WP Engine Hassle-Free Migration

Migrating to a new host should be easy, with minimal technical knowledge required. In order to make your migration as painless as possible, we’ve partnered with BlogVault to create an automated WordPress migration plugin. This plugin will provide you a quick way to migrate WordPress sites, allowing you to work on your other projects while the plugin does all the heavy lifting. No need to worry about importing the database or searching/replacing domain values either, the plugin does it all for you.

WP Engine Technical Support is available 24 x 7, 365 to help! Get stuck or have questions? Let Support know and we’ll walk you through it.

NOTE: Need to migration manually? Check out our Manual Migration Checklist.


Before Migrating

  1. Open a WP Engine WordPress hosting account
  2. Add a new Site and Environment to migrate your existing website to
  3. Have access to the existing site on another host

Once initiated, the migration process takes your content and database and makes a copy of the site on a WP Engine server.

This means that two copies of your site will technically exist until you point DNS away from your previous hosting provider. Be sure to double-check the domain when installing the plugin or working on either version of site until you’ve completed the full “Going Live” process.

Please also ensure your site is compatible with the current PHP version. If you aren’t sure, just migrate to a Staging or Development environment instead, then use our PHP Test Driver.


Automated Migration Process

Below is a video recap of the migration process. Continue on for the full steps and details required to seamlessly migrate your WordPress websites.

 

Access Site Migration Page

The Site Migration page of your WP Engine User Portal displays all the necessary information to complete your migration process.

  1. Log in to the WP Engine User Portal
  2. Click on the environment name that you will be migrating to
  3. Select Site Migration from the menu

This page will have different SFTP and credential information based on the environment you have selected, so be sure you’ve selected the correct one.

NOTE: Leave this tab open! You’ll need to copy and paste the information show here in the following steps.


Download & Activate Plugin

Ensure you are performing this process on the site you will be migrating from, at your prior host.

  1. Open the wp-admin of the site you are migrating from
  2. Click Plugins
  3. Click Add New
  4. Search for WP Engine Automated Migration
  5. Install the plugin
  6. Activate the plugin

You can also download the plugin from your Site Migration page and install ir manually, if desired.



Generate SFTP Credentials

When accessing the Site Migration page in your User Portal, a Destination URL, SFTP host address and SFTP username will be generated automatically.

These credentials need to be copied exactly as shown into the Migration Plugin on your prior host.

SFTP Password

The SFTP password cannot be viewed once generated for you, but it can be copied.

Simply click the icon located within the field to securely copy the password to your computer’s clipboard.



Start the Migration

  1. Open the wp-admin of the site you are migrating from
  2. You should have been re-routed to the migration form automatically when the migration plugin was activated previously
    • If not, click the WP Engine Migration tab on the primary left menu of your wp-admin dashboard
  3. Copy the SFTP credentials generated previously into the migration plugin migration
    • Email  — The email to notify when the migration is complete
    • Destination Site URL  — Your default domain, formatted as “environmentname.wpengine.com”
  4. Is Your Site Password Protected?
    • This section is situational, for most sites these columns will remain empty. Do not put your wp-admin administrator credentials in this area.
    • Fill out the “Current” column if your existing site is password protected.
    • Fill out the “WP Engine” column if you are migrating to a transferable or password protected site.
  5. Check the box to agree to our Terms of Service
  6. Click Migrate to begin the automated migration to WP Engine


BlogVault Migrates the Website

After starting the plugin you will see a migration dashboard to track its progress. You can close this out if you’d like, the migration will keep running behind the scenes. The email address you entered into the plugin will also be sent a link to the tracker.

Don’t be alarmed if it stays on one section for several minutes, especially the database. This process can take a while if your site is large.

You will receive an email when the migration is completed. At this time your website’s content and database have been copied to WP Engine, and you will be able to view it at your environment.wpengine.com URL.

NOTE: Do not change any settings on WP Engine while the migration is running, as this can interfere with proactive checks in the process.


