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 a couple of options for migrating your site yourself. Depending on the size of your site, this can typically be done in a few hours.

WordPress Migration Guide Options

Before proceeding with either of the options, we always recommend taking a backup first at your old host.

Option 1 – Migrate Using Free WordPress Plugin

We have in-depth walkthroughs on how to migrate using the following plugins:

Also, make sure to check out our curated list of the best WordPress migration plugins.

Option 2 – Migrate Manually with MySQL + FTP

Step 1

Log in to MyKinsta and click on the “Sites” menu on the left-hand side.

Step 2

Click on the “Add site” button in the top right.

Add new WordPress site

Add new WordPress site

Step 3

Choose from one of our 21 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’re doing a manual migration, we recommend selecting the option: “Don’t install WordPress.” Then fill out the rest of the credentials. Note: These don’t need to match your current site as they will get overwritten later.

New Install – Don’t Install WordPress

New Install – Don’t Install WordPress

Wait until the status of the Site goes “Live.” Then click into the site.

Step 4

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 5

Use any FTP client to connect your site via FTP and download your site’s files to a separate folder on your computer. You typically will want to download everything from your /public/ folder.

Public folder contents

Public folder contents

Step 6

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 7

Go back to MyKinsta, go to your site’s “Info” page and use the SFTP credentials to log in to your server.

MyKinsta SFTP credentials

MyKinsta SFTP credentials

The main details needed:

  • Connection type: SFTP
  • Host name, Address, Server, or URL: your IPv4 address
  • Username: your SFTP Username
  • Password: your SFTP Password
  • Port: your SFTP Port
SFTP client

SFTP client

Step 8

Upload the contents of the /public/ folder you downloaded earlier into the /public/ folder on your new Kinsta site.

Step 9

Log in to phpMyAdmin. You can find the link and login details for it at the bottom of your site’s “Info” page (Database name, Database username, Database password).

phpMyAdmin access

phpMyAdmin access

Step 10

Click on your database on the left-hand side. The database name should correspond with your Kinsta’s site name.

Go to the Import menu and upload the MySQL backup. If your site’s database is bigger than the 128 MB file limit, upload the file into the /private/ folder, located one directory above the /public/ folder. Then open up a ticket with our support team and we can import the database for you.

wordpress migration - import database phpmyadmin

Import database in phpMyAdmin

Step 11

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

/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define('DB_NAME', 'DB NAME');

/** MySQL database username */
define('DB_USER', 'DB USERNAME');

/** MySQL database password */

Step 12

Go to your site’s “Domains” screen and open the temporary URL (sitename.kinsta.cloud) 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. If you used your live domain during the install creation, you can preview your site by changing your local hosts file.

Kinsta temporary URL

Kinsta temporary URL

Step 13

Add your final domain if you haven’t already.

  • Add “yoursite.com” and “www.yoursite.com” if you use both versions of your domain.
  • Click on “Make primary” next to the domain you want to use.
Add primary domain

Add primary domain

Step 14

Update your DNS settings to point at Kinsta.

Install Kinsta MU-Plugin

Our Kinsta MU-plugin is automatically installed on fresh WordPress installations done here at Kinsta. However, since you’ve migrated your site yourself, you’ll need to download and install the Kinsta MU plugin manually. This includes our full page caching and other functionality such as the ability to deploy the Kinsta CDN.

Step 1: Download and Unzip the Plugin

First, download the Kinsta MU-plugin and unzip it.

Step 2: Upload to Site

You’ll then need to connect to your site via SFTP and upload the kinsta-mu-plugins folder and kinsta-mu-plugins.php file to the /wp-content/mu-plugins/ directory.

Kinsta MU plugins

Kinsta MU plugins

If the /wp-content/mu-plugins/ directory doesn’t exist, create it first and then drop in the above file and folder.

mu-plugins folder

mu-plugins folder

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