Here’s the WordPress Migration Checklist you shouldn’t miss

By | Date posted: | Last updated: October 22, 2022
WordPress migration checklist

What thoughts come across your mind when you think of WordPress website migration?

They say, “If you want your website migration to go as smoothly as possible, you need to plan ahead.”

So here is the catch, if you are thinking to migrate your WordPress website, you must have entangled in different thoughts about the benefits and consequences of WordPress migration. However, if planning for migration has been done right then most likely the migration process won’t go wrong and the aftermaths will be in your favour.

WordPress website migration can be done through the plugin, manually, or web host, be it anyways but you must have your migration checklist ready before you start the migration. If you follow the checklist and go step by step, the migration process will be smoother.

So, shall we discuss the WordPress migration checklist to ensure you will have a seamless migration process and after migration, the SEO of your website will intact the same as it was before migration?

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Do you know the types of WordPress website migration?

To put it simply, website migration is relocating your website from one server to another or an old domain to the new one. If you are moving your website to a server from your local environment, it is also migration.

So, mainly we have five types of migration which are

  • Migrating from local environment to server
  • Migrating from one host to another
  • Changing domain name
  • Migrating to a different host with a changed domain name
  • Moving from subdomain to primary domain

WordPress Website Migration Checklist

Pre-Migration

1. Take Database Backup

Despite you regularly taking backups of your website, you must make sure to take complete database backup of WordPress website before starting the migration. The best way to take a backup is to export data in SQL zip files.

In WordPress staging to live site migration, it is easy to transfer data from one site to another because you are only updating the site not the platform. WordPress has a plugin for this task called WP Migrate DB Pro. It is a premium plugin that helps you to import data from one WordPress site to another.

This plugin assists in finding and replacing all the instances from the staging URL to the destination URL. What else do you want? WP Migrate DB Pro makes this migration process hassle-free.
Small WordPress sites can also use WordPress Importer for migration, however, using SQL database is safer, especially for bigger sites. WordPress Importer is useful for migrating data from another platform to WordPress as well. Also, don’t forget to check with Importing Content page on the WordPress Codex for migration instructions if you are migrating from another platform to WordPress.

Moreover, while you are moving from some other platform to WordPress, go for a staging environment first to ensure the website’s content, layout, and other settings are in place, and then move to a live WordPress site.

Most importantly, keep your original site live until your WordPress website is ready to launch. Because if anything goes wrong, you have your original website and you can keep checking the original information while the migration process. Once you pull the plug on your original site, you cannot go back to it. So, double-check everything before switching to the new WordPress website.

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2. If required, purchase a new domain name and set it up

If the reason behind migration is setting a new domain name for rebranding, then you need to buy a new one. Thus, purchase and set up the domain name if you haven’t done it yet.

3. WordPress installation on your destination site

Mostly, you get one click installation facility from many hosting providers and even better, some does this work for you if you take domain name from them. You also have options to install it manually and from cPanel (a control panel for web hosting). If cPanel is unavailable, then manual is the only option.

4. Get FTP credentials ready for your destination site

FTP credentials are required to connect to the new server either using plugin or manually. These credentials have host/server address, FTP username, FTP password, and port number; the information is essential to get in new website. Always use SFTP (secure version of FTP) for robust system.

5. Put the site in maintenance mode

If site is in maintenance mode, other users will not be able to make changes that can impact migration. Thus, putting site in maintenance mode while migration process is always a safe option.

6. Disable caching, redirect plugins, and firewall

These elements can cause trouble during migration. Therefore, disable them and once migration is done, then you can activate them again.

7. Put new site into no-index mode

Otherwise, it will compete with your existing site and influence traffic and SEO. Once you complete the migration process, don’t forget to remove no-index to make sure web crawlers will start indexing the new WordPress site.

8. WP-Content Files

Your WordPress database stores the posts, pages, and menus however, it doesn’t store images, PDFs, audio files, and theme files or plugins. Thus, you need to download these elements separately.

