Migrating a WordPress website from one host to another can be a daunting task, especially for non-technical users. If not done properly, the entire website can go down causing loss of traffic and revenue.
Fortunately, there are some great WordPress migration plugins that take the complexity out of migrating WordPress. In this guide, we‘ll be exploring one such powerful plugin – BackupBuddy.
BackupBuddy simplifies the process of migrating WordPress websites by allowing you to create full website backups and move them to a new host with a few clicks.
We‘ll walk through the entire process of using BackupBuddy for seamless WordPress migration, covering the following topics:
- Why Website Migration is Needed
- Challenges with Manual Migration
- Introducing BackupBuddy
- Key Features of BackupBuddy
- BackupBuddy Pricing Plans
- Step-by-Step Guide to Migrate WordPress with BackupBuddy
- Testing the New Migrated Website
- Alternative Migration Plugins
So if you want to learn how to properly migrate a WordPress site without any hassles, keep reading!
Why Migrate a WordPress Website?
Before we dive into using BackupBuddy, let‘s first understand why website migrations are needed in the first place.
There can be several reasons why you may need to migrate your existing WordPress site:
Switching to a Better Hosting Provider
As your website grows, you may outgrow your existing cheap shared hosting plan. Slow page speeds, frequent downtime, and lack of support can significantly impact the user experience.
So you may want to switch to a better WordPress hosting provider that offers faster servers, better uptime and reliable support.
Moving from HTTP to HTTPS
With Google prioritizing secure HTTPS websites, you may want to migrate your old HTTP website to a new HTTPS domain. This will require updating all file references, database URLs and redirects properly.
Rebranding and Revamping the Site
Perhaps you want to rebrand your business with a new name and logo. Or maybe you want to revamp your existing website design and content.
In such cases, creating a new WordPress site from scratch and migrating the content over is the best approach.
Expanding into New Domains
If your business is expanding into new regions, you may want to launch country-specific domains like example.com.au, example.in, example.co.uk and migrate relevant content to each domain.
Moving from Subdirectory to Root Domain
Many bloggers start their website in a subdirectory (example.com/blog) before eventually moving to a root domain (example.com). Migrating from subfolder to root domain requires updating URLs and redirects.
As you can see, there are many valid reasons why you may need to migrate your WordPress site. Doing this manually can be tedious and error-prone. The easiest option is using a dedicated WordPress migration plugin like BackupBuddy.
Challenges with Manually Migrating WordPress
Before we look at how BackupBuddy simplifies WordPress migrations, let‘s first understand the challenges you can face if trying to migrate manually:
It‘s Time Consuming
Migrating a WordPress site involves moving over thousands of files and database content. Doing this manually through FTP and PHPMyAdmin can take several hours or days.
Risk of Downtime
When you migrate a live site, there is always a risk of downtime. Visitors may land on broken pages leading to loss of business. Managing redirects properly is crucial.
URL Structure Can Break
WordPress stores site URLs in the database. If these are not updated to the new domain, your entire site structure can break.
Missing Out Files and Database Content
Manually migrating thousands of files and database content increases the risk of missing out something important. This can cause site errors.
SSL and Redirects Need Setup
Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS requires reconfiguring SSL and redirects for SEO. This needs .htaccess edits and database updates.
Media Files Migration is Tricky
If your WordPress site has lots of images and files, migrating them without breaking links can be challenging.
No Testing Environment
With manual migration, it‘s difficult to test and verify the new site before going live. This increases the chances of errors after launch.
Browser Caching Can Cause Issues
Some users may still see the old cached site for some time after migration. Managing browser caching is important.
As you can see, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when manually migrating a WordPress site. The smarter solution is to use an automated migration tool like BackupBuddy.
Introducing BackupBuddy – A Powerful Migration Tool
BackupBuddy is one of the most popular WordPress backup and migration plugins from iThemes with over a million active installs.
It allows you to easily create full WordPress backups and migrate sites to a new host or domain.
The key benefit of BackupBuddy for migrations is that it handles all the complex tasks for you automatically:
- Creates a complete backup of WordPress files and database
- Exports and imports the backup to the new site
- Updates all file paths and URLs in the database
- Handles all redirects from old to new site
- Provides a testing environment to verify the new site
- Cleans up the backup files after migration
This takes the guesswork and challenges out of WordPress migration.
In the next section, we‘ll take a look at some of the key features that make BackupBuddy a great migration solution.
Key Features of BackupBuddy
Here are some of the notable features of BackupBuddy that makes WordPress migrations smooth:
BackupBuddy allows you to create complete backups of your WordPress site including all files, plugins, themes and database with a single click.
This backup serves as the basis for the migration to the new site.
Easy Scheduling of Backups
You can schedule automatic backups to run daily, weekly or monthly so you always have a latest copy. This ensures even large sites can be backed up quickly.
The migration wizard in BackupBuddy guides you through each step of the migration process including migrating or restoring the database, uploading files and updating URLs.
This imports all your emails into the new site so you do not lose any previous emails and conversations.
Selectively exclude certain files and folders from backup to reduce size and speed up the migration process for large sites.
ImportBuddy tool allows you to restore and migrate your BackupBuddy backups to a new host through an easy to use GUI wizard.
BackupBuddy automatically updates all file paths, URLs and database references to work with the new site domain.
You can use BackupBuddy migration to create a test copy of the site first before going live on the new domain. This eliminates any downtime.
301 redirects can be created from the old site to the new URLs so the traffic keeps flowing to the new domain without SEO penalties.
