How can I move a WordPress site to a new host manually?

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Moving Your WordPress Site to a New Host: A Step-by-Step Manual Guide

Migrating your WordPress site to a new host manually might seem daunting, but with careful steps and attention to detail, it can be a smooth process. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you move your WordPress site to a new host manually.

1. Backup Your WordPress Site:

Before initiating any migration, it’s crucial to back up your entire WordPress site. This includes your website files, the WordPress database, and any additional files or folders you may have customized.

  • Use a Backup Plugin: You can use a reliable backup plugin like UpdraftPlus or BackupBuddy to create a full backup of your site. These plugins often allow you to download the backup files to your computer.
  • Export Your Database: In addition to using a backup plugin, export your WordPress database. You can do this using phpMyAdmin or a similar database management tool. Export the database to a SQL file.

2. Set Up Your New Hosting Account:

  • Choose a New Hosting Provider: Select a new hosting provider that meets your requirements. Popular options include Bluehost, SiteGround, or any hosting provider that aligns with your needs.
  • Set Up Your Domain: If your domain is registered with your old host, you can update the nameservers to point to your new host. If your domain is registered separately, update the DNS settings accordingly.

3. Transfer Your WordPress Files:

  • Download Your Website Files: Access your old hosting account and download all your website files. You can use an FTP client like FileZilla to connect to your server and download the files to your computer.
  • Upload Files to New Host: Connect to your new hosting server using FTP and upload your website files to the appropriate directory. This is typically the public_html or www folder.

4. Import Your WordPress Database:

  • Create a New Database: In your new hosting account, create a new database and a user with full privileges. Note down the database name, username, and password.
  • Import Database: Using phpMyAdmin in your new host’s control panel, import the SQL file you exported earlier. This will populate your new database with the content from your old site.
  • Update wp-config.php: In the root directory of your WordPress files on the new host, locate the wp-config.php file. Update the database details (name, username, password) to match the new database.

5. Update Site URL and Permalinks:

  • Update Site URL: In the WordPress admin dashboard of your new site, go to Settings > General. Update the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) to reflect the new domain.
  • Update Permalinks: Go to Settings > Permalinks and click “Save Changes” to refresh your permalinks. This ensures that your URLs remain consistent after migration.

6. Test Your Site:

  • Check Site Functionality: Visit your new site and check its functionality. Test various pages, posts, and interactive elements to ensure everything is working as expected.
  • Address Potential Issues: If you encounter any issues such as broken links or missing images, address them promptly. Check that your theme and plugins are functioning correctly.

7. Update DNS Settings:

  • Switch Nameservers: If you updated your domain’s nameservers to point to the new host during the setup, allow some time for the DNS changes to propagate. This step finalizes the migration.


Moving your WordPress site to a new host manually involves careful planning and execution. Following these steps ensures a successful migration without the need for additional plugins. Always keep backups of your site, and thoroughly test your new site to catch and address any potential issues early in the process.

Common Questions

  • Why should I consider moving my WordPress site to a new host?

    There are several reasons to consider moving your WordPress site to a new host. You might be experiencing slow loading times, unreliable hosting services, or you simply found a hosting provider that better suits your needs in terms of performance, support, or pricing. Migrating to a new host can improve your site’s overall performance and user experience.

  • Can I move my WordPress site manually, or should I use a migration plugin?

    You have the option to move your WordPress site manually or use a migration plugin. Manual migration provides more control but requires technical proficiency. Migration plugins, such as UpdraftPlus or Duplicator, are user-friendly and automate the process, making them suitable for users with varying technical skills.

  • Will moving my WordPress site affect my SEO rankings?

    If done correctly, moving your WordPress site should not significantly impact your SEO rankings. Use 301 redirects to guide search engines from old URLs to the corresponding new ones. Update meta tags, descriptions, and ensure that your new site is configured for optimal SEO. Proper planning and execution can help maintain or even enhance your SEO rankings.

  • How long does it take to move a WordPress site to a new host manually?

    The time required to move a WordPress site manually depends on factors such as the size of your site, the complexity of your content, and your familiarity with the process. Smaller sites with straightforward configurations might take a few hours, while larger or more complex sites could take a day or more.

  • What precautions should I take before moving my WordPress site to a new host?

    Before migrating your site, always back up your entire WordPress site, including files and the database. This ensures you have a snapshot of your site in case anything goes wrong. Additionally, inform your users or clients about the impending migration to minimize disruptions.

  • Can I move my WordPress site to a new host without downtime?

    Achieving zero downtime during a WordPress site migration is challenging but possible. To minimize downtime, perform the migration during low-traffic hours, use a temporary domain for testing, and configure your old host to redirect traffic to the new site once the migration is complete. However, keep in mind that there may be a brief period of downtime during the final switch.