4 easy steps to copy WordPress site from one server to another

4 easy steps to copy WordPress site from one server to another

Many often you may find yourself in a scenario where you need to switch or copy your website from one server to another – for testing purposes, changing your service provider or for a server upgrade.

Data loss and website downtime are the two major hurdles involved in website migrations. A successful migration plan should have a fool-proof way to tackle these complications.

The hectic migration tasks involved, the post-migration hiccups and the risks of data loss or downtime may often dissuade website owners or server owners from performing the move.

To migrate a WordPress site, there are certain plugins available, but they are not free. Here we’ll discuss a step-by-step process to migrate or copy your WordPress website from one server to another server without data loss.

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1. Backup the website in the current server

The first and most important step before doing any migration is to ensure that there is latest backup of the website available. Backups helps to revert the website back to its working condition and minimize the downtime involved, in case something goes wrong.

To backup an existing WordPress website, download the website files and export the WordPress database, as they are relevant for retrieving the website. Exporting the database can be done using PhpMyAdmin utility:


copy WordPress site - export database to file

Export WordPress database to file


Browse the database in the PhpMyAdmin and click on the ‘Export’ tab to download the database. The backup will be downloaded in an SQL file format. Store the backup in a safe location outside the website account.

Save this new database SQL file for importing it to the website in the new server. Download the website files for copying over to the new server.

To download the website files, use FTP of File Manager. Make sure that the entire files in the WordPress folder are selected to copy over, including the hidden files such as ‘.htaccess’.

At Bobcares, we always stress on the importance of maintaining backups in external backup servers for business continuity purposes. We also use our custom scripts for routine backup and storage functions, to aid in the case of disasters.

2. Restore the website in the new server

Copy over the website files from old server to the new one using tools such as ‘rsync’ or FTP clients. Make sure that the website files are placed in the correct directory where it has to be accessed via the browser.

Update the ownership and permissions of the files correctly in the new server. Create the database in the new server and make sure that the DB user has access to it. Then, import the database SQL file using PhpMyAdmin in the new server.


copy WordPress site - Import WordPress database to new server

Import WordPress database to new server

The site URL is stored in the WordPress database table “wp_options“. To test the site, this URL can be changed temporarily and verified before making the actual website live.

After confirming that all the links are loading fine, the site URL can be updated to the new URL and your WordPress site would load fine from the new server.

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  1. This tutorial is great. Thanks for writing it.

    Now I won’t have to bother the guys at Rosehosting for migrations and such.

    Kudos to the one who wrote this. I’m very grateful.

    • Thanks Donald Miles, happy to know it was helpful for you 🙂


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