How To Backup and Move a WordPress Website

move a WordPress website

WordPress has been dominating the CMS market for years, holding over 60% of the market share. Starting as a simple blog application today, you can find all kinds of websites that utilize WP portfolios, entertainment websites, business pages, even ecommerce shops.

Finding a reliable hosting provider for your WordPress project is essential for your success and getting it right from the first try is not always possible. Also checking web server speed is an important step when choosing a new hosting company.

That’s why you have to be prepared in cases where you need to migrate you WP data to another provider. There are three main ways to do that.

How To Move a WordPress Website Manually

This is the longest route you could take, but also the one that will give you the most experience. You just need to follow a few key steps:

  1. Back Up Your Website Files

Once you’ve signed up with the new host, you can export your files from the old one. You can do this with an FTP program like Filezilla or use the in-built file manager most providers have within their control panel.

  1. Back Up and Export Your Database

The next step is to back up your WordPress database. To do that, you need to go to the control panel with your old host and find the phpMyAdmin option. Click on it, and you will see a list with your databases on the left of your screen. Choose the desired WP table and click on the Export option. This will create a copy and store it on your local machine.

  1. Create a Database on the New Server

Now, you need to go back to your new WordPress hosting provider. Look for the MySQL Databases option in the control panel. Once inside, click on the New Database option and follow the steps to create the new table. Then go back and do the same procedure, this time creating a New User to tie to your newly-created MySQL. The last thing to do here is returning to the phpMyAdmin and importing the .sql file you exported earlier.

  1. Upload the Site Files You can move your WordPress files in the root folder or a subfolder, depending on how you intend to open the content. If you want your page to appear when the visitor goes to yourdomain.com, you can leave the field for installation directory empty, and everything will go to the main folder. Analogically, you can put in a subfolder name, and your WP site will reside on yourdomain.com/subfolder.
  1. Edit the wp.config.php file But how will your website know exactly what content to open? One of the last steps is locating your wp.config.php file and opening it with a right mouse click, View/Edit option. You will see long lines of code, but don’t worry the only thing you need to edit is in three specific ones:

define(‘DB_NAME, ‘db_name’);

define(‘DB_USER, ‘db_user’);

define(‘DB_PASSWORD, ‘db_pass’);

You simply need to change the existing values with the credentials you put while creating your new WordPress database. Save the changes.

  1. Change the DNS Records Now that you were able to migrate your WordPress site content to the new provider, it’s time to also “tell” our domain where our website pages reside. To do that, go to where your domain name is registered and find the option to edit your DNS settings. You need to replace the existing information there with the nameserver information provided by your new provider. DNS changes have a propagation time of 24-48 hours, but it usually takes much less than that.

Congratulations! You are now ready to move a WordPress website all by yourself.

How to Move a WordPress Website via Plugin

One of WP’s biggest competitive advantages is its versatility, and that is largely due to its ever-expanding library of plugins. They can help with essential security, new functionalities, and easy user management. Naturally, some add-ons can handle website migrations for you.

Here are a few of the most popular WP transfer plugins on the market:

  • Duplicator copies both files and databases, automates your migration almost completely.
  • All-In-One WP Migration creates full site copies in minutes, best suited for smaller WP projects.
  • WP Migrate DB fast and straightforward database migration. Takes care of the export, but you still need to import your .sql file afterward.

Whichever tool you choose, it will be an excellent time-saver compared to the manual WordPress migration.

Professional WordPress Website Migration

All reliable hosting providers realize that moving a WordPress website on your own is an unnecessary hassle. That’s why they are more than happy to take of the migration. Depending on the host, you can even benefit from multi-site transfers.

The benefits of this route are apparent. You have a whole team of professionals at your disposal, having hundreds of successful migrations behind their back.

Scala Hosting is a bright example of a host with a smooth onboarding process. Your account is activated within seconds, and the support team is 24/7 available to help with your file and database transfer. Depending on the size of your WordPress site, the whole migration might not take more than an hour or so.

You can reach the Scala operators via live chat or submit a ticket through the internal helpdesk.


Switching between hosts was a rare occasion just a few years ago. The process was often costly, time-consuming, and came with a lot of unnecessary hassle for the inexperienced user.

Luckily, forward-thinking providers and user-friendly applications like WordPress have simplified things for individuals and online businesses. Regardless if you go for a manual migration, transfer plugin, or your host’s expertise the solution is often within a few mouse clicks.