As you can see, BackupBuddy provides everything you need to migrate your WordPress site smoothly and seamlessly. Next, let‘s look at the pricing plans.
BackupBuddy Pricing Plans
BackupBuddy is a premium WordPress plugin developed by iThemes. It is available under different pricing plans suitable for individual to large network sites.
Here is an overview of the pricing:
|Plus||Up to 10 sites||$127/year|
|Developer||All iThemes Plugins||$249/year|
- There is also a once off Personal plan for $145
Some key things to note about BackupBuddy pricing:
- The Basic plan is great for individual sites looking for occasional migrations
- Plus adds support for multiple sites and is suitable for agencies and businesses
- Agency plan provides the best value for managing WordPress migrations across unlimited sites
- You get to use all iThemes plugins including BackupBuddy in the Developer suite
There is also a free trial of BackupBuddy that you can test before buying.
Now that we‘ve seen an overview of BackupBuddy‘s plans, let‘s go through the steps to use it for migrating your WordPress site.
Step-by-Step Guide to Migrate WordPress using BackupBuddy
Follow this simple 6 step migration process to seamlessly move your WordPress site with BackupBuddy:
Step 1: Install and Activate BackupBuddy
First, you need to install and activate the BackupBuddy plugin in your existing WordPress site.
You can purchase BackupBuddy from the official website here.
After signup and purchase, you will get download access and a license key:
Go to your WordPress site‘s admin dashboard. Next, go to Plugins > Add New > Upload Plugin:
backupbuddy.zip file and activate the plugin. This will install BackupBuddy in your WordPress site.
Step 2: Create a Full Website Backup
Now within the WordPress admin, go to Tools > BackupBuddy. This is where you can create backups of your site.
Click on Backup and select the type of backup you want. For migration, you should create a complete full backup.
Then click on Backup Now to start the backup process. It will backup your entire site including files, database, plugins etc.
The backup size will depend on how big your WordPress site is but can take several GBs for a large site.
Once the backup is completed, download the backup zip file and store it in a safe location.
Step 3: Download ImportBuddy Migration Script
The next step is to download BackupBuddy‘s ImportBuddy migration tool from within the plugin‘s Settings:
This will download a PHP script called
importbuddy.php that allows you to migrate your BackupBuddy backup to a new site.
importbuddy.php file locally along with your backup ZIP.
Step 4: Setup New Hosting and Database
Since we‘ll be migrating your site to a new host, you need to purchase new hosting and setup a blank database there.
Some good WordPress hosting providers are SiteGround, Bluehost and Kinsta.
After purchasing hosting, create a new empty database in cPanel and make note of the database name, user, password, and host.
Step 5: Upload Backup and ImportBuddy to New Host
Using FTP or cPanel file manager, upload the BackupBuddy backup ZIP file and ImportBuddy PHP script to your new host.
Upload them into the
www root folder where you want to migrate the site.
Step 6: Run the ImportBuddy Migration
Now with the backup and ImportBuddy script in place, it‘s time to migrate your site.
www.yourdomain.com/importbuddy.php to launch the ImportBuddy wizard. Enter the password when prompted.
Select the backup file to restore and provide the new database details. This will migrate your site‘s database and files to the new host.
Follow through the final steps to finish the migration! The new site should now be migrated seamlessly.
This completes the major steps for migrating your WordPress site with BackupBuddy. Next let‘s look at how to verify and test the new migrated site.
Testing and Optimizing the New Migrated Website
After completing the migration steps, your WordPress site should be migrated to the new domain on the new host.
However, before making the site live you should thoroughly test it to ensure everything works correctly:
Verify site content – Check pages, posts, menus, widgets, etc to confirm all content migrated properly.
Confirm redirects are working – Verify 301 redirects from old URLs are properly redirecting to new URLs using redirect checker tools.
Check for site errors – Look for any PHP errors, 404s or 500 errors on site pages and fix as needed.
Test forms and functionality – Forms, comments, apps, payment gateways, etc should function correctly.
Update XML sitemaps – Create new XML sitemaps for search engines pointing to the new URLs.
Enable SSL Certificate – For security, install and enable SSL on the new domain using Let‘s Encrypt.
Taking this additional time to test and optimize the newly migrated site is important before making it live for users.
Alternative WordPress Migration Plugins
While BackupBuddy is one of the most popular WordPress migration tools, there are some alternatives worth considering:
All-in-One is a free WordPress migration plugin that lets you migrate your site easily. The free version has limited features but works for smaller sites.
WP Migrate DB Pro is focused specifically on migrating just the database. It has premium add-ons for caching, media files, finding + replacing etc.
Duplicator (also called SnapCreek) is another top WordPress migration plugin similar to BackupBuddy with 800,000+ installs.
UpdraftPlus is primarily a backup plugin but also offers migration capabilities in the paid plans.
WP Stagecoach provides managed WordPress staging and migrations. The free plan allows 1 site with basic staging features.
Migrating WordPress to a new host or domain can be challenging if done manually. This is where automated migration tools like BackupBuddy are invaluable.
They eliminate the need to manually copy files, update URLs or manage redirects. With a few clicks, BackupBuddy can migrate your entire site and database to a new host.
We walked through the 6 step BackupBuddy migration process:
- Install and activate BackupBuddy
- Create full WordPress backup
- Download ImportBuddy migration script
- Setup new hosting and database
- Upload backup and ImportBuddy to new host
- Use ImportBuddy to migrate/restore site
We also looked at some best practices like testing and optimizations needed after migrating a WordPress site.
If you were considering manually migrating WordPress, we highly recommend using BackupBuddy instead for a smooth and headache-free migration experience.