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How to Manual WordPress Website Transfer Guide 2024

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How to Manually Move Your WordPress Website

Starting to move your WordPress website might seem overwhelming at first, but with the right help, you can confidently do it yourself. I want to give you the info and tools to manually transfer your site, so you have full control over every step. This hands on method is great for people who want to understand the details of moving their site and have specific needs or prefer doing it themselves.

Key Takeaways

  • Gain complete control over the migration of your WordPress site by understanding the manual process.
  • Learn the critical steps involved in a DIY WordPress website transfer to ensure a seamless move.
  • Equip yourself with the know-how to backup files and databases crucial for a secure migration.
  • Discover how to minimize website downtime and maintain user experience during the transfer.
  • Get practical advice on how to reconfigure essential files on the new host.
  • Understand the importance of thorough testing post-migration to ensure everything functions correctly.
  • Find solutions to common migration problems, avoiding potential roadblocks.

Basics of Manual WordPress Migration

Embarking on the task of manually migrating a WordPress website indeed comes with its set of meticulous steps, but it is not without substantial benefits. If you’re considering moving your WordPress site manually, it’s essential to comprehend the fundamental concepts and advantages this method provides. From increased flexibility to avoidance of plugin limitations, manual migration places you at the helm, presenting a customizable pathway to transferring your digital presence.

Why Consider Manual Migration Over Automated Tools?

Diving into the reasons to choose manual migration over automated solutions reveals an array of compelling advantages. Automated tools often come with constraints bound to their pre-configured settings. On the other hand, manual methods allow for intricate customization, ensuring your website’s unique needs are met with precision. Let’s delve into the reasons that underscore manual migration’s appeal:

  • Custom Configurations: Tailoring the migration process to specifically accommodate your website’s architecture.
  • Plugin Limitations: Bypassing dependencies on plugins which may not cater to all website specifications or configurations.
  • Data Integrities: Manual oversight to ensure that your website’s data is accurately copied and remains intact.

Having steered through these benefits, you’re now positioned to understand why manual migration is a worthy avenue for your WordPress site relocation efforts.

What You Need to Know Before Getting Started

Before you initiate the process of manually migrating your WordPress website, it’s imperative to equip yourself with essential knowledge that sets the stage for a smooth transition. Brace yourself for the vital pre-migration assessments that pave the way:

  1. Grasp the intricacies of your current and future server environments.
  2. Set aside ample time, as manual migrations are not a swift click-and-go operation.
  3. Ensure familiarity with the core files and structure of WordPress.

Understanding these elements contributes to a well-informed decision-making process when considering a manual move for your site. Here’s a glance at the key differences between server environments that could influence your migration:

Element Current Server New Server
Operating System Linux, Apache Linux, Nginx
PHP Version 7.2 7.4 (or newer)
MySQL Version 5.6 5.7
Control Panel cPanel Plesk
Supported Technlogies Memcached, HTTP/2 Redis, HTTP/3

In summary, preparing for a manually migrating WordPress website involves a thorough understanding of both your current setup and the new server’s capabilities. With a deep dive into these technical aspects and a commitment to the manual process, you’re on the track to mastering the art of WordPress migration.

Preparing for Your Manual WordPress Move

Embarking on a WordPress website migration guide involves crucial preparatory steps, especially when you’re moving a WordPress site to a new host. Ensuring that every piece of content is safely backed up and properly exported is indispensable for a frictionless transition. Here, I’ll dive into the vital tasks you need to complete before initiating the move to protect your data and minimize website downtime.

Backing Up Your WordPress Files

Having a complete backup of your WordPress website is like having an insurance policy for your digital content. It’s paramount to back up your entire site before proceeding with a manual move. This includes all the core files, themes, plugins, and uploads, safeguarding you against any potential data loss during migration. I recommend using a reliable plugin or hosting provider’s tools to streamline this process.

Exporting Your WordPress Database

Your database is the heart of your WordPress website; it contains all your posts, comments, and settings. Exporting your database correctly is essential to ensure that no data is left behind. Utilize tools such as phpMyAdmin or command-line interfaces like MySQLdump to create a complete export of your database. Remember, double-check the export settings to capture all relevant tables and data structures.

Managing Website Downtime During Transfer

A common concern during any website migration is downtime. Patients and meticulous planning can minimize the period your website is inaccessible to users. Use strategies such as setting up a temporary domain during the transfer or timing the migration during off-peak hours. The goal is to maintain an optimal user experience and SEO integrity with limited interruption to your site’s availability.

