How to Migrate a WordPress Site in 4 Clicks [Video]

6 min read(Last Updated On: December 31, 2017)

Hey, it’s Hoz here with a brand new WordPress tips and tricks episode, and in today’s episode, I’m going to migrate a WordPress site. So hang on to your pants, because this is going to be good.

Now, there’s a ton of tutorials online about migrating WordPress and, having been in this space for over a decade, I personally think that a lot of people are making this way too complicated.

There's always a possibility of failure when migrating a WordPress site. This is why you use the best tools.Click To Tweet

If you have the right tools – in this case, a sexy WordPress plugin – to do the job, then the job really is a piece of cake. You’ll see in the video how I migrate a WordPress site in 4 clicks.

The plugin I use is fantastic. It’s lightweight and I’ve been using this for over a year without any issues. So let me share with you what that is.

In the video walkthrough, you’ll see me go into my plugins area in the WP admin dashboard, and you’ll see me search for the magic plugin: All in One WP Migration.

My WordPress Migration Test Setup

So for this demo, I did the following:

  • I set up a demo site (let’s call this the source site)
  • I set up a brand new WordPress install on a different domain (let’s call that the destination site)

Here’s what’s in each website:

  • the first site (source) has a few pages, a slider and some images.
  • the second site (destination) is a default (vanilla) WordPress install – I believe it’s the 2017 theme.

So the task at hand is to migrate the source site to the destination site – in other words, I will be overwriting the destination site with a copy of the source site.

So let’s get to it.

How I Migrate a WordPress Site – My Process

Okay, so the first thing you’ll want to do is go to the plugins area in your WP admin dashboard and search for the plugin: all in one WP migration.

Note: you can watch me do this in the video.

The reason I like this plugin so much, aside from all the benefits I listed earlier, is that it does a lot more than just migrate WordPress websites. I use it to backup my WordPress sites too.

The plugin itself has a very distinctive icon. See the image below. Once you see it, you’ll always recognise it.

all-in-one migration plugin icon

Once you activate the plugin, you’ll see that it has its own section in the WP admin menu. Click on the section and choose Export (see video).

What you want to do at this stage is to export an exact copy of your WordPress site.

But note that when you migrate a WordPress site to a different URL, the clone you create using this method won’t work, because the URL of the clone is the source URL (remember: it’s an exact copy).

Not to worry!

Here’s what you do next:

Step 1

  • copy the URL of the destination website
  • back in your WP admin dashboard, inside the plugin’s export screen, you’ll notice that you can add text to be replaced in the database (see video). This is a find and replace feature that enables you to overwrite any text you want with any new text. Perfect for replacing the source URL with the destination URL on the resulting clone.
  • paste the destination URL in the ‘to’ field (i.e. change to)
  • type in the source URL in the ‘from’ field (i.e. from this to that)

What this does is it replaces any instances of the text you added in the from field with the text you added in the to field. How cool is that!

You also have an Advanced section in the same screen where you can specify certain tables to be omitted from the clone you’re about to create. This is handy as it enables you to leave behind things like comment spam and even post revisions! Yay!

When you’re ready, you click Export and choose the method you want to use. There are options including:

  • Dropbox
  • FTP
  • Google Drive
  • etc

I always choose File, as this is simply a migration and I don’t necessarily want to keep the clone once I’m done with it.

Once you’re done, you’ll have a popup box that prompts you to download the backup. Do so.

That’s step 1 completed.

Tip: you’ll want to delete the backup that the plugin leaves behind (you’ll see it on the screen) because that has a different URL, so you can’t use that backup on the source file. If you ever need to restore a website (which this plugin also does for you) then you really don’t want to click the wrong clone to restore because the one with the destination URL will truly screw up your source site.

Step 2:

Now it’s time to go to the destination site. Log in, obviously, and install the all in one WP migration plugin following the same steps as above (well… the normal way, unless you prefer to FTP).

Now, go to the plugin’s section in the WP admin menu and this time select Import.

In this screen, you’re going to simply drag and drop the backup file you exported from the source file in order to upload it.

How big the copy of the source site is and how fast (or slooooow) your Interweb connection is will obviously affect the upload speed, so be patient if it takes a few minutes.

Once the clone has uploaded, confirm that you want to go ahead when prompted and you’re done. The magic happens swiftly.

Naturally, you will be logged out of the destination site once the plugin does its job because you’ve effectively just replaced the destination site with the source site, so the login details are now the source site’s login details.

You’ll be amazed at a number of times this still catches me out. And it will catch you out too – I promise :p

Ok, when you’re done, go to the destination URL and just refresh the page. ANd lo and behold, you should be looking at a fully migrated WordPress site!

Do watch the video to appreciate how easy this process is when you do it this way. It literally takes about 4 clicks to migrate a wp site, so never again shall you lose sleep over this task!

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