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You see many bloggers & would be web entrepreneurs are fairly new to the workings & intricacies of WordPress & also MySql Databases, therefore they often find themselves stepping into deep water as it were, beads of sweat appear on the brow, the heart rate starts climbing, all sorts of terrifying thoughts race through your mind … “Argh What If…??? ”
Panic not my friend, I am going to give you a detailed method of switching your hosting company without losing all your valuable articles, photos & videos and best of all I will do it in plain English & with screenshots where necessary.
This guide is going to use CPanel which is the most popular host management system, however there are a few other systems also in use which may differ slightly to the details below. If you do use a different host management system then you should find the basics are still more or less the same & if you just read carefully then you should have no problem applying this guide to your own system.
Before we start, lets just understand one very important fact and that is quite simply that without a functioning database, WordPress is just a bunch of useless files! That being the case you should realise that your database is of the utmost importance & should always be guarded against mishaps! So before we go any further, we are going to take a manual backup of your database.
It is a good idea to create 2 folders on your desktop “Old Files” & “New Files”, these are for use in transferring your blog & changing your domain name, (We will deal with changing domain names in a follow up article).
Once Logged in to CPanel, scroll down the page until you find databases (usually 2/3rds down the page). The icon we need to click on is “PhpMyAdmin”, this is the admin control panel for your databases.
1.1 Click on the icon “phpmyadmin”
1.2 Now select your database from the list on the left.
Note: The red stars indicate your username & all of your databases will be listed below, the typical or default database when using WordPress is _wrdp1
1.3 After selecting your database you will see the above screen, click on the “Export” tab.
1.4 This screen shows the default settings and the numbered steps to export a copy of your database.
1.4.1 Select All
1.4.2 Check “Save as File”
1.4.3 Choose gzipped & check box “remember template”
1.4.4 Click “Go”
1.5 Again the red stars indicate your username – Now simply browse to the folder “Old Files” which you created earlier & then click “Save”
You now have a gzipped backup of your database safely stored in the “Old Files” folder on your desktop.
Note: As an added precaution I always like to go back to step 4.3 above & save a 2nd copy of my database, but this time choosing “No Compression” (This is purely optional)
2.1 Using you favorite FTP Software, now take a complete backup of your public_html folder, this is the root folder on your current hosting account & is where all your WordPress files, images, themes & plugins are stored. Save this backup into your “Old Files” folder on your desktop.
Note: There are different methods available to take backups of your root directory, I just find FTP a less problematic method, but you can achieve the same thing using CPanel’s File Manager or Backup Wizard.
Now that we have complete backups of both your database & your WordPress files, it is now safe to proceed with a transfer to a new host. If you are moving WordPress to another hosting service & also changing your domain name, then this will be dealt with in a follow up article as it is a little more involved.
3.1 Now log in to your new CPanel with your new hosting company, this can be a little tricky as your old hosts CPanel is still active. The easiest way to ensure you log in to the correct CPanel is to browse to http://**.**.**.**/cpanel the stars indicate your new hosts / servers IP address, which will have been notified to you via email when you signed up & then login with your username & password.
3.2 There are a couple of methods to do this, but by far the easiest is to use Fantastico to install a fresh WordPress blog. Once logged into your new CPanel, scroll down until you find Software /Services as shown below;
Click where indicated to access Fantastico.
3.3 When Fantastico opens you will see the image below, simply select WordPress from the left hand menu.
Select new installation as indicated above
3.4 Now fill in your details as indicated below, hopefully keeping them the same as on your old hosting account. If it has not been possible to keep the username , database name & password the same, then you will need to edit your config.php file to reflect the new details. (We will deal with this later)
Click where indicated to install WordPress.
3.5 If all has gone according to plan you should see the screen below, simply click where indicated to finish installation.
3.6 You should now have the confirmation screen below, which gives you all the details of your new WordPress installation.
Click as indicated above to return to WordPress overview & then log out of CPanel.
4.1 The next step is to use your favorite FTP software to upload your backed up copy of your original WordPress blog & overwrite the new files which have just been created. This does not include your database, this is only your core files in /public_html (your root directory). Quite often & as long as the versions of WordPress are the same, I will only upload the /contents/ directory as this is where all images, plugins & themes etc are stored. Whilst using your FTP client it is also a good time to double check the details of your config.php file, make sure the username, database & password are correct , edit where necessary.
4.2 Ok now it is time to overwrite the new database that you created earlier, so log back into your new hosts CPanel & once logged in browse to phpMyAdmin.
Click on the icon highlighted
4.3 Now select your database as shown in the image below;
Note: Red Stars Indicate Your User Name
4.4 After selecting your database follow the steps indicated in the image above
4.4.1 Select check all
4.4.2 Click on the arrow indicated to open the menu
4.4.3 Select Drop
4.5 You will now see the confirmation screen above, click yes as indicated
4.6 You will now see the confirmation screen above which indicates a successful drop of all tables. Then click on your database as indicated to refresh the page.
4.7 Select Import as indicated above
4.8 Follow the 2 steps indicated above
4.8.1 Click on the browse button to browse to your original saved database & select it for import.
4.8.2 Once selected click the Go button as indicated above.
4.9 You have now successfully imported your original database & providing all has gone to plan, you will see the confirmation screen below.
Note: An easy way to check that you have selected the correct database is to compare the number of tables. A new install of WordPress only has 10 tables (those are the tables you dropped earlier). As can be seen in the image below this database now has 19 tables (the number is indicated in brackets)
The final step in this process is to go to the registrar of your domain name (not necessarily your old host) & change your Nameservers to point to your new hosting account. The details required for this will have been notified to you by your new host. Once this step is completed it will usually take anything from 4 to 24hrs for the new details to propagate around the web. Until such time, your old hosting account will still be functioning and will continue to serve your web pages as usual.
Note: It can be a little tricky knowing which host is actually serving your web pages, I simply upload a basic index.html file (as shown above), to my new host. Once I see this file when browsing to my website, I know that the new hosting account is actually up & running and has propagated the web. Then it is simply a matter of using your FTP program to access your account and delete this html file. You should then fully check that everything is functioning correctly before proceeding to delete the files & database on your old hosting account.
Phew!! a long drawn out process I know, but such detail is necessary in order to prevent any mishaps.
It is perfectly natural to feel anxious when carrying out such a detailed task as switching a hosting account, but believe me it does get easier the more times you do it hahaha. If any of you feel that this is a little more technical than you are comfortable dealing with, then My Blog Review does offer a transfer service for a nominal fee. If you would like us to deal with a transfer for you then simply contact me using the following link Contact Us
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