2021 Guide: How to Move a WordPress Site to a New Host (3 Steps)

How To Move A Wordpress Site

Learning how to move a WordPress site, whether from one host to another or to a new domain name, can be a tedious process wrought with peril should something go wrong. You want the transition to go quickly to minimize downtime, but any misstep could extend your misery.

Thankfully, however, many of the top hosts will handle migrations for you — and provide tools that make manual transfers extremely simple.

We’ll share our recommendations and step-by-step guides for moving your WordPress site to a new host, new domain, and new server.

How to Move Your WordPress Site to a New Host

Beginners, experts, and brands large and small tackle WordPress host migration every day, so you’re not alone. Please keep in mind the steps below are general guidelines you must follow. Depending on the structural complexity of your site and server, there may be additional housekeeping needed to ensure a flawless migration.

Moving any site involves three elements: the website files (your blog content, media library, themes), the host server on which they’re stored, and the domain where visitors can find your site on the web. Rest assured, your WordPress website will be snuggled into its new home by the day’s end.

1. Choose a Web Host With Free WordPress Migration Assistance

First, you’ll need a new host, preferably one that specializes in WordPress plans. We recommend choosing one that offers free migration assistance — that is, of course, assuming you’d rather not perform tasks, such as exporting and creating a new database from the migrating site or editing the wp-config.php file, on your own.

Note that hosts that offer free WordPress migrations primarily only do so for new customer accounts. The free WordPress migration is an incentive to sign up. If you’d like to migrate someone’s WordPress site to your existing hosting account, you’ll either be directed to the host’s knowledgebase for a tutorial, or you may be asked to pay a small fee for someone to do it for you.

Regardless, these hosts strike the right balance of free migrations and friendly WordPress support:


InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $2.99

  • Free SSD Storage, NGINX, PHP 7, PHP 8, and free CDN included
  • FREE SSL certificate and 50GB SSD-200GB SSD
  • Automatic plugin, theme, and core updates
  • Features a FREE drag-and-drop WP page editor
  • Premium themes and plugin subscriptions
  • Get started on InMotion now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

InMotion: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 5 minutes

PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): InMotion Hosting, long known for affordable and high-performance shared hosting options, entered the WordPress space with a solid option built upon the company's reputation for great support and reliability. Costing a small premium over other budget-minded options, InMotion does include some nice features to help justify that cost difference. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name WordPress Hosting Plans
90 days 50 GB SSD - 200 GB SSD FREE (1 year) www.inmotionhosting.com/wordpress


Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $2.95

  • Recommended by WordPress Core since 2005
  • FREE SSD storage and SSL certificate
  • FREE domain registration and email
  • Automatic installation and updates
  • 63% discount for HostingAdvice readers
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

Bluehost: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 5 minutes

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): Aimed at personal bloggers and first-time users, Bluehost’s WordPress hosting packages are a great alternative to simple shared hosting. These service come at a premium, compared to Bluehost’s standard shared plans, but the WordPress optimization and platform-specific resources are arguably worth the cost. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name WordPress Hosting Plans
30 days 50 GB SSD - Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.bluehost.com/wordpress


A2 Hosting review

Monthly Starting Price $2.99

  • FREE Cloudflare CDN and 1-click WP installs
  • Turbo Server, SSD speed, and optimized caching
  • A2-optimized plugins for performance and security
  • FREE SSL certificates and 24/7 support
  • FREE HackScan and KernelCare
  • Get started on A2 Hosting now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

A2 Hosting: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 4 minutes

Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): As experts in performance optimization, A2 Hosting is a top choice for powering resource-heavy WordPress websites. The company offers shared or managed plans for the ultra-popular content management system, with the benefits extending to Joomla, Drupal, and other platforms. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name WordPress Hosting Plans
30 days Unlimited SSD New or Transfer www.a2hosting.com/wordpress

See other top WordPress hosts »

2. Back Up and Transfer Your Website Files

Once you’ve selected your new WordPress hosting plan, follow the setup prompts provided by the company. Do not install WordPress yet, as you’ll want to back up your files in your existing control panel (e.g., cPanel or Plesk) first.

