Wordpress is the best choice for lots of developers. However, migrating wordpress site from one server place to another involves several "play arounds". Especially when we developped the wordpress site locally, there's change of website URL and sometimes we have to work with hosting support to import database files. We have been doing testing and practicing for different migration techniques. Following are our experience and comments to different solutions.
Generally, there're automatic and manual choice for wordpress website transfer. We'll provide explanation for both solutions.
Manual Migrating a WordPress Site
We have explained the detailed steps from previous wordpress migration guidance. It's perfect choice for small site migration. But if we have a large database to move over, we always need to contact hosting support to import the mysql backup. Here we have a great plugin called WP Migrate DB. Using this plugin we don't have to deal with phpmyadmin and everything can be operated through wordpress dashboard. WP Migrate DB does mysql export/import just like phpmyadmin. The best part of this plugin is it does a find and replace on URLs and file paths then save it to your computer. It is perfect when you need a change on website domain.
Automatic Migrating a WordPress Site
Automatic solution relies on different wordpress plugins. Here we introduce two of the best rated – Duplicator and WP Clone. There're over 100,000 downloads for both softwares and highly recommended by wordpress professionals.
The purpose of duplicator is to copy or clone a wordpress site from one location to another. Duplicator provides a step by step guidance on how to copy your site to new server space. From it's official announcement, duplicator promises a three-step process which is Building package from existing website admin -> Upload to new website space via FTP -> Configure on new server space. Here's the official video for quick understanding
Although duplicator is highly rated by lots of users, it requires some technical knowledge in order to use it properly. Basically, it's much the same as manual migration but just automated the mysql database and provides more custom options during the process.
WP Clone by WP Academy
WP Clone is probably the most convenient choice for wordpress migration. This plugin does not require ftp at all, everything is operated through http connections. You just need to have a basic wordpress installed on new server space then import everything from old site. Because it's making use of wordpress internal functions so it's compatible with 100% web hosts in case you run into problem with other solutions. Just two steps to get the migration done.
First, go to wordpress dashboard, navigate to WP Clone then choose "Create Backup" to generate a backup of your existing site. It will have both files/database included. You can also define more parameters from advanced settings such as only database backup. Here we just leave as default.
Now we get the http address of backup package. Copy it to notepad for restoration use.
Now, login to new wordpress admin dashboard then go to "WP Clone". Here we choose "Restore from URL" option and paste into the URL we just saved in notepad. Click the agree box then click "restore from URL" button to complete the process. Since it's 100% server end connection so the speed is pretty fast. For our case, the 40MB restoration took less than one minute.
The best option we recommend
Personally, we have dealt with most wordpress migration by hand because that's the way we use for every other kind websites. We have been used to this since 8 years ago. But it doesn't means we don't like the automatic option at all. Actually, most of the time, it will save us time and reduce mistakes. Especially for people who're new to the work, automatic solutions simplify the entire process by few clicks away. We highly recommend WP clone for start users for worry free choice. If you're developer or advanced user, duplicator would be your best choice since you can make lots of customization.