2 Ways to Move Your Site to a New Host

In Web Hosting Skills, Webmaster Skills
Site Migration

You may want to move your site to a new host or server. However, before moving the resources of your site, you should consider the large size of the files and database of your site. Generally, moving a site from the old host to the new host is only passing through a few steps. However, the sooner or later depends on the size of your site’s files and database of your site. Read the explanation below before you choose between the first and second way.

Consider this before Choosing a Way to Move Your Site

You can move your site from the recent host to a new host in two ways. The both of the ways are not too different. Only, the first one is a faster way, and you can do it if your site uses a common CMS and there’s no modification in your site’s coding and customization on your site’s theme. If you can move your site to a new host using the first way, means you can move it also using the second way. But if there are some modifications or customizations, you can choose the second way. In addition to the CMS modification and customization reason, choosing the second way is right if the files and database of your site are not any common CMS-based, but you created it yourself. Before migrating your site to a new host, make sure you back up the site first.

Migrating Your CMS-Based Website to a New Host

This way specifically explains the steps to move your blog or site from one host to another host. Actually, it’s tricky some webmasters to move the contents of their site or blog to another hosting, especially for beginners. The common constraint that often happens is the display of the site’s theme view does not match to the previous view as it was still in the old hosting. Or it could be also the site navigation becomes a mess. Surely you can fix it, but you it takes time and effort to move your blog files to a new host. Follow the steps below.

Step 1 – Install the CMS on the New Host

Make sure you know the CMS your site uses and its version.For example, if the CMS is WordPress, make sure your site is using the latest version of WordPress. If it’s Joomla, make sure has been updated to the latest version of Joomla. So do for other CMSes. Then, install the latest version of the CMS in your new host or server. Most hosting providers feature a quick install tool for most common used CMSes. So, for a quick reason, use it to install the CMS.

Instead, you can upload the CMS files to the files directory (usually in public_html root folder) and do the installation.

Public HTML Root Folder

Ensure the connection of the database and the files directory is working properly. Find the menu to create a new database on your hosting account, because not all web hosting providers have the same way of creating a database. Note all the new database details such as database name, user, password, and hostname. Installing the CMS first is important to avoid any error instead of directly uploading the site’s files to the root folder.

Step 2 – Moving the Site’s Files from the Recent Host to a New Host

Download all of your site’s files from the recent host to your computer in a new empty folder using FTP Client software like Cute FTP, FileZilla, Total Commander, etc.

Moving site's files to a new host using FileZilla

Step 3 – Moving the Database to the New MySQL Server

Download or Export your site's database from your host' phpMyAdmin.

Download and save your site’s database to your computer, and Import to the new Host’s MySQL Server. You can download the database from the phpMyAdmin (MySQL → phpMyAdmin, then, click the Export). Otherwise, you can download the database of your site from the Backup menu of the Cpanel of your site’s host. Getting your site’s database from its Cpanel is easier. But I suggest you use PhpMyAdmin as there would be more Export options, such as clicking the Export, select your site’s database and save it as a preferred file. Then, click the type of compression (recommended to select zipped) and click Go to Process the Export.

Step 4 – Adjust the Backup of Your Site’s Database to the New Host

Run the database you just exported (step 3) using Notepad. If you saved the database in .zip file of format, you need to extract it first. In case the code of the database looks ragged, you can use Microsoft Word or Notepad2,  you can look the coding more neatly. Then press CTRL+F to and type “CREATE DATABASE” (without quotes) to find the following text:

Then, you must delete those texts, because it cannot contain CREATE DATABASE command in the database file when you Import it to the new database on the new host. Then, save the database you just edited.

Step 5 – Import the Database to the New Host

Import the database from yor computer to the phpMyAdmin of your new web host

Go to the Cpanel of the new host, and go to PhpMyAdmin (MySQL → phpMyAdmin). Import the database file to the new server. Take note, the database must be edited as in step 4 to work properly.

Step 6 – Edit and Upload the Configuration File of Your Site

Go to the downloaded site’s files from (step 2) and edit some details of the configuration file such as database name, database user, database password, and database hostname. It’s a must do to adjust the site resources to the new server environment. Then upload the configuration file to the new installed CMS files directory. If you use WordPress, the default configuration file should be wp-config.php, configuration .php for Joomla, settings.php for Drupal.

Step 7 – Change the DNS address of Your Site’s domain

Change the DNS of your site's domain name.

Change your blog’s Nameserver (DNS) address. To change the DNS of your site’s domain name, go to the Cpanel where you register the domain and find the Domain Name menu. Changing the DNS takes effect about 24-48 hours.

Step 8 – Upload and Replace the Site’s Files

When uploading the site’s files to the new host, replace all of the CMS files in the root folder on the new host except the configuration file (step 6). If it’s a shared hosting package, it may be a busy server (Read also: How to Choose a Web Host). If so, you can upload the site’s files one by one using FTP client software like Filezilla (Step 2). Replacing or Rewriting the files in the public HTML root folder is the most important part of maintaining the modifications and customizations of your CMS-based website.

Migrating Non-CMS Based Website to a New Host

This way is almost the same to the first way above. The differences are only in step 1 and step 8. You don’t need to install any CMS, but you can directly upload the files of your non-CMS based website to the public HTML root folder. If your site is a CMS-based site without any modification and configuration, you can also use this way to move your CMS-based site from the recent host to a new host.

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