Moving your website to a new host is scary if it’s new to you. Most sites have a lot of moving parts, and knowing what to do and in what order is crucial when it comes to migrating to a new host.
Fortunately, WordPress users have an advantage. You can either move your website using a plugin (which is the easiest method), or do it manually, which is a bit more involved. Either way, with the right guidance, your website should be up and running on a new web host in a matter of hours at most.
In this guide, we’re going to talk about why you might want to move your WordPress website to a new host. Then we’ll teach you how to do it via a plugin or manually, using 000Webhost and Hostinger to illustrate each step. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get to it!
Why You Might Want to Move Your WordPress Site to a New Host
First off, it’s important to know that moving a WordPress website isn’t necessarily dangerous. In fact, it’s something people do every day, and it doesn’t mean you’ll lose any of your content or hard-earned search rankings if you follow the right instructions (which is where we come in).
Sure, the first time you migrate a website can be intimidating. However, there are plenty of compelling reasons to take the time to move your site, such as:
- Getting better performance. There multiple ways to make your website run faster, but at a certain point, you may be hampered by your web hosting provider. If that’s the case, you’ll want to upgrade to a better plan or move to a different web host if you’ve exhausted all other options.
- Gaining access to better features. Some web hosts automatically back up your website. Others take security extremely seriously, and some offer world-class support. Ideally, you want to use a provider that ticks all three boxes.
- You’ve had problems with your current host. If you don’t feel like your current provider takes good care of you, there’s no reason for you to stick around. In fact, doing so may hamper the growth of your website, since you’re not getting the support you need.
Whatever your reason may be, it’s best to move as soon as you are able. That way, you can start reaping the benefits your new web host provider sooner, and you’ll have fewer headaches to deal with.
If you’re a 000Webhost user, you’ve probably noticed we often recommend the Hostinger platform to everyone. 000Webhost is powered by Hostinger, and while we pride ourselves on offering what is perhaps the best free hosting service around, we also know that you’ll eventually need to expand. When you hit the point where your website requires more resources than free hosting can provide, you should check out Hostinger’s plans.
How to Move Your WordPress Website Using the All-In-One WP Migration Plugin
Every WordPress site at 000Webhost comes with the All-In-One WP Migration plugin installed out of the box. This straightforward tool enables you to create backups of your website at any moment, and it can help you migrate it quickly.
To get started, you’ll need to access your WordPress dashboard and look for the All-In-One WP Migration tab:
Clicking on that tab will send you to the Export screen. Here, you can click the Export to button to see a list of options about where to store your backup file. For now, choose the File option:
Now, the plugin will take a few moments to prepare your export file. This includes everything your website needs to function in a single file that you can re-upload elsewhere. When it’s done, you’ll see the option to download the file in a pop-up message, which you should do now:
The file you just downloaded serves two purposes. It will enable you to create a copy of your website over at your new host and serve as a backup in case anything goes wrong. In other words, don’t lose that file!
Before you proceed, you’ll need an account set up on the web host you plan to move to. For example, if you’re going to use Hostinger, you’ll want to get WordPress set up on your new account. Then, you’ll be able to access your dashboard right away after the installation process.
Your first order of business will be setting up the All-In-One WP Migration plugin on your Hostinger site. To do this, go to the Plugins tab and click on Add New:
Type All-In-One WP Migration in the search bar to the right of the next screen. The plugin should show up as the first result:
Click on the Install Now button, and then click Activate. The plugin will be up and running now, so move to the All-In-One WP Migration > Import tab:
You’ll see a big area you can drag-and-drop your export file into. You can also just click on it and locate the file on your computer. As soon as you select the file, the plugin will begin to import, which may take a while depending on its size. During the process, WordPress will warn you that this will overwrite your existing website, which is to be expected:
When the plugin is done working its magic, a success message will appear. That window will also instruct you to go to into the Settings > Permalinks tab and hit the Save Changes button twice. This will ensure that your website uses the same URL structure you set up on your previous web host.
At this stage, your website is up and running on Hostinger. However, there’s also a copy of it still at 000Webhost. More importantly, your website’s domain is still pointing towards your former host. Before you can call it a day, you have to update your domain’s settings to make it lead to Hostinger.
When that’s done, you can delete your 000Webhost website by logging in to your account, going to the Settings > General page, and clicking the Delete button at the bottom of the screen. We’ll be sad to see you go, but we’ll know you’re in excellent hands!
How to Move a WordPress Website to a New Host Manually (In 5 Steps)
In practice, there’s no difference between using a plugin to migrate your website or doing it manually. That means you’re free to choose whichever method you prefer.
However, you should always have a recent backup at hand if you’re thinking about moving your website. If you’re not sure how to do it, take a quick look at the previous section, where we explain how to use the All-In-One WP Migration plugin to back up your website. Once you’re all strapped in, let’s get to step number one!
Step #1: Download Your Website’s Files
As you may imagine, migrating a website manually means transferring all its files between hosts A and B. However since you can’t transfer them directly, you’ll need to download your WordPress files to your computer first. To do this, we’re going to use File Transfer Protocol (FTP) which enables you to send and download files from your server securely.