Even if you don’t know what the backup means or its exact contents, you’ll have it on hand in the event of an unexpected error that makes you wish you could travel back in time.

cPanel Backups Screenshot

Back up your WordPress website files and directories within cPanel (or another control panel).

If you’re using a free migration host, now’s the time to request a transfer service! A quick Google search for “HostName website transfer request” will guide you to the appropriate form and migration instructions.

You’ll get a confirmation email that says your new host is working on your project, and it will likely include a contact person to stay in touch with. Stay up to date with the transfer by emailing your contact at the new host.

If you’re handling the migration yourself, this guide sums up the steps well:

  1. Backup your WordPress site files using an FTP program.
  2. Export your WordPress database within the phpMyAdmin program in your control panel.
  3. Create a new WordPress database on your new host server.
  4. Edit the wp-config.php file to reflect the new database name and user info.
  5. Import your saved database and upload your WordPress files to your new host.

And, voila! Your WordPress site has a new home. The final step is to point your WordPress site’s domain name to your new host’s nameservers.

3. Switch Your DNS Record Settings

Once your site transfer is complete, you’ll need to change the DNS of the domain name to point to the new host. To do this, simply log into the original domain registrar of the WordPress site, navigate to the DNS section, and change the two name servers to those given to you by your new web host.

For example, if you’re switching your DNS from GoDaddy, your nameservers might be:


To point your domain to InMotion’s nameservers instead, you would change them to:


That’s it, except for that slightly annoying propagation time your domain might experience!

Your website will now live on a new web host, and you can explore the tools your new host offers. At the same time, you should click around your site to test any broken links or images. Never underestimate the importance of QA!

How to Move Your WordPress Site to a New Domain

Moving a WordPress site to a new domain is actually a bit trickier than moving to a new host. But, as with most tasks in WordPress, where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Think back to when Mark Zuckerberg decided to change TheFacebook.com to Facebook.com. Unfortunately, he couldn’t just delete the “the” and call it a day. Changing domain names isn’t as simple as adding or deleting characters. You have to move files and change some database information. Let’s take a look at how to do this.

Note: I strongly recommend pulling up the live chat support to guide you through this process, because, depending on the web host, there may be additional steps required.

1. Purchase a New Domain Name Registration

First, create a new domain name in your hosting account. You can browse available domains and purchase the one you want from a third-party registrar, or you can skip the middleman by selecting a hosting provider that lets you handle your domain registration at signup (often covering the initial year’s registration fees!). Make sure your new domain is pointed to the host that is or will be supporting your WordPress site. Here are our three favorite hosts for domain registration and support:


Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $2.95

  • FREE domain registration and site-building tools
  • Unlimited domains, emails, and bandwidth
  • Up to $200 in offers with Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
  • Top-ranked WordPress host with tons of perks
  • 24/7 customer support and online tutorials
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

Bluehost: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 4 minutes

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): Bluehost offers all the freebies you need to get started with domain hosting. The company includes a free domain or transfer, plus unlimited bandwidth and storage. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Domain Hosting Plans
30 days 50 GB - Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.bluehost.com/domain


Hostinger review

Monthly Starting Price $1.39

  • Lowest domain prices in the industry
  • FREE registration on most plans
  • Host up to 100 domains on most plans
  • Domain privacy protection safeguards your info
  • Unlimited resources and automatic backups
  • Get started on Hostinger now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

