6-step transfer + top plugins

Are you trying to find a solution to effectively manage your website and don’t know where to start? Here’s how to migrate a WordPress site and avoid potential issues.

First of all, there are certain steps that require special attention. Before you begin, it’s necessary to create a backup of all the relevant documents and generic files related to your website.

No need to worry; it’s not complicated. As mentioned earlier, you just need to give it proper attention, and by following this comprehensive guide step by step, you’ll be able to smoothly migrate your site.

There are several reasons to consider migrating your WordPress site to another hosting provider:

  • dissatisfaction with the current hosting provider,
  • rebranding,
  • starting from scratch with a new installation;
  • the need for more resources for a growing site.

To avoid data loss or other problems, follow this step-by-step guide for migrating your WordPress site to a new host or domain.

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how to migrate wordpress site for free

How to Migrate WordPress Site in 6 Simple Steps

You’re probably wondering: How do I begin migrating a WordPress site? Don’t worry; cloning a WordPress site is a common practice for anyone who owns a site for their brand.

The need to move your site likely arises for one of these reasons:

  • You’ve decided to change providers;
  • You want to use a dedicated server;
  • You’ve developed the site on your PC and now want to perform WordPress migration from local to remote;
  • You need to create a backup;
  • You need to conduct tests.

Whatever your motivation, I’ve prepared a 6-step tutorial that will effortlessly address any issue.

The first thing to know is that for transferring your site, you have the option to do it manually or with the assistance of WordPress migration plugins.

Let’s dive in and immediately go through these procedures, along with a list of the best WordPress migration plugins to simplify this task.

Before you proceed, explore our WordPress guide for beginners to get started. DOWNLOAD NOW!

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1. Manually Transfer WordPress

If you’re a user with some experience in migrating WordPress sites, you’ll want to get started right away. I’ll begin by explaining the steps to manually complete the transfer of your WordPress site without needing to install any plugins.

In just a few steps, you’ll be able to migrate all themes, plugins, settings, and content along with their respective comments.

Firstly, to independently perform the migration process, make sure you have:

  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol) access to the existing page;
  • Access to phpMyAdmin for the database;
  • A hosting package from a provider.

Once you have confirmed that you meet these requirements, we can proceed with the next steps on how to migrate a WordPress site.

2. Save Files and Database

The first step to take before any transfer during WordPress site migration is to save the database. It’s important not only to export the content; otherwise, all the important settings and plugins would be lost.

For small-sized sites like blogs or simple pages with a maximum size of 2 MB, you can use phpMyAdmin. Generally, this tool is provided and already integrated with many of the most used Hostings.

It’s different for more complex sites or larger pages; in this case, it’s better to use an external program like mySQLDumper and use it to save the backup locally.

wordpress site migration to database

Taking phpMyAdmin as an example in this case:

  • Make sure you have selected the correct database if you are managing multiple sites on the same server;
  • Now you can proceed with the export. Once clicked, you can choose between quick or custom;
  • Choose the SQL format;
  • Confirm the settings and click Run to save the file to your Hard disk.

To save all other files present on WordPress locally, we will need an FTP client like Filezilla.

Using this software is very simple; you just need to make sure to enter the correct site into the folders and copy all the data to the hard drive.

filezilla software for wordpress

3. Create New Access and New Database

If you managed to save all the data for migrating your WordPress site, the second step now is to create a new access and a new database.

You just need to go to the chosen provider and enter your client area; inside it, you will find the respective options for creating FTP access and managing databases.

During the configuration, you will be asked to enter the database name, hostname, username, and password. I recommend always making note of all the data, especially the FTP access; you will need these in the following steps.

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4. Configuration and Uploading Files to Hosting

Before you can transfer the WordPress site, you need to enter the correct information in the wp-config.php file:

  • Open the wp-config.php file with any text editor (you can find the file in the backup created earlier);
  • Remember when I told you to note down the various data regarding the database? Now you need to enter them and save them in their respective positions.

Executing these steps you have prepared the WordPress site for migration and with the help of Filezilla, a copy of all WP files and folders has been created, which will be uploaded to the root of the new server.

configure files to hosting

5. Domain Change

If you have chosen to transfer the WordPress site to another domain, this needs to be correctly entered inside the database.

This step is performed by directly modifying the SQL file, be cautious and do this before uploading it.

Within the file, open the search tool using keywords and type “siteurl” and “home”, You will find the respective entries that can be used to replace the old domain and modify it with the new address.

domain change

6. Database Import

We have reached the conclusion of the tutorial on how to migrate a WordPress site. After completing all the previous steps, you can now proceed with importing the database and uploading a backup to WordPress.

To do this, you need to go to the administration area of the newly chosen provider and open phpMyAdmin.