You’ll need an FTP client to get started, such as FileZilla. Go ahead and download it now. In the meantime, access your 000Webhost account and hop over to the Settings > General screen. Inside, you’ll find a section called FTP details, which contains the information you need to connect to your website via FTP:
Keep this tab open for now, and launch FileZilla after installing it. In its main window, you’ll see three empty fields at the top labled Host, Username, and Password. The first two correspond to the same fields within your Settings > General tab, and your password is the same as the one for your 000Webhost account:
After typing in everything, click on the Quickconnect button. Two folders should show up on the lower right side of your screen, one called public_html and the other labled tmp. Leave them alone for now, and take a look at the lower-left side of the window. There, you’ll be able to navigate through your computer’s file system. Find the folder where you want to store your WordPress backup, and access it:
When you’re inside, look to the right and select the public_html folder. Right-click on it and hit the Download button:
This folder contains all your WordPress files, and is known as the root directory. The Download command will begin transferring the entire folder over to your computer, which may take a long while. When it’s all there, move on to step number two.
Step #2: Export Your WordPress Database
Every WordPress website has its own database, where it stores all its information. 000Webhost sites are no exception. You can access your database by logging in to your account and going to the Manage Database screen. Inside, you’ll find a list of your existing databases.
If you click on the Manage button next to your website, you’ll see an option that reads phpMyAdmin. Click on it now:
This will open the phpMyAdmin software, which is a tool that helps you manage your databases using a visual interface. Before you get in, though, you’ll need to enter your username and password. The former should appear right next to your database’s name under the Manage Database screen…
…whereas you’ll need to set the latter by clicking on Manage > Change Password. Don’t worry – you don’t need to remember your former password to change it into something new. Once you’re inside phpMyAdmin, you can access your WordPress database by clicking on it in the list to the left of the screen:
After opening your database, hit the Export button at the top of the screen and select Quick under Export Method. Now click on the Go button at the bottom of the page:
phpMyAdmin will then download a .xml file containing your database to your computer. Armed with your exported database and your WordPress files, you’re ready to get your website set up on your new host.
Step #3: Import Your WordPress Database and Tweak Your Local wp-config.php File
When you set up your Hostinger account, you probably installed WordPress as well. During that process, the platform takes the liberty of creating a new database for your website. What we’re going to do now is access that database and overwrite it with the one you exported during step number two.
This process is simple, but your Hostinger control panel has a lot more options, so you may need some help navigating it. First, log in to your Hostinger account and click on the big blue button called Hosting Accounts:
Now you’ll see a list of all the websites you’re hosting on the platform. Yours should only include one, and you need to click on the Manage button next to its name:
On the next screen, scroll down until you see the Databases section, and click on the phpMyAdmin button within:
Now click on the Enter phpMyAdmin button next to your database’s name:
Finally, you’re in! phpMyAdmin’s interface should be familiar by now, so go ahead and jump into your database by clicking on its name to the left of the screen. There are already a bunch of WordPress tables here, but you can ignore them. Instead, go to the Import tab:
Click on the Choose File button under the File to import section, and locate the .xml file you downloaded during step number two. Then click on the Go button at the bottom of the screen, and let phpMyAdmin do its thing. Now the program will overwrite your current database with the one from your 000Webhost website. That means it will upload all your posts, user information, and more.
Right now, we’re almost finished with the migration process. There’s still one thing left to do, and that’s to get your files up on your new server.
Step #4: Upload Your WordPress Files to Your New Server
In this step, we’re going to upload the files you downloaded during step number one to your Hostinger server. To do this, we’re going to use FTP once more. However, you’ll need a new set of credentials this time around. To get them, return to your Hostinger website’s dashboard. This time, look for the FTP Accounts button under Files:
Inside, look for the fields that read FTP host and FTP username. Your password should be the same one as for your Hostinger account. Armed with those credentials, open FileZilla and enter them into the empty fields at the top of the screen. Now wait until the public_html folder shows up on the lower right side of the screen once more:
What you’re going to do now is locate the public_html folder you downloaded during step number one to your computer using FileZilla. When you locate it, drag that folder over to the right side of the FileZilla screen, where your Hostinger website’s public_html folder currently is. FileZilla will begin the transfer and ask you if you want to overwrite any files with the same name on your server. Answer yes to all counts, and sit back with a coffee while the transfer unfolds. Once the last file is uploaded, your website should be ready to go!
Step #5: Point Your Existing Domain To Your New Host and Test It
At this point, your new website should already work. However, a copy of that same website is still up on your former host, and your domain is pointing towards it. All that’s left to do is configure that domain to point to Hostinger, which you can do following these instructions.
Keep in mind that it often takes a few hours for any changes to your domain to take hold. During that time, if you try to access your domain, you’ll be sent to your old web host. Have a little patience until the changes set, and in the meantime, check to see if your website is displaying without any errors on Hostinger. You copied every file and your entire database without making any changes, so everything should still look and work exactly as it did before. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to check!
After updating your domain, you can go ahead and deactivate your 000Webhost website. You can also repurpose it for a new project if you want, since all your visitors will be directed to Hostinger instead.
If you’ve wanted to move to a new host for a while, but haven’t because you think it will be too complicated, don’t be concerned. Migrating a WordPress website is simple, and the rewards are well worth it if you’re moving to a better host. If you’re a 000Webhost user, for example, you’ll want to migrate to Hostinger at some point to gain access to even better features.
When you’re ready to make the jump, there are two ways to move a WordPress site to a new host:
- Use a plugin such as All-In-One WP Migration, which comes pre-packaged with every 000Webhost WordPress installation.
- Migrate your website manually, by copying its files and databases over to your new host.
Do you have any questions about how to transfer a WordPress site to a new host? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!