downtime.

To be on the safe side, you can wait to cancel your old hosting account until 7 days after your migration.

We hope that this step by step guide helped you move WordPress to your new host with no downtime whatsoever. If you come across any issues with your WordPress migration, then check out our guide on the most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

If you liked this article, then subscribe to our YouTube Channel for our WordPress video tutorials. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Move WordPress to a New Host or Server With No Downtime appeared first on WPBeginner.

When Should You Change Your WordPress Web Hosting (Top 7 Key Indicators)

Are you frustrated with your WordPress hosting provider? Not sure whether you should switch hosts? In this article, we will share 7 key indicators to help you know when it’s time to change your web hosting. Overcoming The Biggest Fear Most beginners are afraid to… Read More »

To leave a comment please visit When Should You Change Your WordPress Web Hosting (Top 7 Key Indicators) on WPBeginner.

Are you frustrated with your WordPress hosting provider? Not sure whether you should switch hosts? In this article, we will share 7 key indicators to help you know when it’s time to change your web hosting.

Frustrated User

Overcoming The Biggest Fear

Most beginners are afraid to switch hosts.

Why? because it requires technical knowledge to move a website without any downtime.

If you’re somewhat savvy, then you can probably follow our tutorial on how to move WordPress to a new host without any downtime. Even though it doesn’t require any code thanks to BackupBuddy, it is still scary for a lot of beginner users.

Thankfully, most good hosting companies will migrate your site for you (specially if you ask nicely).

How much would they charge? That depends on how big your site is. In most cases, it’s free. Sometimes, you may pay a small fee. But this service is definitely available even if it’s not advertised. You just have to ask.

Now that you are relieved of your biggest fear, let’s take a look at 7 reasons why you should change your web host.

1. Frequent Unexpected Downtimes

Website Downtime

Downtimes are bad for your overall reputation (SEO rankings, traffic, etc). Nobody wants to visit a site that doesn’t open half the time.

If your site is down multiple times a week, then it’s a crystal clear indication that you need to switch.

How to tell if your site is down? Since you’re not visiting your site 24/7, it’s hard to know without a monitoring service. Thankfully there are services like Pingdom available that helps you monitor your site’s uptime for free.

You can always ask the hosting support staff about downtimes that occured. If they’re not convincing, then it’s time to move.

2. Error Establishing Database Connection

Error Establishing Database Connections

If you regularly see error establishing database connection on your site, then it means that you’re outgrowing your host servers or have a bad plugin.

In either case, your host support should be able to help you. If they’re unable to help, then you should switch to someone who will help.

3. Bizarre Internal Server Errors

Internal Server Error in WordPress

Internal server error is one of the most common WordPress errors and perhaps the most frustrating one as well. The error message itself is unable to point user in the right direction to fix it.

If these internal server errors are becoming too frequent on your site, then that’s a bad sign. Find your self a WordPress hosting provider that knows how to properly configure their servers for WordPress.

4. Site Suspension

Website Suspended

Most web hosting providers reserve the right to take down your site specially if there’s illegal activity going on.

However certain hosting companies suspend accounts without notifications for silly things such as overages.

Your host should care about your website because you’re trusting them with your digital real-estate. If a hosting company suspends your site without notification, then you need to have a serious conversation with them.

If that conversation doesn’t go anywhere, then it’s time to switch to a company that cares.

Also it’s important to keep backups because some hosts will hold your data hostage.

5. Poor Customer Support Service

Poor Customer Service

You’ll never find a host with 100% great customer service record. It’s just impossible to keep everyone happy. Not to mention, only the most pissed off users leave web hosting reviews.

Having that said, good customer service is crucial when it comes to web hosting.

You need to ask yourself the following questions: Is your hosting support staff quick to respond? Are they knowledgeable and helpful?

Sometimes the hosts simply deny assisting with WordPress claiming their support policy doesn’t cover software. If you don’t get good support, then it’s time to move.

6. Slow Page Speed

Strangeloop Speed Case Study

Speed is a really important factor to optimize your site for better user experience and higher search rankings.

Usually slow sites are caused by too many requests or too many users on the server. In either case, your host should be able to help you figure out why your site is running slow.

If the issue is too many requests, then it can be fixed with some tweaking, whether it’s removing a plugin or further optimizing the server. However if the issue is too many users, then the host will ask you to upgrade your plan.

7. Your Site Has Outgrown Your Host

Out Grown

If you have been blogging for a while, then it’s possible that your site has outgrown your host. On a shared hosting platform, your site shares the server resources with many other sites hosted on the same server. While you can control and limit the resources you use by using caching + CDN, you have no control on what other sites are doing.

If your site is much busier than other sites on the same server, then you will be actually slowing down other sites. Many shared hosting providers will then start terminating your resources without any warning.

If you start having issues with slow sites or finding yourself spending more time explaining the problem to customer support, then it’s probably likely that you’ve outgrown your host.

Ready to Switch?

Chances are if you are reading this article, then you have probably considered switching your web host.

Looking for a host that can deal with all the scenarios, provide rock-solid uptime, and top-notch support?

We recommend using Siteground. We recently switched our top site, List25, to their platform.

Their servers are highly optimized to run WordPress, offers built-in caching, CDN support, and the support is truly best in the industry (first-hand experience).

Best of all, it won’t break your bank as they have a plan for users of all levels. WPBeginner users get exclusive 60% discount on Siteground.

If you have a bigger budget and really large site, then you should consider looking at other managed WordPress hosting providers that only host WordPress sites such as Pagely and WPEngine.

We hope this article helped clear any doubts on your mind about when is the right time to change your WordPress host.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Google+.

To leave a comment please visit When Should You Change Your WordPress Web Hosting (Top 7 Key Indicators) on WPBeginner.