How to Migrate WordPress Site Manually to New Host(2021)? Migrate With No Downtime.

If you are in search of how to migrate WordPress site manually to new host with no downtime, you may probably have and idea that migrating the WordPress site using backup plugins like UpdraftPlus can result you to a little bit of downtime. And consequently causing certain loss in business as well as SEO.

If you are tired because the plugins in the market specially developed for migration are not working at all. I am the same as you. Once I tried to migrate my website to new host using duplicator as well as All-in-One WP Migration plugins. Sadly, Duplicator as well as All-in-One WP Migration both stuck at certain point resulting a huge resource usage.

Then I investigated all the possible files that had relation with my installation and planned to frame duplicate of it on the other server I wanted to migrate. And that process actually worked. The process involved duplicating the WordPress files located on the installation directory, the associated database and the SSL certificate (however it is optional).

And after that, you can guess what I did. I am offering free WordPress site migration service through WordPress Mafia. We offer it for free because when someone get their new host the first headache is migrating the site to new host without affecting front-end. However, most of the time the hosting company makes migration service is available for free, it takes time.

So, if you are not sure about how do you do that, you can contact us after going through our services page. But if you are interested to learn how to migrate WordPress site manually to new host, just stick together. We assure that, if you follow our step-by-step guide on how to migrate WordPress site manually to new host, your site will not face downtime of even a single second.

Table Of Contents

How to Migrate WordPress Site Manually to New Host With No Downtime?

You can easily migrate WordPress site manually to new host without facing a single second of downtime. It can be possible if you follow our guide step by step.

The manual WordPress site migration process is in fact much easier than the migration method using the plugins like updraftplus of duplicator. We recommend to migrate WordPress site manually to new host or new domain. Because in manual method, you will have the following advantages.

  • You can save time required to setup the plugin in existing host as well as new host.
  • The time required to upload and download the files between your server and third party storage is higher than the time required when you download files from old server and upload the files to new server.
  • You can prevent your site from going offline. It is possible to point the domain to new server only after every files are place at right place.

So, the following is the step by step guide you can apply to migrate WordPress site manually to new host.

Decide the New Host to Migrate

If you are already searching for site migration, you may probably have a hosting server. But how about your host? Is it fast, reliable and able to handle the mass file transfer during the migration of your large site? If your server is not the best, here is what we recommend from our side.

You can get hosting plan for your WordPress site from Bluehost. Which of course is the secure, fast and trusted hosting service provider. It is also recommended by WordPress itself. Alternatively, you can also go for Hostinger, which also provides the best solution at really reasonable price.

If your site large and getting a lot of traffic, you can also go for VPS or Managed hosting service. For a managed server, we recommend WP Engine at the first place and Kinsta as it is a bit expensive although it worth it.

Add The Domain To New Host

You may probably have added the domain as main domain during purchase. Although, this step is not essential to mention we recommend do at least add the domain to your server control panel. If you have purchased a single domain hosting, you might be having the same domain is main domain.

Adding Domain

If you have a multiple domain hosting plan, you can add your desired domain to new server as an addon domain if the main domain occupied by other domain. You can even change the main domain to your desired domain generally by submitting a ticket, if you wish. The main message of this point is to get the domain added to the new server.

Compress and Export the Site Files

When we are planning to migrate WordPress site manually to new host, it requires all the site files to be downloaded to local storage. You can export the site files from server to local storage with the help of following steps.

  • Login to cPanel or Server control panel
  • Identify the desired site’s installation directory.
  • Compress the site installation directory to zip
  • Download the zip file
Compressing Files

You can either make zip of “Yourdomain” installation directory or the files and folders located inside the directory.

The compression type depends upon the hosting plan you own. If you own a single domain hosting, you can zip all the files inside the public_html. If you own multiple domain hosting, you have to choose the appropriate directory.

Export the Database

As I said earlier, the manual migration is just matter of identifying the associated files on existing server and making and exact duplicate of it on the new server. Database is the another most important thing that we need to replicate to migrate WordPress site manually to new host.

