There are many reasons you may want to move a WordPress site. You may want to change the domain name of your site or move your site to a new host. In this post, we’ll cover a few different methods of moving your WordPress site to a new domain or host.
move a wordpress site

Manually Moving Your WordPress Site to a New Domain

Just a word of caution: if you are planning to move your WordPress site to a new domain on your own, things can get tricky. We’re covering this method so you can see how the process works but proceed with caution.

Be careful. Manually moving a WordPress site can cause site errors.

When your domain name or URLs change there are additional concerns. The files and database can be moved, however references to the old domain name or location will remain in the database, and that can cause issues with links or theme display. – Moving WordPress, WordPress Codex

The WordPress codex outlines how to move a WordPress site manually in more detail. Even when moving a WordPress site manually, though, the WordPress codex still recommends using a WordPress backup plugin to backup your files and database before you get started.

1. To begin, download a copy of all your site files and run an export of your site’s database. Find a safe location to store these files in case something goes wrong with your move.

2. Next, navigate to your WordPress dashboard and to Settings > General. From here, you will change the URL from your current one to the new one.

Change WordPress URL

After saving these settings, you will see a 404 page. This is expected, so don’t worry.

3. Before you upload your site files to the new location on your host, be sure to go into your wp-config.php file and edit it with your new database name, username and password. Databases can be managed from cPanel in your hosting account.

wp-config file

4. Once you’ve edited your wp-config.php file, you can upload your site’s files and import the database to your new location.

There are plugins like BackupBuddy that can help change all the instances of the old URL.

Again, you’ll need to check to confirm all instances of your old URL have been changed to your new domain. This can be time-consuming work since all of the files in your WordPress Media Library will include the old URL in the file name. That’s why we recommend using a plugin like BackupBuddy to move your WordPress site.

Save Time & Move a WordPress Site to a New Domain with BackupBuddy

While you can move a WordPress site to a new domain name manually, there are a lot of opportunities for error when doing so.

The easiest way to move a WordPress site to a new domain would be to use a WordPress backup plugin like BackupBuddy.

BackupBuddy not only backs up your entire WordPress site for you (including all your files and your database), it also has different options that help you move a WordPress site from one location to another. You can use BackupBuddy to backup your files and database prior to moving the site yourself or you can use BackupBuddy to do all the work for you.

BackupBuddy can move your WordPress site, clone it and even replace URLs so that you don’t have to do that manually. BackupBuddy can do this without you ever having to enter your FTP or database, making the process that much simpler.

1. To get started moving your WordPress site with BackupBuddy, you’ll first need to create a full backup of your site.

WordPress Backup

2. Once your site backup is complete, you can either download the zip file to your computer from your recent downloads page or directly from the backup creation page.

Download WordPress backup

Download WordPress backup zip file

3. You’ll then need to go to BackupBuddy > Restore/Migrate page where you can download the ImportBuddy file (the script file BackupBuddy uses to move your site).

Download ImportBuddy

Be sure to set your ImportBuddy password in settings.

Before you download the ImportBuddy file, be sure you have set your ImportBuddy password in your BackupBuddy settings or in the window that opens when you download the file.

4. With both your ImportBuddy file and your backup file downloaded, you will want to upload them to your new location on your host (this is usually a directory that matches the domain name of the site.)

5. After uploading your backup zip file and the ImportBuddy file, navigate in your browser to your new domain followed by /importbuddy.php. For example:

Before you start the actual site migration process, you will need to enter your ImportBuddy password that you created previously in settings.

ImportBuddy Password

6. ImportBuddy will then walk you through all the steps needed to complete your site migration.

The first step is to select the backup file for your WordPress site.

Select WordPress Backup

You can import multiple backup files to your server or you might have multiple backups stored in your BackupBuddy Stash location, so this step allows you to make sure you are moving the right site.

The second step doesn’t require you to do anything.  BackupBuddy is simply restoring the files from your original site to the new location.

Restoring WordPress

For the third step, you’ll need to enter the database information for your new site.

Database Settings

The information from your original WordPress site will show there in case you are just moving to a different location on the same server and wanting to create a new database.

By default with WordPress, your Database Prefix is typically wp_.

By default with WordPress, your Database Prefix is typically wp_. This prefix is a well know fact, so it is recommended that you change it to something else and this is the perfect opportunity to do so if you haven’t already.

The fourth step, once again, doesn’t actually require anything from you. BackupBuddy simple works to restore your database at the new location.

Restoring WordPress Database

In step 5, BackupBuddy will change the URLs for your site from your old one to the new one. BackupBuddy creates these URLs, new and old, but you can double check them here.

WordPress URL Settings

The sixth and final step is for you to verify and clean up your site.

Verify WordPress Site Move

When you get to this step, you will want to go to your new domain to verify that your WordPress site has moved and changed correctly.

You can then click the Finish Cleanup button to remove any files that were used for the move but are no longer necessary.

For even more instructions and screenshots, check out a Step By Step Guide for How to Move a WordPress Site to a New Domain.

Moving Your WordPress Site to a New Host with BackupBuddy

If you need to move a WordPress site to a new host, you can accomplish this easily with BackupBuddy, too. Some hosts may offer to move your site or offer a service if you switch hosting companies if you prefer a more “manual” method.

Note: When changing hosts for your site, we recommend running a “test” migration to make sure everything goes smoothly. Running a test migration can help with adjusting settings due to different server configuration compared to your previous host. To run a test migration to the new host, create a directory/folder within your public_html called “test” or “testmigration.” Upload ImportBuddy and a backup zip to public_html/testmigration. Then to do the migration go to Prior to changing the DNS,you will need to test with the temp domain/ip the new host gives you (so tempurl/

1. Make a complete backup with BackupBuddy and download your backup file, as listed in steps 1 – 2 above.

2. Go ahead and download the ImportBuddy file from the BackupBuddy > Restore/Migrate page (and set your ImportBuddy password if you haven’t already).

3. Important: You’ll need to change the DNS or name servers for your domain to point to your new hosting. Depending on where you purchased your domain name, you should have access to “Manage DNS” and find your current name server information.

change name servers

It could take up to 24 hours for name server changes to take effect.

Just note that it could take up to 24 hours for name server changes to take effect with some hosting companies. You can lower the time it takes for the DNS to propagate by setting a lower the TTL (time to live).

3. Upload your BackupBuddy zip file and a copy of the ImportBuddy script to a directory on your new hosting account.

4. Follow steps 3 – 6 above to complete the site move to your new host (just keep your URL settings the same in ImportBuddy’s Step 5).

Ready to move a WordPress site? Get BackupBuddy today.

BackupBuddy is the 3-in-1 WordPress backup plugin that also covers WordPress migration and restoration.

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