7 Steps to Migrate Your WordPress.com Site to a New Server

7 Steps to Migrate Your WordPress.com Site to a New Server

Most webmasters would rather outsource the website migration than do the job themselves, but it is important that you learn how to migrate your WordPress.com website to a new server. A section of the people will pass up on the chance to migrate the WordPress website because they think that only a professional can handle the job.

In this article, we will explore the seven steps of how to migrate your WordPress.com site to a new server. Read on to the end for a comprehensive guide on how to migrate your WordPress.com site to a new server. When done correctly, you will see that migration is an easy process that you can do yourself. However, you should contact a professional in case of any complications during the process.

How to Migrate Your WordPress.com Site to a New Server

The migration process consists of four major parts

  • Moving the website files
  • Moving the website database
  • Configuring the application to work with a new web host
  • Aligning your DNS domain to the new host

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However, these parts take seven steps to complete. Let us get into how to migrate your WordPress.com site to a new server:

Step 1: Backup Your Website Files and Content

This is not only good practice when undertaking website migration, but it is one of the requirements. There are two options of backing up your website files and database; using a plugin to automate the process or manually back up.

The manual process requires that you use an FTP program, connect to your current server, and then copy all the website files to a folder in your computer’s hard drive. Be sure to check the help file on your FTP program’s to see the hidden files such as the .htaccess file.

The manual process when compared to the use of plugins can take a while, and it is easy to make mistakes. However, with plugins such as Duplicator, you can automate the backup process.

Step 2: Export Your Website’s Database

This is a straightforward process and for this section, we will use cPanel to export the website database. The process could be different if you are using a different control panel.

how to migrate your WordPress.com website to a new server

    • Login to your cPanel account
    • Open phpMyAdmin application
    • Choose the database with the WordPress installation from the sidebar on the left
    • Click the ‘Export’ tab then select the ‘Quick – display only the minimal options’
    • Choose the SQL format
    • Click ‘Go’

The database export will begin immediately, and it will be downloaded to your preferred folder in your computer. To make things easier, you should use one folder to store the website files, and database.

Step 3: Create a WordPress Database on the New Server

First off, you need to create a database which will be the import destination of your SQL data. Next, log in to the new server with the provided user credentials and connect to the cPanel software or the control panel you are using.

We will use the MySQL Databases application to create a new database; however, you should contact the web host and enquire about the application they use to create a database on their servers. These are the steps to follow when creating a database using the MySQL Database application

    • Open the MySQL Database application, create a new database and choose a unique and appropriate name
    • Create a new MySQL user and be sure to use a strong and unique password
    • Add the new user account to the database you created earlier and grant it all privileges
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Once completed, write the name of the database down and the login credentials of the new MySQL account since you will need them in the following steps on how to migrate your WordPress.com site to a new server.

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Step 4: Edit the wp-config.php File

Go to the folder where you downloaded the website files and look for a file called wp-config.php. This file controls how your WordPress site connects and to the database.

Make a copy of the wp-config.php file and store it in a different folder in your computer. This is to ensure that you can restore the changes made if anything goes wrong.  Open the original wp-config.php file and make the following essential changes to it

Edit the Database Name

Once the file is open, look for this line in the file

[pbcode id=”J5xZcjUZ”/]

Normally, the db_name section of this line is configured to the old MySQL database name of the server that you are migrating from. Change it to name of the new MySQL database you created in step 3.

Edit the Database Username

Below this, you will find the following line

[pbcode id=”RvMULYtf”/]

In the db-user section replace the old user name with the new one you created in step 3.

Change the Database Password

Finally, locate the following line in the wp-config.php line

[pbcode id=”LKhfBLcZ”/]

In the db_pass section, change the password and input the new one you created in step 3.

After these processes, save the wp-config.php file and close it. In case you make a mistake, you can always start the process by making another copy from the original wp-config.php and following the same process.

Step 5: Import Your Database

After creating a database for your WordPress site, you can now begin the process of importing the database. Go to your cPanel on the new server, launch the phpMyAdmin and on the left sidebar, select the appropriate database.

    • Once the database is open, select the ‘Import’ tab from the navigation menu at the top of the window
    • Click the ‘Choose File’ button in the ‘File to Import’ section then select the SQL file you had previously exported in step 2
    • Un-check the ‘Partial Import’ box and make sure that the format is set to SQL
    • Click the ‘Go’ button, and the import process will start immediately

There is no definite answer as to how long it will take to complete the process because it depends on the size of your database. However, you will get a notification once the process is complete.

Step 6: Upload the WordPress Files

With the wp-config.php configured and the new database prepared, you can now start uploading the WordPress files to the new server. You will need an FTP program, for example, FileZilla to connect to the new server.

Scroll through the folder where your WordPress site will be hosted. You can use the public_html folder if your website is the only one to be hosted on the server. However, if it is a shared server, you must choose a different directory.

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how to migrate your WordPress.com website to a new server

After this, you can then begin to upload the WordPress files which include the updated wp-config.php file. The uploading process might be long, but that will depend on the speed of your internet connection and the size of the files.

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Do not make the mistake of deleting the WordPress files when the uploading is complete. They will come in handy for the final step on how to migrate your WordPress.com site to a new server.

Step 7: Wrapping Up the Migration

This step has two parts to it, and one of the part takes as much as two days, which make it the longest step of this how to migrate your WordPress.com site to a new server guide. You need to reconfigure the DNS settings of your domain before you can use the website on the new server.

Naturally, the DNS settings will be set to your old server, and you must realign the correct records to the IP address of the new server. The swiftness of this process depends on where your domain is registered, but it normally takes approximately 48 hours for your domain registrar to complete the process.

Ideally, you should start this process when the website has low traffic. In addition, during the 48 hours, avoid making any changes to your WordPress site since it might affect the different elements of your website.

Once the period is over, you can now access the WordPress site from the new server. At this point, you can login to the old server and delete the database along with the website files. However, it is recommended that you retain a copy of the files and database you created in step 1 and step 5 in your computer.


As you can see from this guide on how to migrate your WordPress.com site to a new server, the process is not as complicated as most people make it seem. The reason as to why we advocate for keeping copies of your website files is for when you make a mistake or a problem arises; you will still have the copy of WordPress files, the database, and the original wp-config.php file.

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There are many reasons to migrate from your current server to a new one. With this guide on how to migrate your WordPress.com site to a new server, you do not have to put up with unprofessional web hosts or malfunctioning servers again.

This guide on how to migrate your WordPress.com site to a new server will help you set up your site on the new server properly. But, is the website properly designed and content SEO friendly? Get in touch with our pro web designers in Singapore for a comprehensive web audit and review. We will give you tips on what exactly needs to be done to enhance your website and carry out tests to be sure that the site is working optimally.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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