In our previous Host Africa WordPress article, we discussed the MANUAL procedure for moving your WordPress site. In this article, we will take a look at a few plugins which make the process much smoother, easier and less error-prone. There are plenty of plugins, both free and paid. We will focus more on the FREE plugins and we even have a script!
Important notes (read this before choosing a plugin:
If you run a content-heavy site or an e-commerce site, we recommend that you use an off-site migration/backup tool, rather than a plugin. VaultPress is a good option because it’s operated by the folks behind WordPress. And it won’t slow down your server because it uses external servers.
And to ensure a smooth migration, keep the following in mind:
- Test the backup file first – try opening the backup file before you get started to ensure it’s not corrupt. It’s rare this will happen but it’s well worth doing.
- Keep the original WordPress install live – you probably won’t need it, but if there are any issues you can prepare a new back up of the site.
- Update your DNS only when the migration is complete – any migration should be done in a way that causes as little downtime as possible. This is why we recommend that you keep the original site live, and migrate to the new server by changing the hosts file on your computer to the new server IP address. Once the migration is complete, you can run any additional checks to ensure everything is working as it should & then update DNS.
The first one is a well known and well liked FREE plugin WordPress Duplicator. It allows you to duplicate, clone, backup, move and transfer an entire site from one place to another. Duplicator recorded almost half a million downloads and gets a very good rating of 4.9 stars on the WordPress Repository. It’s a great tool for pulling a production site down onto a local machine for testing, as well as the reverse – developing locally and pushing a site to a production server. Duplicator does need some tech-knowledge, but for those who get to know it, it works extremely well. [ DOWNLOAD DUPLICATOR HERE ]
As always, remember to back your files BEFORE the move. With this plugin, you can change the domain name you’re using and migrate your installation to another server. This plugin also allows you to transfer your database and create backups of your installation. This free plugin isn’t quite as popular as Duplicator (with just 80,000 downloads), though it is easy to use and migrating a site is quick and painless. [ DOWNLOAD MOVE HERE ]
The plugin allows you to move or copy a WordPress site to another domain or hosting server. You can also use it to move your site to or from local server hosting, to create copies of your site for testing purposes or to backup your site and to install pre-configured versions of WordPress. [ DOWNLOAD CLONE ]
A free plugin with premium extensions, it covers moving both your database and your files, which means it handles all aspects of migration. If you need to change your domain name, All-in-One WP Migration lets you do unlimited find/replace operations on your database and will fix any potential serialization issues to ensure that everything works smoothly. The free version of the plugin supports moving sites up to 512MB in size. If your site is any larger, you’ll need to go with the unlimited version, which removes the size limit.
Migrate helps you move WordPress installations between URLs, for example between a development and production URL, or between domains. It’s only a script rather than a plugin so it can be run to correct data problems after a site has been moved. [ DOWNLOAD MIGRATE ]
If you’re confident enough to upload two files via FTP, then my recommendation is Duplicator. If you don’t feel confident using FTP, then WP Clone or All-in-One will let you migrate without needing an FTP program. Just remember that 10-20% of WP Clone migrations end up failing.