Hostinger: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 3 minutes

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Don’t be turned off by Hostinger’s remarkably low prices. The company’s insanely low pricing model extends to domain name services, as well as its premium support and impressive list of features. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Domain Hosting Plans
30 days 30 GB to 200 GB SSD FREE (1 year) www.hostinger.com/domain


iPage review

Monthly Starting Price $1.99

  • FREE domain registration and transfer
  • Unlimited disk space, domains, and databases
  • $200 toward Google AdWords and Bing advertising
  • Unlimited bandwidth and email addresses
  • FREE online store and website builder
  • Get started on iPage now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

iPage: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 5 minutes

PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): With iPage domain hosting, users get a free domain name registration or a free domain transfer, and can host unlimited domains. The company offers unlimited bandwidth and emails, plus $200 in advertising credits to help get your website launched…. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Domain Hosting Plans
30 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.ipage.com/domain

See other top domain hosts »

2. Migrate Your WordPress Site Files

Next, log into your cPanel file manager and copy the entire set of public_html files from the site you’d like to move.

cPanel File Manager Screenshot

Within your control panel, you should find a file manager application. This allows you to easily add, delete, and edit files.

Head to the new file manager file of your new domain name. Paste the previously copied files there. You’ll now have two copies of the same site in two separate locations. Next, head to your phpMyAdmin account.

cPanel phpMyAdmin Screenshot

A popular administration tool for MySQL and MariaDB, phpMyAdmin allows you to easily manage your site database(s).

Find the directory labeled “wrdp” associated with your old domain name on the left. If you own and operate several domains, this can be a bit challenging at first.

Screenshot of changing siteurl

Your domain’s wrdp account will be listed on the left-hand side of your phpMyAdmin console.

Click the plus sign next to your domain to expand options. Click “wp_options,” and in the section labeled “siteurl” at the top, click on the pencil icon to edit. In the middle box, change the old URL to your new URL, then click “Save” or “Go.”

3. De-Index URLs of the Old Domain Site

You’ve now moved your WordPress site to a new domain name, but people can still access your WordPress site at your old domain name. It would be wise to install a plugin, such as Yoast SEO, on the old site, and have search engines de-index any/all URLs of the old site you’d rather people not use or find.

How to Move Your WordPress Site to a New Server

If you strictly want to move your WordPress site or blog to a new (upgraded) server, there’s good news and bad news.

The bad news is that your current server isn’t getting the job done. It’s too slow, too expensive, or too cheap. Or perhaps it won’t let you host multiple domains or isn’t equipped with cPanel — or maybe it got hacked by foreign robot spies. That’s a lot of potentially bad news, so, hopefully, it doesn’t all apply to you.

The good news: It’s easy to move a site to a new server. In fact, most hosts will upgrade servers for you and move everything as well. You’ll simply pay them the difference. Of course, if you need to migrate to a new host altogether as part of your server migration, see above first. To recap, here are the steps to migrate your WordPress site itself:

Step 1: Log into your control panel, back up your site files via the file manager, and export your site database via phpMyAdmin.

Step 2: Create a new database on your new host server, and edit the wp-config file to include the new database name and login credentials. Import your saved database, and upload your WordPress files.

Step 3: Ensure your DNS settings are in place, and conduct a final QA before shutting down your old server or canceling your shared hosting account.

You Can Move Into Your WordPress Site’s New Home in an Afternoon

By using the free resources at your disposal, you can move into your WordPress site’s new home in just a few minutes. You don’t need to be a tech expert, but do take notes on what your live chat helpers tell you for future migrations.

Take your time and methodically go through each step to ensure everything goes smoothly. Although the process may seem daunting, breaking everything down into small steps makes things much more manageable.

Now, go impress your clients and have fun in your new hosting environment!

Advertiser Disclosure

HostingAdvice.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). HostingAdvice.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

Our Editorial Review Policy

Our site is committed to publishing independent, accurate content guided by strict editorial guidelines. Before articles and reviews are published on our site, they undergo a thorough review process performed by a team of independent editors and subject-matter experts to ensure the content’s accuracy, timeliness, and impartiality. Our editorial team is separate and independent of our site’s advertisers, and the opinions they express on our site are their own. To read more about our team members and their editorial backgrounds, please visit our site’s About page.