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The Ultimate Guide to Moving A WordPress Website

This post is primarily for my use as I’m finding that I’ve had to move WordPress websites on many occasions. Weather it be moving a WordPress website from a localhost to a server online or just moving WordPress from a sub directory to the root. I’ve taken the time today to try and put together links that have been useful to me when trying to move a WordPress website. Always make sure you read a few sources before beginning the move. You want to gather the steps from a few sources rather than rely on one. Be careful who’s directions you follow. I always try to follow steps from trusted sources. Some situations can be very different from others.

The best place to get information on moving a wordpress website is of course from the wordpress codex. But of course, there are other great tutorials that make reading a bit easier for some of us half retarded people and some developers have come up with easier ways to do things. Check out the WordPress Codex on Moving a WordPress website.

No matter how you decide to move your WordPress website, you should ALWAYS CREATE A BACKUP BEFORE YOU BEGIN!

Moving WordPress From Local Host To Server

A lot of WordPress designers and developers like to design the clients site on the local host instead of the live server. Sometimes you may have to if the client wants their current site to remain live while you develop it. In those cases, you will have to know how to move it!

Moving WordPress From Subdomain/Subdirectory to Root

I found the easiest way to keep a clients current site up and easily move it later is to install it on a sub directory of the site and move it when your ready to go live. For example This is awesome because the sub directory can also hold the main WordPress files after you’ve moved the site keeping your root clean and your core files hidden. That increases security for your WordPress website! Also the client can review the site easily until it’s been approved to be moved.

Moving WordPress To A New Server

There will come a time when you will have to move an wordpress site from one server to another server. This can be easy or difficult depending on where your moving from and where your moving to. The very first place I would look for instructions would be both hosting companies specific instructions. A lot of legit hosts have specific wordpress instructions for installing wordpress or even moving it. Read that first! Here are some from a few major host companies…

Moving A WordPress MultiSite

I have yet to build a WordPress multisite, but I imaging this is a far more difficult task to move from one place to another.

Change a WordPress URL

This can be different depending if your changing the URL and also moving, or just changing the WordPress URL on your existing server. One tip for you, I’ve found in the past that changing the URL inside of WordPress doesn’t always work. But if you force it in the wp-config.php file, it works! So keep that in mind if your banging your head for hours.

Cloning WordPress Sites

Sometimes you might find that your recreating the same installs for your different clients. You may  have a particular set of plugins you use in all your sites and it becomes very tedious to search and install all of those one by one. One method to help you out with this process is referred to as WordPress cloning or WordPress duplicating.

Author: Heather Valencia

Author: Heather Valencia

Web Designer & Developer

I’ve been developing WordPress websites as a freelance web designer in Spokane since 2010. My passion for building websites is as strong as the dedication I put forth in strengthening my client relationships.

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  1. Laura Lloyd

    I love the subdirectory suggestion. Thanks! I’ve never liked developing WP sites locally because of the transfer mess. Still, I hear that local development is better for working with SASS. Sigh.

  2. Ray

    Great article.

    I want to know if there is any plugin or detailed way to move a single local wordpres blog (dev) to a live multisite sub directory?

    I develop locally and when I want my clients to view the site it would be easy to put the site as a sub directory on my main site.

    I appreciate any help….

  3. Glen Smith

    ThankYou, A great set of resources that I should use.Probably explains why I am a cowboy coder.Your blog topic is well founded I should use some of these recources.Keep on Rockin !

  4. Ali B.

    I’m not sure which option would be best for my situation. Perhaps you can point me in the right direction?

    Our friend began redesigning his website on a sub-domain ( in hopes of transferring everything to the root. He wants to keep his main website live, as it still makes money, but wants to give it a new look with little-to-no downtime. How do I merge “” with “” without losing his SEO rankings? Won’t my links get all screwed up? Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Heather Valencia

      yes, if you have already built SEO with that URL structure, your SEO will be affected. Switching URL’s is as easy as throwing in a script to change the URL across all files and database. But you have to be careful moving/replacing your files. has great instructions if you just carefully follow them step by step. There are so many different ways you can approach it. Find the way you are most comfortable with and go with that. Make certain to always keep track of each step you take, in case you need to go backwards and ALWAYS have a backup.

  5. Ricky S.

    Migrating your website from one to another host may seem like a hard thing to do, but when you have all the information you need in one place, it doesn’t seem so scary. It’s true that some WordPress SSD hosting companies offer free migration, which is usually under some circumstances, but if people need to do it by their own, then this article can come in handy.

  6. devops online training in hyderabad

    Wow. That is so elegant and logical and clearly explained. Brilliantly goes through what could be a complex process and makes it obvious.

  7. Naman Modi

    Sometimes, it’s necessary to transfer your WordPress content from one location to another. Generally, this should be a simple and straightforward due to WordPress import export feature. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough in some instances since takes more to achieve something beyond the basics. It’s important to note that whoever chooses to use the method detailed below is responsible to the effect it may have on your site since it involves working with your databases. Read on and learn how to move any WordPress content with some tweaks.

  8. Sarah I.

    I am designing a client’s test site (using a subdomain) in WordPress using my own hosting (live server not localhost), what do I do to transfer the subdomain to the client’s hosting and existing URL?

    • Heather Valencia

      You will have to transfer the website files and database from one hosting platform to another. So from host to host. There should be a few different links above. This can be achieved manually or with a plugin or sometimes the client host is willing to move it for you too.

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