Backup Task Tools & Plugins Additional Tips
File Backup UpdraftPlus, BackupBuddy Store backups in multiple locations
Database Export phpMyAdmin, MySQLdump Check compatibility with the new host’s database version
Downtime Management Placeholder Pages, Temporary URLs Communicate any expected downtime to users beforehand

How to Manually Move Your WordPress Website

Moving your WordPress site manually might sound daunting, but it’s all about paying close attention to the details and understanding the steps involved. Let me guide you through the main steps so you can smoothly switch to your new web host. Doing it manually gives you better control and helps avoid potential issues that automated tools might cause.

Transferring WordPress Files to the New Host

The first step in relocating your website is to transfer your WordPress files. This includes all your core application files, themes, plugins, and media uploads. I’ll guide you on how to utilize FTP clients like FileZilla to connect to your old server, download your files, and then upload them to the new server. While this process can be time-consuming, it’s essential for achieving a seamless manual WordPress site transfer.

Importing Your WordPress Database on the New Server

After transferring your files, the next crucial task is to import your WordPress database. This can be accomplished through phpMyAdmin, which is a web-based database management tool commonly provided by hosting services. By exporting your database from the old server and importing it to the new one, you’ll ensure that your posts, comments, and settings remain intact. I’ll demonstrate every step of this process to ensure you can confidently navigate these waters.

Reconfiguring Your wp-config.php File

Finalizing your manual WordPress transfer includes a vital reconfiguration of the wp-config.php file. This configuration file connects your WordPress files to your database; it’s here that you need to input your new database details, including the name, user, password, and server. I’ll show you exactly which lines of code you’ll need to edit to get your website up and running on its new home. Properly reconfiguring this file is the key to successfully completing the manual migration process.

Checking and Testing After Moving WordPress Site Manually

Once you’ve completed the step-by-step WordPress website transfer, it’s not time to breathe easy just yet. A comprehensive check and series of tests are critical to ensure that your DIY WordPress website transfer was successful. I meticulously sift through each aspect of the site to guarantee that no component was left behind or has malfunctioned during the transition. Here’s a rundown of the key items on my post-transfer checklist:

  • Reviewing Hyperlinks: I check both internal and external links to confirm there are no broken connections. A smooth user experience hinges on functional navigation.
  • Theme Verification: Ensuring the active theme is displaying correctly is paramount. I verify that all visual elements are intact and consistent with the pre-move appearance.
  • Plugin Functionality: Each plugin is tested to verify it’s operating as expected. In a DIY WordPress website transfer, plugins can sometimes go awry, but diligent testing can pinpoint any errors for immediate resolution.
  • Media Files Loading: No 404 errors allowed. I painstakingly confirm that images, videos, and other media content are present and accounted for, loading without issue.
  • Performance Metrics: Post-migration site speed and responsiveness receive a thorough examination. This not only affects user experience but also search engine rankings.

In the case where there are elements that require attention, it’s crucial to address them promptly to maintain the integrity of the site and its usability for visitors. The goal is always to present visitors with a site that mirrors its previous state in functionality, if not exceeding it. With this diligent post-transfer evaluation, I ensure your site remains an impeccable digital representation of your brand.

Troubleshooting Common Issues During Manual WordPress Site Relocation

As I’ve navigated through the complexities of moving WordPress websites manually, I’ve encountered a few stumbling blocks along the way. Even when you follow a WordPress website migration guide to the letter, it’s not uncommon to face obstacles that require troubleshooting. Below, I’ll delve into common issues you might encounter and how to resolve them effectively.

Handling Broken Links and Permalinks

One of the first snags you might hit post-migration are broken links and permalinks. This often occurs due to changes in the URL structure or missing .htaccess file upon moving. I generally start by resetting the permalink structure in the WordPress settings, which often resolves the issue. If that doesn’t help, I verify the .htaccess file’s presence and proper configuration, as it plays a pivotal role in URL rewriting.

Resolving Database Connection Errors

Database connection errors can be the most daunting part of a WordPress website transfer. These errors typically mean that your WordPress installation cannot establish a connection to the database. To tackle this, I check the wp-config.php file, ensuring that the database name, username, password, and server address match with the new host’s database details. Usually, a tiny discrepancy here is the culprit.

Facing Theme and Plugin Incompatibilities

Themes and plugins not working as expected can really throw a wrench in the works. After a migration, I always disable all plugins and switch to a default theme initially. My procedure then involves reactivating each plugin one by one and switching back to the original theme, checking functionality every step of the way to pinpoint the source of any incompatibilities.

Remember, frequent issues during a manual WordPress transfer aren’t roadblocks, they’re just part of the journey that leads to a better understanding of your WordPress site’s inner workings.

