How I Moved my 11-year-old Website to a New Web Host

5 years ago

Warning, about 99.99% of you are going to want to skip this one. But for that teeny tiny percent of people who have self-hosted Wordpress websites, this might come in handy.

So Bakiwop asked how I backed up and moved I Will Dare to a new host. I would like to say it was a lot of hard work and thinking, but it wasn't. In fact, it was kind of ridiculously easy, especially once I read instructions.

Changes Road Sign via

To begin, I downloaded and installed the WP-DB-Backup plugin. Once that was ready, I downloaded a backup of the MySQL database to my computer. Also, because I am paranoid and had no idea what I was doing, I went to phpMyAdmin through my web host and backed up the database there too. However, I didn't ever use that one. The Wordpress backup was all I really needed.

Once the database was on my computer, I opened up my ftp client of choice (I finally bought Transmit because I got sick of how flaky the freebie Cyberduck was), logged into my old host, and then downloaded all the files from the old server to my computer.

After about 837 hours (it seemed to take forever to download all six websites I was moving), everything from the server was one my computer. After that, I logged into the new host (Media Temple, in case you were wondering) where I had already set up the domains, and uploaded all the files to the new server. Oh, when I was setting up the domains on the new host I also set up the new databases.

While the files were uploading, I went to my domain registrar (it was GoDaddy, but after the SOPA hullaballoo I switched to Name Cheap) and changed the nameservers. I did most of this over Thanksgiving weekend so if there was any funky DNS nonsense nobody'd be on the Internet to notice it.

Once all the files were uploaded to the new server, I opened wp-config.php and filled in the new database and password information. Then it was off to phpMyAdmin where I clicked the Import tab, chose the WordPress database backup I had downloaded at the beginning and let the wizards that run the internet and computers work their magic.

This is all it took for every site except I Will Dare because, like me, it's a big ol' bitch. Eleven years of data is apparently more than the puny phpMyAdmin thing can handle. Wimp. So then it got a little scary and I had to perform some weird ritual that involved using the Terminal program on Enid, my Mac, and SSHing into the server. After about 38 trial and error runs and one email to Media Temple support, I read ALL the instructions and it worked like a charm. I'm sure this SSH stuff won't apply to a lot of people, and if it does the directions are probably specific to your host. My only advice, read all the directions and not just the first seven and think you know what you're doing (as I did).

I wish I could tell you all about the SSH nonsense but I have no idea how it worked. I know it involved very careful typing, and hopping on one foot while spelling my name backwards.

And that's all there was to it. It sounds a lot longer and harder than it actually was. With the smaller sites, I was done with the move in less than an hour. It was only I Will Dare that proved to be a pain in the ass.

Phew. Any questions?

I've been blogging for over 11 years at I Will Dare. I'm also the editor of Minnesota Reads.

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