For e-commerce owners and entrepreneurs, WordPress is the favorite pick for the foundation on which their sites are built. Over 43% of all websites in the world are powered by WordPress, and the number has kept climbing in recent years. This blog is also built on WordPress, and if you are reading this, all the chances are that your own website is or will be a WordPress site.
One of the main reasons why WordPress is so popular for e-commerce and businesses is because it is easy to maintain, even for people who have no coding experience. Interestingly, the process of migrating the WordPress website can be just as quick and stress-free.
Earlier we wrote about migration from WooCommerce to Shopify, but now we are guiding you through the process of changing hosting or domain while staying on the WooCommerce (WordPress) site. Effortless WordPress migration can be accomplished with the help of the proven plugin, called Backup Migration.
We picked this free plugin for the job because it has a user-friendly interface that lets users perform backups and migrations with just a few clicks. It works out of the box, and in most of the cases, no additional settings need to be applied.
The whole process is basically split into two parts, the first one being the backup creation (you should run this on your site regularly anyway), and the migration.
The website backup is created in a couple of steps:
- Start off by installing the Backup Migration plugin on the source site. This is commonly done from the WordPress Dashboard, but you can manually download and install the plugin from the WordPress plugin directory: https://wordpress.org/plugins/backup-backup/.
- Once you have the plugin installed on your website, it will automatically redirect you to its menu page within the WordPress Dashboard. Head on to the plugin area “What will be backed up?”, where you should mark all folders, files, and complete database without exceptions, and click on the Save button. This assures that a full site backup will be created.
- One click on the “Create backup now!” button, and the plugin will start creating the backup, which usually takes just a minute or two for smaller sites – depending mostly on database size and server configuration. For backup creation of websites that are larger than 2GB, you will need a premium Backup Migration plugin. After the backup creation process is complete, you have the choice to download the backup file, which is a recommended best practice for maintaining a copy of the backup on a local device.
The second part, the migration process is being done on the destination site, which needs to be set up first. Nowadays most WordPress hosting companies offer a simple feature to start up a WordPress instance. If you are on a hosting that doesn’t offer this, it is still short work to set up a fresh WordPress site manually.
Here are the steps to be done on the destination site:
- The Backup Migration plugin needs to be installed on this destination site, the same way as it was done on the source site, where the backup was made.
- Once the plugin is installed, navigate to its section “Manage & Restore Backup(s)”, there are three options to restore a backup from the source site. For cases when the site is moved to a new domain, option A is a proper choice, and for the cases when domains remain unchanged, then options B or C are more suited, as in these cases, site owners will need to take down the source site before making a new website go live:
A. Super-quick migration – to utilize this functionality, a user must paste the backup file’s link from the source website and then click the “Restore now!” button. These backup links can be obtained within the same plugin section labeled “Manage & Restore Backup(s)” by clicking the small link icon.
B. Upload backup files – within the identical plugin section, there is a function designed for manually uploading backup zip files, offering the choice of either selecting the file or using a drag-and-drop method. Once the backup file has been successfully uploaded, you can initiate the restoration process by clicking the “Restore” button situated on the right side of the listed backup file.
C. External storage location can also be selected to keep your backups on. Google Drive is available right now, and others are yet to become operational. To use this feature, and synchronize your backup files across your online websites, all that is needed is to connect a Google account in the Backup Migration plugin section “Where shall the backup(s) be stored?”.
After the Google account is connected, and the backup file is synchronized, the restore process may be started, by clicking on the “Restore” button in the plugin section “Manage & Restore Backups”.
Upon completing this final step, the migration process is concluded, and the source site is fully restored to its new location. At this point, the old site can be archived. However, if the owners wish to keep the old site accessible online, it is generally advisable to establish appropriate redirects from the old domain to the new domain. Fortunately, an equally user-friendly Redirection plugin, also created by Inisev, is available to assist with this task, featuring a familiar interface for quick and efficient redirection setup.
Additional advice for backup creation and website migration
1. Handling large files
Over the lifespan of an average WordPress site, numerous files and folders accumulate, including many that are no longer necessary or forgotten. While routine website cleanup may not always happen, a site migration presents an excellent opportunity to declutter. The Backup Migration plugin offers a convenient way to achieve this through exclusion rules, as mentioned in step 2 earlier in this article.
Out of the box, the Backup Migration plugin includes preset exclusion rules, notably excluding files that are 100MB or larger, often coincidentally old backup files. Another example of large, unused files might be poorly compressed videos that have long been forgotten. There could be other examples as well.
For those concerned about accidentally excluding valuable files, the plugin maintains a complete log of excluded files during the backup creation process. Users can monitor which files are actively being excluded. If large files are still in use on the site, users may consider manually relocating them, which can significantly expedite the backup process. Alternatively, if webmasters are aware of specific large files on the site, they can be excluded directly based on file path, file name, or a unique string.
2. Handling large databases
While large media files like videos, photos, or audio may increase a website’s overall size and backup file, they typically don’t complicate the backup process significantly. However, handling substantial databases is a different matter and can require extra attention during website migrations. Developers of the Backup Migration plugin have incorporated advanced features to address this specific aspect of website migration, ensuring a smooth backup and migration process even on slower servers. In fact, many websites migrate because they have outgrown their hosting servers or plans.
The database-related settings in Backup Migration, found under “Other Options,” should be adjusted accordingly in such cases:
- Consider bypassing server limits (options 2 or 3).
- Disable PHP CLI checking and use alternate methods.
- Set the number of database queries per batch to 100.
- Enable SQL-Splitting.
3. Keep running automated backups on the new website
Once the migration is done, keep creating regular backups of your site. Whatever you do on your site, even common things like optimizing SEO, or creating a sitemap, you might experience an unexpected critical error. Having backups means staying on the safe side. In case of any bad events on the website, you can always restore a backup and get things back to normal in no time. It saves a lot of time and resources and leaves no room for stress.
With the Backup Migration plugin, users can set up automatic backups at regular intervals, at the time of the day that suits users best (when there is the least amount of traffic), and users can also define a number of backups that will be kept, so old backups will be automatically replaced, and will not consume space.
In the past, migrating a WordPress site often required seeking paid assistance or relying on hosting agencies to perform the task. Nowadays, site owners can carry out migrations safely and independently, saving both time and resources. User-friendly migration tool Backup Migration plugin streamlines the process, reducing the complexity for webmasters.