In this guide, I’ll show you the steps needed to migrate a WordPress website to a new host.
Steps to Migrate WordPress Website to a New Host
Step 1: perform a full backup (optional step)
Before you migrate your WordPress website to a new host, I strongly recommend that you backup your site.
If you are using cPanel, you can perform a full website backup by choosing the cPanel backup option.
Step 2: open an account at your new host
Once you found your desired host, select the web hosting plan that best suits to your needs, and then proceed to open an account with your new host.
Some web hosting companies would migrate your WordPress website for free. In that case, if you are using cPanel, you’ll need to provide your cPanel credentials to the new host.
Your new host will then do most of the migration work for you. There are, however, some additional steps that you’ll have to preform in order to complete the site migration.
Step 3: get the nameservers from your new host
Your new host will provide you the DNS nameservers that you’ll need to update at your domain registrar.
Here is one example of how the nameservers may look like (usually the host name will be included within the nameservers):
Step 4: update the nameservers at your domain registrar
Once you got the nameservers from your new host, go to your current domain registrar (if your domain registrar falls under your old hosting company, you should be able to manage your domain information and nameservers via your old hosting’s account, usually located under the “manage domains” section).
You’ll then need to change the nameservers to those that were provided to you by your new host. When you change the nameservers, do not include the IP addresses associated with those nameservers.
Step 5: wait for the full propagation to complete
It can take up to 24 hours for the changes to be fully propagated.
You can check the status of the nameservers via the Global DNS Propagation Checker:
- First type your domain name
- Then, select the NS option from the drop-down menu
- Finally, click on the Search button to see the status of your nameservers
Congratulation, you just completed the steps to migrate your WordPress website to a new host.
In the next section, I’m going to show you how to transfer your domain to a new registrar (those are optional steps).
Transfer your Domain (optional)
Step 1: unlock your domain
First, unlock your domain (to allow for domain transfers) in your current domain registrar (as previously indicated, if your domain registrar falls under your old hosting company, you should be able to access these options under your old hosting’s account).
Step 2: obtain an EPP code
Under the manage domains section, you will be able to obtain an authorization code, also known as EPP.
You’ll need to provide this EPP code to the new domain registrar in order to complete the domain transfer.
Step 3: initiate the domain transfer at the new domain registrar
Next, sign into your new account, and then apply for a domain transfer.
You’ll need to provide the EPP code that you retrieved in the previous step, and follow further instructions, which usually involve verifying and/or updating the website owner’s information, as well as confirming the domain transfer (you will receive an email, asking you to confirm the transfer).
Step 4: check your domain status
It can take about 5-7 days until the transfer is completed. You can then check the status of your domain using the Whois Domain Lookup:
Step 5: lock your domain at the new domain registrar (optional)
Once the transfer is completed, you may wish to lock your domain at your new domain registrar (you should be able to do that under the ‘manage domains’ section).
Points to Consider
Please note that you can either change the nameservers (at the previous registrar) before you submit the request for the domain transfer, or change the nameservers (at the new registrar) after the domain transfer is completed. But you cannot change the nameservers and apply for a domain transfer at the same time.
In fact, any changes that you’ll attempt to perform to the nameservers will not be applied while the domain transfer is still ongoing.
It is also advisable not to make any updates/changes to your WordPress website while the transfer process is still outstanding, so that you don’t risk losing any work you’ve done during that time.
As you migrate your WordPress website to a new host, pay close attention to your indexing status in Google Webmaster. This is especially important if you apply redirects, such as a www redirect (this is sometimes needed when using a CDN).
If you start applying a www redirect, but google indexed your domain without the ‘www’ portion, you may start noticing that the URLs indexed drop rapidly (Google, in turn, will slowly start indexing your domain with the www portion).
You may also wish to perform a quick check and inspect a URL in the Search Console to make sure that it can be fetched without issues.
Adding SSL Certificate (Optional)
Once you are done changing the nameservers and transferring your domain, you may choose to add SSL certificate.
This is also an optional feature that may be provided to you for free by your hosting company (at least for the first year).
If you already have SSL certificate through your previous host, you may wish to contact them to remove/cancel it. Then, go to your new host account and install a new SSL.
You can check the status of your SSL by using the SSL Checker: