Moving a WordPress site to new domain or hosting account is something I’ve done countless times using different methods. Today I’m going to share with you a great free plugin I’ve been using for a few years to move sites around and also create backups to keep on my external hard drive.
This tutorial is only for people who have self-hosted WordPress sites and the ability to install plugins. The 5-minute video below will show you step by step how to move a WordPress site to a new domain. Scroll further down for text and image step by step instructions.
Step 1: Create Domain WordPress Backup
The very first step is to create a backup of the WordPress site you want to move. If you’re not already creating your own off-site backups you should be. To create this backup you need to search for and install a WordPress plugin called WP Clone by WP Academy.
Once installed and activated, click on the new WP Clone menu link, this will open up the options page. Simply press the big blue “Create Backup” button. Depending on the size of your WordPress site the backup should be created within 30 seconds.
If the backup is successful you’ll now have a long url that will allow you to download the .zip backup to your computer. You don’t need to download the .zip file but it doesn’t do any harm to perhaps keep a copy.
Step 2: Add New Domain And Install WordPress
Next you need to install a new installation of WordPress on the new domain. Most hosting companies have programs that let you easily install WordPress, like QuickInstall, Fantastico De Luxe or Softaculous to make this process very easy.
Step 3: Install WP Clone On New Domain
The title of this step pretty much explains everything. You need to login to the new WordPress site and install the plugin “WP Clone by WP Academy” using the search feature. Once installed and activated head over to the WP Clone setting page.
Step 4: Installing Backup On New Domain
You first need to go back to the old WordPress site and copy the backup URL. If you closed the page you can just visit the setting page of WP Clone and it will show you all the backups you’ve created along with the URL’s.
Once copied, head back over to the new domain and open the WP Clone setting page. Select “Restore from URL” and paste in the backup URL, add check-mark that you agree and press the big orange button “Restore from URL”.
After several seconds, you should see a message saying: Restore Successful
Step 5: Confirm Everything Is Working
9 times out of 10 everything will be working fine if you received the restore successful message, but it’s still a good idea to login to the newly moved WordPress site to confirm everything is working. Browse around your site to make sure all internal links are working etc.
If you can’t login, make sure that you’re using the original login details. It’s also a good idea to check or update the website email address under general settings.
Common Problem Moving A WordPress Site With WP Clone
I’ve never had any problems myself using this plugin to move or backup WordPress sites, but I have helped others and I’m aware of a few problems that can occur depending on the size or your website and the hosting company setting. With that being said I’m going to list a few errors/problems that you may run into along with some possible workarounds you can try.
Restore From URL Error
If you receive an error message like the one in the blue box below while attempting to restore from a URL, it’s possible that the host doesn’t allow outbound requests, this prevents your new WordPress site from downloading the .zip file from another website, either on a different IP or host.
The plugin encountered an error while downloading the zip file, the following error message was returned:
The workaround for this error is to do the following. First you’ll need to download the backup .zip file to your computer. Now either via FTP or file manager you need to reupload the .zip file to the new domain. To make things easier, I would just upload inside the root directory of the domain.
Once it’s uploaded you can then from URL, but you’ll need to enter the URL, for example newdomain.com/backup-long-filename.zip
MySQL Server Has Gone Away
If you receive the error message “MySQL server has gone away” while attempting to create a backup, it’s possible that you have a large wordpress site. I would recommend trying the following. On the WP Clone setting page below the blue “Create Backup” button, click on “Advanced Settings”. Enter 256 in both of the following fields.
Maximum memory limit = 256
Script execution time = 256
Then scroll down and try the backup again, if it still doesn’t work the next thing I would try is excluding some of the large folders from the backup. If you know how to use FTP or file manager, maybe take a peek inside the wp-content folder to see what exactly you have to backup.
Still Need Help?
If you still need help and can’t figure out how to move wordpress site to new domain, you’re welcome to contact me or post a comment below,with details on what you’re having problems with, I’ll try help you best I can.