Moving your WordPress blog from one server/hosting company to another

Posted by bcherney on January 14, 2013 under Nerd Herd | Be the First to Comment

I’m moving my blog from Network Solutions to my company’s server ( .  I’m mainly a .NET programmer but with so many people asking me to host their WordPress sites I decided to take the plunge and learn what it takes to move one. What I found was there are many different ways to accomplish this.  I’m going to go over the quickest and most non-technical way I found. There are still some manual things I need to do but overall the process I am using has worked well and is perfect for someone who is not very technical. I realize not everyone’s setup will be the same but it should help you understand the process.

I might do a blog on the more technical way which involves installing PHP Manger on your local IIS7 setup  and then connecting the your MySQL database remotely, but for this article I decided to explain the non-technical route.

First my setup.  My Network Solutions setup is on a UNIX Hosting package.  My Sidekick Technologies server is Windows. Windows uses IIS 7 and web.config files instead of UNIX and .htaccess files. If you are using shared hosting or any kind of hosting package you probably don’t need to know that for moving your site. The process in this article will work from UNIX to UNIX or UNIX to Windows.


As always feel free to comment if you have a different way. This is just one of them and will hopefully help some people out. I think this is an easy version since you don’t have to export the database file which is sometimes a little scary for non-technical people.

Step one: Upgrade WordPress to the current version.  This is the step that makes the process so easier, and if you can’t or wont do this the article may not help you. WordPress 3.5 is the current version as I write this post.  So on Network Solutions I updated to 3.5.   On my server I installed WordPress and did the same thing.  I now have two installs of WordPress 3.5. One with all of my content and one new install.

Note: When you install your new WordPress site make sure you create the same directory structure as your old one. So I need to install the new WordPress site into a folder called “blog” on my root directory. (…any-to-another/ )  This will make the SEO transition seamless as your URL’s will not change.


blog-theme-newStep two: Move your theme over to the new site. Since both sites are 3.5 we are not going to worry about compatibility. For the themes and the plugins I did an update to all of them on the original Network Solutions package.  So for themes we are just going to move our themes folder from Network Solutions to Sidekick Tech’s server.  Once you have done that you should be able to change your theme on the new server.


blog-pluginsStep Three: Move your plugin folder over to the new server. Same concept as moving your theme.  You will need to install the plugins on the new site by going to the plugins in your dashboard of your new site. If you have any plugins like Akismet make sure you write down your API key.


Step Four: Do a WordPress export from the original (Left Image). This will create an XML file that you can save locally.  Then you will need to do a WordPress import on the new server (Right Image). You will need to install the WordPress importer but you can do that from the dashboard –> tools by just clicking on “WordPress”. This will install the WordPress installer plugin.

export  import






Once you have the importer installed for WordPress you can import the XML file that was created during the export of the original site. You can assign a new author or import the current ones. Make sure to check the “download and import file attachments”


Step Five: Clean up the site. This is the section I’m hoping to get comments from people who know WordPress better than me. I needed to go in a tweak a few things like the menu structure and permalinks structure to match my old site.  Only took about 5 minutes.  What I’m not sure on is since I started with a new database do I have to do those things manually on the new site or is that information in the core files that I can copy over?

blog-after-import   old-blog-look







So this is a very non technical way of moving your site. Some might ask why I didn’t just move the whole file structure over from the old WordPress folder to the new. I’m planning on testing that but since I was moving from UNIX to Windows I wanted to get a process that worked first. Then I’ll try different approaches.

Again, this may not be the best way for large complex sites since we are not exporting the original database (Using the WordPress xml export instead) and we are only using the theme folder and plugin folders.  You will need to tweak the new site a little but for how easy it was I’m OK with that.

The amount of time it took me (Once I had the procedure down) was about an hour.  Good Luck.




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