Transferable Sites and Environments

Transferable sites and environments allow you to build a website without counting to the total site limit on your hosting plan. Once completed, transferable sites and environments include an easy path to unlock or transfer them to another WP Engine account. 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 account 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 account against your hosting 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 account you will transfer the individual environment using our automated process. Environments are transferred to a different WP Engine account separately, and not as an entire site. If you need to unlock a site and all of its environments on your own account, this can be done using the unlock process instead.

NOTE: For a refresh on the difference in a site and 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 account 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 hosting 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.

  1. Log into the User Portal
  2. Click Add site
  3. Check the Transferable radio button
  4. Select a creation option
  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 and 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 account or unlocked on your own account.

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.

NOTE: 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, approved and ready to transfer client, you can use the following steps. Initiating a transfer requires Full level user access to the originating hosting account.

NOTE: Only individual environments can be transferred to another account. If you need to make an entire site billable on your account, 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 hosting account with available sites. If the recipient does not have available sites on their account 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.

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

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 account requires Full (with or without Billing) level user access to that account in the User Portal.

  1. Log into the User Portal under the account 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 account, 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 account, you can simply copy the transfer code and paste it into the receiving account 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

If you do not wish to transfer site to another WP Engine account and simply want to take it live on your own account, use these steps instead to unlock the site and convert it to “billable”. Only the entire site can be unlocked, rather than individual environments. Once a site is unlocked it will count towards your plan’s total Site limit.

  1. Log into the User Portal
  2. Locate the site name in the list
  3. Select the 3 dot menu icon to the right
  4. Select Convert to billable site
  5. Click Convert in the pop up to confirm you’d like to make the Site billable on the current hosting account

Your site will now count against your plan’s site limit. You may now serve live traffic from your site, as well as add SSL certificates and CDN.

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 environments, the copy the existing content onto it.

  1. Login to your User Portal
  2. Click Add Site
  3. Select the Transferable radio button
  4. Select Move an existing environment to a new site
  5. Select from the dropdown the Environment to move
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. (Optional) Add the site to a group, for organizational purposes only
  9. Click Add 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.