Below is a table summarizing the resolutions for these common post-migration issues:

Issue Cause Solution
Broken Links/Permalinks Changes in URL Structure / Missing .htaccess Reset Permalinks, Check .htaccess File
Database Connection Errors Incorrect Database Info in wp-config.php Verify and Update Database Credentials
Theme/Plugin Incompatibilities Updates Needed / Conflicts Post-Migration Reactivating One by One, Checking for Errors

In essence, a methodical approach to troubleshooting after moving your WordPress website manually can alleviate most issues. It’s essential to remain patient and assess each challenge with a clear head and a thorough understanding of your WordPress installation.


Wrapping up our comprehensive journey through a manual WordPress website transfer, my aim has been to equip you with the understanding and techniques required to execute a successful migration. We’ve navigated the minutiae of a manual transfer, highlighting its advantages over automated tools for those seeking deeper control over the process. I’ve emphasized the necessity of diligent preparation, meticulous file and database handling, strategic configuration, and rigorous post-migration testing.

From moving WordPress site to new host, to the careful reestablishment of settings and data on the fresh platform, I’ve shared insights that should pave the way for a seamless transition. The manual route demands a significant investment in time and attention to detail. However, the payoff is a robust, personalized understanding of your site’s infrastructure which could be invaluable for future troubleshooting or enhancements.

As we conclude this guide, remember that the sophistication of a manual WordPress website transfer does not downplay the importance of each phase. In fact, adhering to the guidance provided here not only streamlines the process but can mitigate potential pitfalls along the way. By ensuring you have planned carefully, executed precisely, and tested thoroughly, you stand in good stead to enjoy the fruits of a smoothly migrated WordPress website that is ready to serve your audience from its new digital residence.


What are the main benefits of manually migrating my WordPress website over using automated tools?

The main benefits of manual migration are the greater control and flexibility you have over the process. You can handle custom configurations, avoid tool-specific limitations, and potentially minimize costs associated with automated migration services.

What should I know before starting a manual WordPress migration?

Before starting, you should have a basic understanding of server environments, familiarity with WordPress files and databases, and the importance of having a complete backup. You should also be prepared for the time commitment required for a manual move.

How do I back up my WordPress files for a manual move?

You can back up your WordPress files by connecting to your website via FTP or your hosting control panel and downloading a copy of your entire WordPress installation directory, usually called “public_html” or “www.”

What is the correct way to export my WordPress database for migration?

The correct way to export your WordPress database is through phpMyAdmin, where you can access the database associated with your WordPress website and export it in a .sql format, ensuring all tables are selected for the export.

How can I minimize website downtime during a manual transfer?

To minimize downtime, you can perform the migration during low-traffic periods, prepare everything in advance before switching DNS records, or use temporary URLs to configure your website before making it live.

What are the steps for transferring WordPress files to a new host?

To transfer WordPress files to a new host, you’ll need to upload the backed-up files to the new server’s designated web root directory, typically using an FTP client or the file manager in the hosting control panel.

How do I import my WordPress database on a new server?

To import your database on the new server, create a new MySQL database and user, then use phpMyAdmin to import the .sql file you exported from your old host. Ensure the database name, user, and prefixes match what was used previously.

Why do I need to reconfigure my wp-config.php file, and how is it done?

Reconfiguring your wp-config.php file is essential because it contains the settings for the database connection and other vital configurations. You must update the database name, user, password, and host to match those of the new server.

After transferring my WordPress site manually, what checks should I perform?

After transferring, check all pages, posts, and links to ensure they work correctly. Verify that the theme and plugins are functioning and that all media loads. You should also ensure that forms, integrations, and transactional features are working as expected.

What should I do if I encounter broken links or permalinks after moving my WordPress site?

If you encounter broken links or permalinks, you may need to reset your permalink settings. Do this by going to Settings > Permalinks in your WordPress admin area, selecting the desired permalink structure, and saving the changes to flush the rewrite rules.

How can I resolve database connection errors during my manual WordPress migration?

Database connection errors can often be resolved by double-checking the database name, username, password, and host information in your wp-config.php file. Ensure that the database user has all necessary permissions and that the database server is responding.

What if I face theme and plugin incompatibilities after moving my WordPress website?

Should there be theme or plugin incompatibilities, first confirm that all files were transferred correctly. Then, try deactivating and reactivating plugins one by one to identify the source of the problem. For themes, ensure they are updated and compatible with the WordPress version you are using.

How to Migrate Your WordPress Website Free in 2024

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