The procedure is not very complex in this case either, but you must always pay close attention to what you are selecting.

That said, let’s go back to phpMyAdmin, where you can import the SQL file that you exported earlier. Remember, it is very important that the exact database is selected in the left sidebar, otherwise, the import will not succeed.

  • Go to the “Import” tab;
  • select the database and start the upload;
  • keep the standard import settings.

Possible Issues During and After Migration

Following all the steps will help you understand how to move WordPress without causing damage, but despite this, some errors that are quite common can occur. Below, I list the most frequent ones.

  • Migrating a WordPress site can lead to the interruption of database loading: this problem could be caused by the excessive size of the database that we are importing. You just need to access the php.ini configuration file increase the maximum file upload size and raise the timeout. Sometimes the problem can be resolved more simply by unchecking the “Partial Import” section to disable automatic interruption during database import;
  • Some hosting providers offer a limited number of databases or don’t allow the upload of new ones beyond the basic provided. In this case, you’ll need to rename the new database with the name of the one you’re importing;
  • Special characters might not be displayed correctly, this could be due to an incorrect character set (charset), you’ll need to replace it by trying different options (Latin, UTF8);
  • Rewrite Engine and Internal Server Error 500: If the server can’t read the .htaccess file, it might be because the Rewrite Engine isn’t enabled. To fix this, go to the WordPress dashboard under “permalinks settings”.

These were some examples of possible errors during WordPress site migration. If you find yourself in trouble, don’t panic. There’s a solution for every error.

Seeking help from an expert is always a recommended choice to optimize our work and enhance our business value.

wordpress site migration errors

The Best Plugins for Migrating a WordPress Site

Following the manual method for migrating a WordPress site, as previously mentioned, if you’re careful, you can complete all the steps. However, you might encounter difficulties or find the steps to be complex.

This is perfectly normal. In fact, even for experienced users, in certain specific cases, migrating a site can be quite challenging.

To overcome these challenges, not only do tools for migrating a WordPress site via plugins come to your rescue, but there are also procedures that simplify this task, taking care of security-related steps.

A piece of advice I’d like to give you, even though this is a fully automated method, is to create a backup to upload to WordPress in case of issues.

best plugins for migrating wordpress

WordPress Duplicator

Among the most popular WordPress plugins for migration, there’s Duplicator, which provides a comprehensive solution with a simple and fast process, ensuring seamless domain transfers.

It’s available for free and already quite feature-rich, and there’s a Pro version (about $69 per year). The Pro version allows you to access cPanel directly from the installer and provides various cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.

Migrate Guru

This plugin has been developed with the purpose of simplifying the processes for migrating WordPress sites to the fullest extent.

It aids in the transfer by processing your site’s data registry on its own server, thus ensuring a reduced risk of data loss throughout the entire procedure.

Another strong point is speed; it can move 1 GB of data in less than 30 minutes, enabling it to migrate large-sized sites, up to 200 GB. Migrate Guru is available completely for free.

WordPress Migrate DB

This plugin takes a different approach compared to the others mentioned. Instead of exporting files, it exports all the data from your website to your computer in SQL format.

Noteworthy options include the ability to replace URLs and eliminate unnecessary data, such as visitor comments or particularly outdated content.

WP Migrate DB offers both a free version and a premium version at €99. The premium version allows you to transfer your site with a single click directly from your WordPress dashboard.

All-in-One WP Migration

As the name suggests, this plugin provides an all-in-one service for migrating WordPress sites with particularly simple export and import options.

Similar to others, this plugin also gives you the ability to exclude data you don’t wish to transfer to the new provider. Its strength, however, lies in the ability to adjust the size of transferred files through a system bypass. This feature can be very useful for users on shared hosting plans, as such plans often restrict changes to the default CMS settings.

All-in-one WP migration offers the free version, purchasing individual extension packages, or the premium version that provides additional features and cloud services.


WordPress database backup service with added synchronization through popular cloud services.

The files created by this plugin will be compressed in zip format and categorized by type, giving you the option to selectively choose the data you want to restore.

UpdraftPlus is available in both free and premium versions, with a cost ranging from €67 to €381 per year. It might seem expensive, but the package offers continuous updates, storage space, and importantly, customer support.


Here we are at the end. As you’ve read, there are various ways to migrate your WordPress site. Certainly, some might seem more complex, and others simpler, but I hope I’ve provided you with the information you need to autonomously choose the option that best suits your needs.

With this guide, you’ll be able to successfully transfer your site. However, don’t miss the opportunity to further educate yourself and discover all the features of the world’s most used CMS through a WordPress Course for creating and managing sites on your own, as well as becoming a professional in the field.