Support » Fixing WordPress » Migrating: Manual vs. Duplicator vs. cPanel

  • Greetings WP community,

    Preparing to migrate a WP site to a new host. Have reviewed and found it helpful. There seems to be three options – manual backup/restore of db and files vs. Duplicator or similar plugin vs. cPanel backup/restore. Is there a consensus best practice among these three?

    Any advice very much appreciated.

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  • Moderator Steve Stern


    Support Team Volunteer

    There’s no “best practice”, there’s what you feel comfortable doing.

    I always do it manually —

    1. backup the source database
    2. transfer files via FTP
    3. load the database on the new site.
    4. edit wp-config.php as necessary because the DB information usually changes.
    5. if there’s a change in the domain, I use the plugin “better search replace” to change all references to the domain in the database.

    I like Steven’s answer. Please do that if able.

    If you would like to try All-In-One Migration (plugin) it’s worth the effort. You will still have to use Steven’s #5 for replacing domain strings.

    Link to plugin mentioned:

    For what it’s worth…

    Backup everything… files and database!

    I use the one button installer to create a completely new site on the new host then save a copy of that installs new wp-config for later use. Rename it slightly as we will clobber it in the next step.

    I usually move the files to the new server via FTP and change my wp-config file from the move to address the database on the old site. Most installs reference the database at localhost so that has to point to an IP address or a different domain name (subdomain) to work.

    Some servers won’t let you do this but most CPanel (Sentora, Webmin, etc.) type installs will let you. As long as you can set remote mySQL on the old site then it should work and that’s not even necessary on some hosts.

    Now your site should be back to working. I usually leave things ‘as is’ from now on making note that the database is on one server while the website proper is on another. You can use the database backup to restore the database if you would rather by exchanging the two wp-config files to enable the new database on the new host.

    Now install or enable the backup plugin you used before and restore the database.

    This sounds like a lot of work but I like it as it helps me to see the causes if things go awry. Most of the time when I move hosts it’s just the server itself being replaced as it has been around too long or I’ve outgrown it. I can ‘split the load’ this way between the two servers and gain some extra space and horsepower without straining the budget or wasting a lot of time.

    This isn’t for everyone but it really does work well for me.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  JNashHawkins.

    Replies very much appreciated and very helpful.

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