Shopping for a Web Host Part 3: How to move your blog to a new hosting company

Once you’ve decided which hosting provider to use, let’s talk about how to switch hosting providers for your blog.  Since I can’t address every scenario, I’ll try to address the most common one: moving a WordPress blog to a new web host.  You should be able to do these steps on your own, but be very careful when editing your database files.  If you are not comfortable or have questions, call and ask your new hosting provider for help.  While it’s easy to move your blog, it’s also easy to mess it up.

Do not end your current hosting agreement before you are finished moving everything!  You’ll want to try to make the change in providers without any downtime to your website. 

Step 1: Backup (export) your WordPress database and files at your existing account

  1. Access phpMyAdmin from cPanel.
  2. Click on the name of your WordPress database. 
  3. Click on the Export tab.
  4. Leave the default settings and then click “Go” to export a copy of your database to your computer.
  5. Use an FTP client to download all other files for your blog.

Step 2: Create a new WordPress installation at your new hosting provider 

  1. Use a wizard to install WordPress (most hosting providers will have a WordPress installation wizard from cPanel like Simple Scripts).
  2. Make a note of your new database configuration (database name, database user, database password).

Step 3: Edit your database configuration

Before uploading your WordPress database to the new hosting provider, you’ll want to edit the configuration to match the settings at your new hosting account from Step 2.

  1. Find the wp-config.php file within your backup.
  2. Find the MySQL settings section of the file and update the configuration settings from Step 2 (database name, database user, database password).

Step 4: Upload your WordPress files to your new hosting provider

You can do this using an FTP client.  Be sure to use the same directory structure as your old hosting provider.

Step 5: Import your WordPress database to your new hosting provider

  1. Open up phpMyAdmin at your new provider. 
  2. Access phpMyAdmin from cPanel.
  3. Click on the name of your WordPress database. 
  4. Click on the Import tab.
  5. Browse to find the location of your database backup file and then click “Go” to import your database. 

Step 6: Verify and switch hosting companies

Go through your WordPress settings on your new account and make sure they match all of your settings from your old account.

  1. After you’ve verified your blog is setup properly on your new hosting account, update your DNS to point your domain to your new account. Do this by going to your domain registrar and updating your DNS information to point to the nameservers provided by your new hosting company.
  2. It may take a few days for DNS servers across the world to propagate with your new information.  So give it a few days before you close your old hosting account.

Congratulations, you’ve moved your WordPress blog to a new hosting company!  If you see any steps I've missed or want to expand upon, please leave a comment.

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