Optional Next Steps

Add Domain to User Portal

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Click on the production environment name
  3. Select Domains
  4. Click Add Domain

For in-depth steps check out our full guide on adding a Domain to the User Portal.

You may be prompted to use Domain Connect to automatically configure your DNS records. You cannot proceed with the Second Migration below if use the domain connect service, as this will update DNS and make the site you are migrating from inaccessible. If you wish to use Domain Connect after to configure DNS after the second migration, simply delete and re-add the domain to show the connection prompt again.

Second Migration

Running the migration plugin a second time, after adding your domain to the User Portal, allows for a search and replace to occur on your domain. It also ensures all content has been copied to our server.

The second migration will be faster, as it will only copy files that differ. The database, however, will be migrated again in full in order to perform the search and replace.

If you made changes to the copy of the site that is hosted on WP Engine after running the first migration, you may not wish to migrate again and overwrite those updates. In this case you also need to update your WordPress URL manually after pointing DNS.

  1. Open the wp-admin of the site you are migrating from
  2. Click WPEngine Migration on the left
  3. Enter your information again, with one change:
    • Destination Site URL  — Enter your live domain
  4. Check the box to agree to our Terms of Service
  5. Click Migrate to begin the second automated migration to WP Engine

If you’ve already updated DNS so your live domain points to WP Engine, your previous copy of the site may be inaccessible. In this case you will need to point DNS back to your previous host before you proceed with Step 6 OR skip Step 6 entirely and update your WordPress URL manually.


Going Live

To complete the process of Going Live after migrating your website to WP Engine, we suggest you also complete the following steps as well.

Update DNS

To launch your live domain on WP Engine you’ll need to update DNS. This sends traffic coming into your live domain to a WP Engine server instead of your previous host’s server.

These steps can vary by DNS host so we’ve put together a complete guide on updating your DNS.

NOTE: DNS propagation time can vary by DNS manager. This means your site could take some time to resolve from WP Engine servers, instead of your previous host’s servers. We recommend consulting your DNS host regarding TTL settings and/or performing this step at a low traffic period.


Add SSL

Secure your site with a free SSL, paid SSL or import a third party SSL certificate.

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Click Sites
  3. Select the Production environment name
  4. Click SSL
  5. Click Add SSL
  6. Select an SSL option and follow the prompts

More information on our SSL offerings can be found here.


Migration Errors

Error MessageMeaning
Could not connect to server. Please check the address.The SFTP credentials you provided are incorrect. You can verify that you are using the right SFTP credentials by visiting the Site migration page for your Environment in your User Portal. (See Step 2)
Error! The URL specified is incorrect. Can you please check if your WP Engine account is configured with [domain]The domain entered in the “Destination Site URL” field is not configured in WP Engine’s dashboard for the Environment. Ensure the domain has been added to User Portal. (See Step 5)
“Unknown” with a white screenThis error is caused by a conflict with the Cloudflare WordPress plugin. Deactivate the plugin to run the migration and you will be all set.
That email is already in use.You have an old version of the WP Engine Automated Migration plugin installed.
Update OR delete and reinstall the plugin from your WordPress Admin Dashboard to resolve the issue.
Unable to execute PHP file on the site. Please check with your hosting provider.
  • You may have an old version of the WP Engine Automated Migration plugin installed. Update OR delete and reinstall the plugin in your WordPress Admin Dashboard.
  • Remove any redirects you have set on the destination domain, any 301 redirects, and any force HTTPS pages, which may interfere with the domain redirecting properly.


Known Limitations

Certain hosts have known incompatibilities with the WP Engine Automated Migration plugin and won’t work. Incompatible hosts:

  • WordPress.com
  • Local Hosting Environments
  • Proprietary Hosting Providers (Wix.com, SquareSpace.com, and other similar companies)

If your host is incompatible with the WP Engine Automated Migration plugin, you will need to move your website to WP Engine using our Manual Migration Checklist instead.


NEXT STEP: Learn how to add redirect rules

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