How to Change Your Website Host
In an ideal world, you’ll have chosen a high-quality host when you set up your website. However, at some point you may need to make a switch, especially if your current host turns out to be less than stellar.
If you find yourself in this situation, there are a few distinct steps to take:
- Move your site’s files and database.
- Configure everything to work with your new host.
- Update your DNS records.
Each task is relatively simple to complete, although you will need to take some care throughout the process.
This post will explain how to change your website’s host, and even introduce some WordPress plugins to help make the switch smoother. Let’s get started!
Transferring Your Files to a New Host
As we said, migrating a website consists of a number of steps. The first and most important part is to transfer your site’s files. The typical way to achieve this is by using Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).
Without getting too technical, this involves connecting to your server through an FTP client such as FileZilla. Then you’ll need to find your WordPress installation’s files, copy them to your computer, and upload them to your new web host.
Transferring Your Website’s Databases
The next step is to transfer your site’s database. This process can be fairly complex. That’s understandable, given that you’re dealing with a part of your WordPress site that few users ever have to interact with.
You’ll find that the process of transferring your site’s database is somewhat similar to moving its files. You’ll need to access the phpMyAdmin tool (which is a database-specific application), download the database, and then upload it to your new server.
The danger of making mistakes with this step is fairly high, given that phpMyAdmin is not intuitive for those with less technical experience. As such, you’ll need to tread carefully, and potentially seek out help to ensure that the process goes smoothly.
How to Configure WordPress & DNS
Finally, you’ll want to update your Domain Name System (DNS) settings, in order to display your migrated site using your new host. This is another challenging step, requiring you to visit multiple locations, so you’ll want to take your time with it.
Fortunately, we previously put together a guide on how to configure your DNS if you’re a WP Engine user. While customers of other hosts won’t be able to follow this procedure exactly, it will still give you a solid overview of the process.
Using Plugins to Transfer Hosts
Given WordPress’ extensibility, you won’t be surprised that there are numerous plugins available to help you change your website’s host.
You’ll often find that these tools are capable of moving websites of all sizes, although different solutions have their own unique methods. If you’re not technically-minded, or are otherwise uncomfortable delving into the depths of WordPress and its database, a plugin is a quicker and more user-friendly solution that you’ll want to consider.
Best Plugins for Moving Your WordPress Site to a New Host
Let’s take a quick look at two top-notch solutions for moving your WordPress site to a new host. Either one can make the process of migrating your WordPress website a breeze.
Duplicator is a popular and powerful option for migrating your WordPress site. In fact, this is its primary function. The plugin compresses your entire site (database included) into one package, which can then be uploaded to your server directly and deployed.
As you might expect, this process involves tinkering within your site’s back end, and still requires a bit of technical know-how. However, we can easily recommend Duplicator as a near-perfect DIY solution for migrating your website.
Many people know UpdraftPlus as a premiere backup solution – which it is. However, this plugin can also help you migrate your website, via a premium extension.
Installing Migrator adds to UpdraftPlus’ functionality, and lets you migrate your WordPress site without opening its hood. This is obviously a significant advantage, even if UpdraftPlus isn’t technically a dedicated migration tool.
Switching WordPress Website Hosts
So far, we’ve been talking about how to switch your website’s host. However, you might also be wondering how to choose your new host in the first place.
As you may know, WordPress-specific hosting is a competitive field. As such, you’ll need to carry out some thorough research, in order to find the perfect host before opening your wallet.
First, you should consider your needs. If you fail to look at exactly what your requirements are, you could end up stuck with an under- or overpowered solution. Specifically, you’ll want to consider how many sites you intend to run (both now and in the future), the traffic levels you expect, and the amount of storage you’ll need.
Of course, budget is also important, and you can only spend as much as you can afford. However, we’d recommend staying clear of extremely ‘budget’ hosting options, as they are often lacking in key areas such as security and support.
Finally, you’ll often find that WordPress hosts have different focuses. This means you’ll need to look for a company that caters to the kind of site you’re running. For example, at WP Engine we offer a wide range of plans, serving everyone from bloggers to large enterprises.
In a nutshell, instead of asking yourself: “What is the best host?”, the question you should ask is “What is the best host for my needs?” To figure this out, you’ll simply need to look into as many potential hosts as possible, and weigh up their features and pricing as compared with your own needs and budget.
Get Support for More Common WordPress Questions from WP Engine
As we mentioned, reliability and support are key elements of any quality web host. Given this, it’s no surprise that WP Engine is trusted time and time again for superior WordPress hosting.
What’s more, we’re always on hand whenever you need assistance. For example, there’s plenty of advice on how to run your site optimally within our Resource Center. In fact, we encourage you to check out the wealth of content that’s available today!