Migrating WordPress from one host to another used to be such a hassle. Broken databases, missing files, and long wait times made it one of my least favorite things to do.
Until I discovered plugins and tools that made migration joyfully easy.
Here is a list of my favorite migration tools. Not only have I included descriptions about each, but which tool is best for what kind of user.
If you don’t see your favorite migration tool below, please include it in a comment at the end.
Not only is this plugin easy to use, but it also works on the most popular hosting providers and is free! For the majority of users looking to migrate WordPress, this plugin will do the job.
You just install it on your site, set a few options, and export a file. Then, install the plugin on your new site, and import the file.
The plugin takes care of the rest. Some advanced users may find that it doesn’t offer all the options they need, but for simple migrations, you can’t get much better than this.
Click the link below to learn more about All-in-One WP Migration.
Like All-in-One WP Migration, Duplicator is also free. However, Duplicator provides many more options that an advanced user may need.
For instance, you can exclude certain file directories and file extensions, as well as certain database tables. Duplicator packages your site’s files and database into a compressed archive, which can be downloaded.
When ready to migrate, it provides an installer file which can be run on the new server and imports your packaged site.
You may know about BackupBuddy as one of the best backup plugins available for WordPress, but you may not know it also can be used for migrations.
Using ImportBuddy, a script included with BackupBuddy, you can upload any of your backups to a new server. Just upload the ImportBuddy script to the new server with your backup, and run the script.
Now, as you may know, BackupBuddy is a premium plugin. So why go with BackupBuddy when you can go with a free plugin instead? Well, putting aside BackupBuddy’s awesome backup features, its migration can do some stuff other plugins can’t.
For instance, instead of having to download ImportBuddy and upload it manually, BackupBuddy can send the ImportBuddy script AND your backup to your new server for you.
On top of that, most tools on this list require you already have a database on your new server. But ImportBuddy can automatically create a new database for you. Just enter your cPanel info into ImportBuddy and it will handle the rest.
If you’d like to see the actual process to migrate with BackupBuddy, check out their documentation here. Or click the link below to learn more about BackupBuddy.
ManageWP is primarily a WordPress maintenance tool. It allows developers to manage multiple WordPress sites from one dashboard. As part of that package, ManageWP also offers migration and cloning tools.
From within ManageWP, you can take any of your site’s backups and deploy them to another server.
You can see the step by step instructions here. To do this from within ManageWP would require their Professional or Business plans. If you are managing many websites already with ManageWP, using their migration tools would be an excellent option. However, if you have one website and plan to only do this one migration, I would recommend the other tools on this list.
WP Migrate DB Pro is one of my all time favorite WordPress tools. It allows you to easily transfer databases between sites with many options, such as running a find and replace and selecting which tables to move.
The only setup is to install WP Migrate DB Pro on both sites. You may wonder why I included WP Migrate DB Pro when it not only is a premium plugin but also only migrates the database (not the files).
Well, when I am migrating a WordPress site, I like to have control over the process entire process. I like to manually move all files from one server to the next, and then I’ll use WP Migrate DB Pro to move just the database when ready.
This eliminates the need to run or install any extra scripts or plugins. Plus, if I need to move the database again, such as if a client makes a change to the site, I can quickly push the database again.
Before I talk about this final plugin, here are a two disclosures.
- This plugin only works to migrate your site to WP Engine.
- Torque is owned by WP Engine.
But neither Torque nor WP Engine asked me to include this in the list. I am including it because the very first time I used it I was blown away with its simplicity.
You just install the plugin on your current site, enter in details provided by WP Engine, and the rest is handled automatically. No confusing options or technical work involved.
Of course, if you aren’t migrating to WP Engine, this plugin won’t do much. But maybe more hosting providers will build plugins like this to allow customers to more easily migrate their WordPress sites.
I’ve listed my six of favorite WordPress plugins that make migration easy. If you use one on the list, or perhaps use one not listed, please tell me about it in the comments below.