At Isotropic we move many websites from development hosting to live hosting per week. We also see tons of questions about how best to migrate your WordPress website on Facebook and Reddit. There seems to be a lot of confusion about doing this, and the actual complexity around it.
At least in our opinion, migrating a WordPress website is pretty easy, as long as you have the right (free) tools. In this blog post we're going to introduce the tools that we use to migrate websites as an agency, how to install them, set them up, and use them. We hope that this post will make a good reference guide to migrate websites, and simplify your life!
We use a free tool called All-in-one WP migration to migrate our websites, which is a plugin for WordPress. This is a simple, one click tool that will export your website in a package. You can then reinstall the website on any installation of WordPress by simply uploading the file and clicking import.
You want the PHP version of the old website and the new installation to be the same & you also want the WordPress version to be the same as well, as this will minimize any migration issues that you might have. Also, whatever you do, do not delete the existing website without completely migrating to the new website and testing that everything works.
You'll also want to follow the best practices of migrating your website. Ensure that everything is ready to go before you export your site -- this means you'll need to be able to login to the new website, make sure everything functions on the site and more.
A big issue that we encounter is reCAPTCHA locking users out of their migrated websites. Many of the time, this plugin or additional security plugins will not allow you to log into the new installation of your website ( upon import, you will be required to sign into the new site).
Our recommendation is to always disable every single plugin related to login/security that your website is using, and then re-enable that plugin upon migration.
We haven't had any issues with licenses failing to renew or function on migrated websites -- this is because you're basically making a direct copy of your website, just putting it on a new server.
Migrating your website with this free tool is extremely simple. You export the .wpress file from your old site location to your desktop, and then simply re-upload that same file to the place you would like to migrate your website to.
On the receiving side of your migration, where you want the website to end up, you already need to have an installation of WordPress. You can install a base version of WordPress, or you can have an existing website that you will overwrite, but you need to have a functioning version of WordPress to migrate your website to. This is because the migration tool is a plug-in, so you'll need to install it on both ends of your migration.
This plug-in will automatically change all urls in your newly migrated website, to the URL of the existing receiving WordPress installation.
From the screenshot, you can see that there are several Advanced features that you can use with this plugin. You don't really need to mess around with them if all you want to do is migrate a standard WordPress website. But you have the ability, even with the free version of this plug-in, to incorporate Advanced features into your migration.
You can also use this tool to manually backup your WordPress websites. All you need to do is the first half of the migration, which is exporting the .wprs file. You can then store the file on your desktop, and if anything goes amiss with the website, you can restore that version from the file.
As you can see, with this plugin, it is super easy and simple to migrate a website from one location to another. All you need is All In One WP Migration, a desktop to download the file to, and two installations of WordPress on either end of your migration.
Be sure to follow the best practices when migrating your website, but other than that, the process is super simple and hands-off. Good luck!