Moving to a New Server Is Not as Complicated as You’d Think – This Is How

Moving to a new server is a daunting task for many, especially when the site you’re moving already has thousands of regular visitors and a lot of content. You risk taking the site down; we all know that is not good for the site.

Through careful planning, however, moving to a new server doesn’t have to be complicated at all. You can migrate the entire site seamlessly and have the domain name point to the new server, allowing you to complete the move with zero problems. Here’s how you can complete the move safely.

Make Sure the New Server Is Ready

Before you start migrating files to the new server, it is important that you make some basic preparations first. The task starts with choosing a hosting service that best meets your needs and requirements.

When the move to a new server involves a WordPress site, for instance, you want to make sure that the server environment is properly configured to run WordPress. When switching to a VPS or cloud VPS hosting, you need to add security measures before executing the migration.

If you have no prior experience setting up a VPS or dedicated server, you may want to opt for a managed service plan. This way, you have experienced server administrators tackling the tasks of getting the server ready for deployment.

Knowing What to Move

With the new server ready, it is time to document what you need to move to fully migrate the site. Once again, how you execute the move depends on many factors, including the CMS platform you use, the size of the site, and the database framework you use.

For this article, we are going to continue using a WordPress site with hundreds of articles as an example. Since you are migrating a WordPress site, there are basically two things you need to move: the files in your /wp-content/ folder – which includes plugins, themes, and uploads – and don’t forget to export the database itself either access SSH via CMD (Advanced) or via Cpanel’s own phpmyadmin (simple).

WordPress also offers multiple ways to migrate a site to a new server. You need to pick a method that suits you best at this point. For larger sites, moving the files and database manually is the safest way to go. You can avoid problems related to execution time and file size limitations with this method.

Archive and Export

On your old server, make some basic preparations for the migration. You want to archive the content of your WP-Content directory for relocation. You can do this via cPanel or using SSH as a way to access the old server.

The next step to complete is exporting the database. Most WordPress sites use MySQL as their database framework, so you can run a simple MySQL export command to export the database. Of course, you can also use PHPMyAdmin to execute the same command through a graphical user interface.

Now that the old site is properly archived, it is time to continue with the next step, which is….

Transfer the Files

On your new server, configure WordPress as if you are setting up a new site. You can install a new WordPress and complete the initial setup process in just a couple of minutes. Once WordPress is up and running, it is time to migrate the old site.

You start by transferring the WP-Content archive. You can use server-to-server transfer or download the archive (usually a .zip or a .tar.gz file) manually and then uploading the file to your new server. Unpack the archive and you now have all of your files – including plugins and themes – migrated.

Next, transfer the database export file and perform an import. Depending on the way your new server is configured, you can use PV, MySQL import via SSH, or PHPMyAdmin to import the database of your site to the new server.

Finalize the Move

Don’t change the nameserver configuration of your domain name just yet, because there are a few final checks to complete. First, you need to open your wp-config.php file and double-check your database configuration. Make sure the WordPress installation is pointing to the correct database in MySQL.

You also want to test the site first. You can usually access the new site using its IP address or by entering a temporary domain name provided by the hosting company. Once you are certain that the site is working properly, you can continue with the nameserver change and simply wait for the domain to point to the new server.

That’s it! You have successfully migrated your site to a new server without taking it offline at any point.

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