How to Do a WordPress Migration on Your Own

Written on June 18, 2015. Updated on November 05, 2017

If you are a Kinsta customer you can take advantage of our free migration service. But some of you may prefer to do it yourself, maybe due to sensitive data or perhaps you just want to do it immediately rather than coordinating with us. Below are the steps on how to do a WordPress migration yourself. Depending on the size of your site, this can typically be done in a few hours.

WordPress migration

WordPress Migration Guide

Before proceeding with your WordPress migration, we always recommend taking a backup first at your old host.

Step 1

Log in to https://my.kinsta.com and click on the “Sites” menu on the left-hand side.

Step 2

Click on the “Add Site” button.

Add new site

Add new site

Step 3

Choose from one of our 12 Google Cloud Data Center locations. Then fill in the site name. Please use a descriptive, one-word name without any special characters in it. If you are doing a manual migration, you can typically select “Don’t install WordPress” from the drop-down.

Add a new site

Add a new site

Step 4

Wait until the status of the Site goes “Live”. Click on “Manage” to see the details of your site.

Manage WordPress site

Manage WordPress site

Step 5

Open a new tab and log in to your old hosting account, get your FTP and PHPMyAdmin details. Usually, you can find these credentials in your Cpanel. If not, you can reach out to your old host and request the information. You can alternatively use a plugin like Duplicator to do the migration.

Step 6

Use any FTP client to connect your site via FTP and download your site’s files to a separate folder on your computer. Typically you only need to grab the /wp-content/ folder.

Step 7

Open the MySQL editor (usually phpMyAdmin) and click on “Export” at the top to export your database.

export database phpmyadmin

Export database in phpMyAdmin

For small databases, the quick method will work fine, make sure SQL format is selected, and click on “Go.”

save sql file

Save SQL file

For larger databases, it is better to use the custom option to download your export in a smaller zip or gzip archive.

gzipped database export

Saved gzipped database file

Step 8

Go back to https://my.kinsta.com, go to your Site Details page and use the SFTP credentials to log in to your server.

SFTP credentials

SFTP credentials

The main details needed:

  • Connection type: SFTP
  • Host name, Address or URL: your IPv4 address
  • Username: your SFTP Username
  • Password: your SFTP Password
  • Port: your SFTP Port
how to use sftp flashfxp client

SFTP client

Step 9

Upload the files via SFTP to the public directory, please make sure that every file is in the right place and none of them are missing (for most sites this simply means uploading your wp-content folder).

wp-content folder

wp-content folder

Step 10

Log in to phpMyAdmin, and you can find the login details and link to it on your Site Details page (DB Name & DB Username, DB Password).

phpMyAdmin access

phpMyAdmin access

Step 11

Go to the Import menu and upload the MySQL backup. If your site’s database is bigger than the 128 MB file limit, then please upload the file into the private directory, use our support ticket system to contact us and we’ll import the database for you.

wordpress migration - import database phpmyadmin

Import database in phpMyAdmin

Step 12

After the files and the database are in place, open wp-config.php (located in your /www/sitename_xxx/public folder) and insert the following details highlighted (you can find these on your site details page):

define('DB_NAME', 'DB NAME');

/** MySQL database username */

define('DB_USER', 'DB USERNAME');

/** MySQL database password */

define('DB_PASSWORD', 'DB PASSWORD');

/** MySQL hostname */

define('DB_HOST', '127.0.0.1');

/** Database Charset to use in creating database tables. */

define('DB_CHARSET', 'utf8');

/** The Database Collate type. Don't change this if in doubt. */

define('DB_COLLATE', '');

Step 13

Go to Sites/Manage/Domains and open the SITENAME.kinsta.com domain to check if your site looks as it should. Please be aware that once you click on any of the links on that page, it will take you to the original site at your old hosting, however, you can test the final site through a local hosts file change.

Kinsta temporary domain

Kinsta temporary domain

Step 14

Add your final domain at Sites/Manage/Domains. Please make sure you add “yoursite.com” and “www.yoursite.com” if you use both versions of your domain.

Step 15

Update your DNS settings to point at Kinsta.

If you have any trouble with your WordPress migration feel free to reach out to us via a support ticket.

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