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Many of us have been in this position, whether you are a regular user of WordPress or a developer looking to transfer a website from development or transfer a website from one domain name to a new one. We have done is 100x and often make small, silly mistakes. We are not only writing this for any of you to find useful but it is also going to be our own checklist to avoid the same mistakes which often get overlooked.

This post is focused on transferring smaller websites which includes standard content rather than large ecommerce websites or websites larger than 800mb in size.

Install the Duplicator plugin for WordPress

I reckon duplicator was one of the very first plugins we ever used with WordPress. Duplicator is a great plugin which easily makes a copy of your website and provides you with two files you download. First there is the Installer file and secondly a zip file which includes your website and database in a compressed zip file. When creating the package to download, you do have to wait for your server to package the files, please be patient, times do vary depending on the server the website is hosted on.

Once the packages appear, you should download the Installer and Website zip file.

Download Duplicator Here

Transfer and upload your installer and zip file

You should now have downloaded your installer and zip file from the website you are transferring away from. You now want to login to your new host and upload both files to the root folder. Make sure that nothing else is in this folder. Open two new tabs, in the first tab, navigate to the MySQL section of your hosting and create a new databse. Open Notepad or Word and copy the Datbase Name, Username, Password and the Host into the document.

In the other browser tab, navigate to the new website url and at the end, include /installer.php . From here follow the steps and enter the details you previously saved in the document (Datbase name etc.) Once done you should see a loading screen and the website will be unpackaged and you can rewrite the URL’s to match that of the new domain.

You will then be prompted to delete the installation files. Please go ahead and check the files within the FTP or the File Manager to double check none have been left behind.



Check Installation Files Have Been Removed

Once you have received the confirmation that the transfer and rewrite has been completed, navigate in a new tab to the URL and check the website appears correctly. If all seems well, ensure you have deleted all installation files. This option will be offered to you when logging into the WordPress Dashboard. Once deleted, double check the files no longer exist by using the File Manager within your hosting account or your FTP.

Check Navigation Links In Header & Footer

Check the front end of the website and make sure the header navigation and footer links are all correctly pointing to the new URL. This is normally a good judgement that the URL rewrite has worked.

Check Visual Composer Buttons

If you have used Visual Composer to built your website, I have noticed that the URL's attached to a button created by Visual Composer are often not corrected. I would strongly suggest checking these to make sure they are all pointing to the right URL.

Check You Are Allowing Google To Crawl Your Website

While building a website on our development server, we mark the setting within WordPress to request that search engines do not index the website. You should make sure this setting is switched off. Login to the WordPress Dashboard and navigate to Settings > Reading > Make sure the tick box is unticked for 'Search Engine Visibility'.

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