In short, the elements in the WP-Content folder ought to be saved separately without failure, and before final migration, ensure you’ve uploaded all these to the new server. An FTP tool like Filezilla or CyberDuck can be used to download and upload these files directly to the new server from the older one. Large websites will take time, thus plan accordingly.

9. Original Hosting Check

Check your original hosting and its resources if you are thinking of migrating. One of the prominent reasons behind migration can be hosting issues. Slow hosting causes website performance issues and thus you are left with no other option but to migrate to another hosting.

Investing in good hosting can be a little expensive but it pays off well. Therefore, if your hosting server is no longer performing well, migrate your site to good hosting by adhering to the same process, go for staging server first and then to the production server.

10. Some Additional Stuff to Check

Before you export your data to a new server, make sure it is infection-free and clean because contaminated data will continue hampering the website’s performance in a new environment as well.

A few WordPress hosts scan malware presence in the database. However, some infections in your plugins, extensions, and other theme files may not be detected and can infect the entire new system as well. Obviously, the malware is not easy to spot. Thus, keep scanning the database and if you are completely certain, then migrate it to a new environment.

Post-Migration

1. Search and replace instances in your database if you’ve changed the domain name

With changed domain name, you need to be more careful while moving database files. Only transferring these files is not enough because there can be references to your old domain name in the database. Therefore, search for every instance in your old URL database and replace them with new ones.

Disable maintenance mode in the admin panel, which you’ve activated during migration.

2. Clear all the caches

Browser’s cache, WordPress cache, plugin cache, etc., clear all of them. Caches store copies of different pieces of site information. After you make changes, you need to clear them so that changes can be visible to all the visitors.

3. Test all the components of the site

After migration, it is important to test all the pages, posts, hyperlinks, images, ads, analytics code snippets, etc. to make sure all these components are working well.

4. If new URL don’t have HTTPS, it is important to activate SSL on the new site

To have completely secured environment, activate SSL certificate to your new site. SSL encryption is important to ensure visitors’ data safety. If your site doesn’t have HTTPS, then Chrome will flag your website as not secured that will impact the traffic.

5. If moved to new domain name, set up 301 redirects

The 301 redirects are the safest way to point your old URL towards new one. If visitors are unaware of your new domain name, then 301 redirects send them to the new site. Set up it such a way that all the links will end up at the final URL.

6. Avoid 404 Error

Test the site completely to evade 404 errors. Ensure redirects are not leading to 404 pages.

7. Changing Name Servers of Domain Name

The name servers of the domain name ought to get changed before you finalize the migration. As you know, Name servers inform the domain name to which server they should point. If your migration work is done and your staging WordPress site is ready to go live, then the only work left is to change the Name servers.

Please note, the domain name can take time to point toward the new server; it can be a few hours or days. This span is called domain propagation. The reason behind domain name takes time for this change is that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have their process to refresh their records for your domain name. Thus, give it some time to point toward the new server.

  • Set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console for new website.
  • Also, crawl your website to see if it is returning any sort of error. Use plugin like Screaming Frog SEO Spider to perform crawling.
  • To fix duplicate content issue, add canonical tags as and when required. Duplicate content influences SEO of the website.
  • Email or message your subscribers or users about changed domain name to make their surfing with your WordPress website easier.
  • Don’t forget to deactivate the old URL, once the new site is live without errors

WordPress migration can be effortless work!

Yes, if is done right, the WordPress migration process can turn a smooth and hassle-free work. Before you migrate, make sure to check the above points. However, WordPress itself made this process easier by providing free and paid plugins for migration.

There is free plugin like WP Move that help you to migrate your website. But make a note, these plugins only work if both the servers (existing and the new one) are running on updated software. Also, for large-sized websites, the plugins are not advisable because they may take more time than manual migration, and also large websites have a colossal database that needs minute observation for an unerring new website.

It is a simple process of moving files, then the database, and then domain name and name servers. Still confused, contact Skynet Technologies for WordPress web development and WordPress maintenance service. Our developer will execute migration for your website and provide a fully functional new website. Fill out the form below to know more about our other service.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about how Skynet Technologies can help your business to reach one step ahead, Reach out us through submit form & We'll get back to you soon!

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