To export or download the database, you may need to identify the database location. In cPanel control panel, you can easily find the WordPress site’s database inside Databases section.

To download the database, scroll down to Databases Section and find PHPMyAdmin option and open it.

  • Identify the database (in case you have multiple) and open it.
  • Click on Export Tab
  • Choose the format as SQL
  • Click on the Go
Export Databases to migrate website

This will initiate the database download process in database_name.sql format. The download time depends upon the size and the server you own.

Move the SSL Certificate to New Server

When you migrate WordPress site manually to new host, it inherits the protocol setting (https) if configured in .htaccess file. When the site is accessed with any protocol , it will force redirect to https. But if the server does not contain the SSL installed on the domain, it will show warning to the visitor. Which probably bounces the visitors.

Migrate SSL during the manual migration of WordPress site

Therefore, go to your old server, find SSL/TLS setting>Manage SSL Sites. You will find the sites have installed SSL certificates. Click on Use SSL certificate for new site, it will show up the certificate, private key and CA bundle.

Copy the certificate, private key, and Certificate Authority Bundle: (CABUNDLE) and save as text somewhere in the notepad or you can simply install them on the new server.

Upload the Files to New Host

The files are the body of your site. So, it is important to create the duplicate of it on new server. Therefore, you have to upload the site files while you migrate WordPress site manually to new host.

When both the files and databases are saved on the local storage, login to new hosts control panel. Identify the location where the files for the desired domain lies. Upload the zip file of the WordPress files on the domain directory or public_html (in case, the domain is main)

How to Identify the Directory ?

If the domain is added as main domain on the control panel, you have to upload the files on root directory called public_html.

If the domain is added as addon domain, there are two possibilities.

  1. The Addon Domain may be inside public_html/yourdomain.com folder. Or
  2. The Addon Domain may be outside the public_html folder. If it is not, you can even move addon domain outside public_html folder.

Extract the Files and Place Properly

If you have zipped the domain directory, it will create a folder inside the directory. To Then you may have to move the files after extracting the zip files to actual root of the domain. If you have compressed the files inside domain directory, you can simply extract the files and delete the zipped one.

After extraction, delete the compressed file.

Upload the Database

Similar to exporting of database, you can also import the database from local storage to the server. Go to phpMyAdmin and import the data in .sql format.

Import the Database to migrate WordPress site manually

There is nothing much to do with database while you migrate WordPress site manually to new host. If the same has to be done during migration to new domain, there would be some modifications.

Upload and Insatll SSL Certificate

As mentioned earlier, SSL certificate is very important. If you forget to install the SSL certificate before you complete all the steps to migrate WordPress site manually to new host, it will impact on SEO. Suppose, if you are ranking at the top of Google for a competitive keyword, your ranking may drop within a day or few hours.

Therefore, go to control panel of the new host and fine the SSL/TLS manager and install the SSL certificate for your domain. Most of the hosting providers also set the ACME which automatically issues the SSL certificate when the domain points to the host with nameservers, not with other DNS records.

But ACME also takes some time in order to issue and install the certificate on your domain. So, it is better to copy the certificate, key and CABUNDLE and paste on respective fields and install it on your domain. This keep SEO unaffected while you migrate WordPress site manually or using plugin.

Set DNS Records (Nameservers or A record)

Domain name system is the last thing you will need to set/map to migrate WordPress site manually to new host. After properly completing all the steps, recheck if there is anything to complete.

Now, it is the time where you can point your domain to your new host. If you are using the nameservers to point to old host, you may want to change the nameservers to the new one.

If you are using the DNS manager of your registrar, Cloudflare or any other third parties, you can also point using the A records.

Wait till the dns gets propagated. You can check DNS propagation using the dns checker tools. The propagation may take some time in some region while in some region it might take upto 24 hours.

In this period, your site will be served partially from old host and partially from new host. Therefore, do not change modify or delete old host files after you successfully migrate WordPress site manually to new host.

Wrap Up

In this simple and easy way, you can migrate WordPress site manually to new host with zero downtime.

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