Transferable Sites and Environments

Transferable sites and environments allow you to build a website without counting towards the total site limit on your WP Engine plan. Once completed, transferable sites and environments include an easy path to unlock or transfer them to another WP Engine plan. In this article we will explain how to create a transferable site, and how to transfer an environment to your client successfully.

What is “transferable”?

Every WP Engine plan has the ability to create essentially infinite transferable sites and environments at no additional charge. Sites and environments can only be created as transferable, and cannot be converted to the transferable state.

Each transferable environment has traffic blocked through basic authentication, and therefore transferable sites do not count against your plan’s total site limit. Be aware however that other plan limits, like local disk storage, will continue to count towards your total plan usage.

When you’re ready to transfer a website to another WP Engine plan you will transfer the individual environment using our automated process. Environments are transferred to a different WP Engine plan separately, and not as an entire site. If you need to unlock a site and all of its environments on your own plan, this can be done using the unlock process instead.


For a refresh on the difference between a site and an environment, review our guide here.

Transferable Specifications

Transferable sites differ from standard, or billable, sites in a few ways:

  • Transferable environments are transferable to any another WP Engine plan with sufficient space on their plan through an automated process.
  • Environments within transferable sites are automatically password-protected to block traffic. The password cannot be removed until the transfer/unlock is complete, however it can be changed.
  • Transferable sites do not count against your plan’s site limit.
  • Transferable sites are automatically exempt from server cache due to password-protection.
  • Transferable sites are ineligible for SSL and CDN.

Create Transferable Site

A “site” is the grouping of three environments (PRD, STG and DEV) and will need to be created before you can add a transferable environment. Both the site container and the individual environments within will be transferable.

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Click Add site
  3. Check the Transferable radio button
  4. Select a creation option
    • If “Move an existing environment to a new site” is selected, only environments already created as transferable can be selected.
  5. Click Next
  1. Fill in a Site name
    • This is the collection name of production, staging and development together. It can be changed later and doesn’t need to be unique.
  2. Enter an environment name
    • This name refers to the specific environment. It must be unique and cannot have been used previously.
    • This name cannot be changed.
  3. Select an Environment type
    • Production — Intended to be taken live on a custom domain after transfer or unlock
    • Staging — Intended to be used for testing updates or debugging issues
    • Development — Intended for building and development
  4. (Optional) Add the site to a group, for organizational purposes only

Change Transferable Password

Transferable environments are password protected behind basic authentication. This additional login prevents the website from being taken live and receiving real traffic. Because the environment is not billable, the basic authentication login cannot be removed until the environment is transferred to another plan or unlocked on your own plan.

This password can be changed, however, in order to make logging in easier, or if the login has been shared for review and needs to be changed for security reasons. The user name will always be demo and cannot be changed.


Do not change the password for a transferable environment until the environment has completed its initial set up and you receive an email that the environment is ready to use.

To change the password, simply click the pencil icon next to the password in your User Portal, on the Overview page for the environment.

Transfer Environment

When the website is developed and approved, you can use the following steps to transfer it to a client’s own WP Engine plan. Initiating a transfer requires Full level user access to the originating WP Engine plan.


Only individual environments can be transferred to another plan. If you need to make an entire site billable on the same plan, see the steps for unlocking a site instead.

Initiate Environment Transfer

Before beginning this process you will want to ensure the recipient has their own WP Engine plan with available sites. If the recipient does not have available sites on their plan they will need to delete an existing site or upgrade to accept the transfer.

  1. Log in to your User Portal
  2. Click your environment name in the list
  3. Click Transfer environment
  1. Enter the client’s email in the field labelled Send transfer code and instructions to
  2. (Optional) Enter a Note to the recipient
    • You may choose to provide a link to this article or your phone number, for example.
  3. Click Send Code

This code will expire 30 days after being generated, for security purposes.

The recipient will receive an email with instructions for how to accept the transfer, as well as your custom note. This email will look similar to the following example.


The environment will not be removed from your plan until the recipient has entered the transfer code into their own WP Engine plan.

Accept Environment Transfer

The recipient of a transfer will need to enter a transfer code in the User Portal to complete the transfer process.

Accepting a transferable site on an plan requires Full (with or without Billing) level user access to that plan in the User Portal.

  1. Log in to the User Portal under the plan receiving the transfer
  2. Click Accept Transfer
  3. Paste in the Transfer code from either the email or copied from the transfer initiation form
  4. Follow the prompts to confirm the transfer

Alternatively, if there are currently no sites on the plan, you will see the following screen.

In this case locate “Accept a transfer” and click Accept now. Paste in the Transfer code from either the email or copied from the transfer initiation form and follow the prompts to complete the transfer.

Transfer Code

The transfer code is sent via email to the specified recipient when a transfer is initiated. It can be found at the top of the email, as shown in this example:

Alternatively, if you have access to both the sending and receiving plan, you can simply copy the transfer code and paste it into the receiving plan with no email. The transfer code in this case can also be found on the form prior sending the transfer email.

Unlock a Transferable Site

Unlocking a transferable site is different than transferring a site because unlocking will keep the site on the current hosting account. The entire site must be unlocked, converting all environments within it to billable.

A “billable” site is allowed to serve live traffic by removing basic authentication, and grants the ability to add a domain and to add SSL. Additionally, converting the site to billable site means it will count towards your plan’s total site count limit.

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Locate the site name in the list
  3. Select the gear menu icon to the right
  4. Select Convert to billable site
  5. Click Convert in the pop up

Convert Standard Environment to Transferable

In some cases, you may want to transfer an environment that is not directly “transferable” or otherwise convert a live site to non-billable. An existing environment or site cannot be converted to transferable. Rather, you will need to create a new transferable site and environment to then copy the existing content onto.

  1. Log in to your User Portal
  2. Click Add Site
  3. Select This site is transferable
  4. Select Copy an existing environment to a new site
  1. Select from the dropdown the Environment to copy
  2. Fill in a Site name
    • This name refers to the group of environments (Prd, Stg, and Dev). It does not need to be unique and can be changed later.
  3. Select an environment type for this environment to become within the new site
    • Production — Intended to be taken live on a custom domain after transfer or unlock
    • Staging — Intended to be used for testing updates or debugging issues
    • Development — Intended for building and development
  4. (Optional) Add the site to a group, for organizational purposes only
  5. Click Add site

That’s it! Your existing environment has now been made transferable by making it a part of a new transferable site.

NEXT STEP: Learn how to add Sites and Environments

Need more Sites?

Each Site includes Development, Staging, and Production environments. Get more Sites for your account as an add-on without upgrading your whole hosting plan.