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What You Need to Know Before You Migrate Your Site

Moving your site from your old host to Bluehost can be an involved process. You’ve worked hard to get your WordPress site exactly how you want it and maintaining your site’s integrity during a migration is critical. Regardless of where you are on your journey, Bluehost is here to help. Before getting into the migration process, it’s helpful to understand some of the terms that you’ll come across during your migration as well as understand the elements that make up your WordPress site and the role they play.

Database – To put it simply, a WordPress database is where all of your website’s critical data is stored and managed. This could include your blog posts, pages, plugins, users, and even your eCommerce data. In order to organize all of your website’s data neatly, important categories are usually stored in “containers”, or Tables. And finally, the phpMyAdmin software will allow you to access and modify your database. We won’t be having to make any modifications to the database, but phpMyAdmin will come in handy in the migration process.

File Management – During a migration, proper file management is understanding what files make up your website and how to properly modify them. If you were to look at your WordPress files, you will notice that most of the files are named “wp-****.php” or something similar. Files that begin with “wp- are critical core files & folders that are needed to make your website function. One of these folders, “wp-content”, contains dynamic files, or files that are constantly changing. This is where plugins and images are stored for your website. Now that you know which files are needed for your WordPress website, you’ll be able to locate the correct files and folders during your website migration.

Prior to starting a website migration, we recommend contacting your old hosting provider. Once you do, you’ll want to ask them for a full website backup of your WordPress website. They will likely give you two files: a .zip that contains your critical WordPress files, and a .sql file that contains your database information. Once you have these, you’ll be properly equipped to begin migrating your website.

Here are additional resources to help you with migrations.

In case you were unable to catch the webinar live, we compiled some of the most popular questions attendees asked during the duration of the webinar. If you have any additional questions, please let us know in the comments below!

What happens if someone tries to buy something from my store while I’m in the middle of a migration? (maintenance mode plugins)

Ideally, you will want to mitigate the chances of this happening, as it can result in you losing the data for that particular order. A database backup will only have the eCommerce data from a specific point in time, so if a customer were to purchase a product a day later, that backup is no longer current. In order to avoid this issue, we would recommend that you temporarily put your website / shop in maintenance mode.

This can be achieved by simply adding a “maintenance modeWordPress plugin, which can be searched for in the WordPress Dashboard > Plugins > Add New. You’ll only need to have your website / shop down until you fully complete the WordPress website migration. Here are a few plugin options for you to explore.

What happens to my emails when I migrate my website?

Your emails won’t be affected by the website migration at all. If you currently have your emails running on your old host, you can continue to do so. Alternatively, you can also create those email addresses on Bluehost and continue getting new emails on your Bluehost account. There are a wide variety of options when it comes to your emails, so we recommend speaking to our support team to find the best option for your situation: 888-401-4678

What if I don’t have a WordPress website? Is the migration easier? Harder?

If you don’t have a WordPress website, that’s ok! It just means that the steps you may need to take to migrate your website will be different. There are hundreds, if not thousands of various platforms and coding languages that can be used in creating a website. As long as you have access to your website’s files, you should be able to migrate it. We recommend contacting our support team so that they can identify the best route you may wish to take: 888-401-4678

My friend recommended just using a plugin to migrate my website, why don’t I just do that?

Using a plugin to migrate your WordPress website is definitely an option that you could attempt. However, we have found that the reliability of these plugins vary wildly based on different factors. We want to provide the knowledge and empower you to perform the migration in a manner that is both reliable and efficient. 

What should I do if I’m still feeling a little overwhelmed about the entire process?

We understand that not everyone will want to migrate their own website. We offer a migration service that will relieve the burden of doing the migration yourself. Please contact our team if you have any questions: 888-401-4678

If my site got hacked on a different server(different host/different company), can I migrate it to safety?

If your website has recently been hacked or is infected with malware, we recommend that you enlist the assistance of your previous hosting provider to resolve the issue. Migrating a compromised website between hosts will not fix these issues.

Will my website get faster if I migrate it to Bluehost?

Migrating your website to a new hosting provider like Bluehost may be beneficial. Doing so may provide a wider array of resources that your website can use to operate. However, one of the biggest culprits when it comes to site speed doesn’t generally lie in your hosting provider, but rather on how your website was built. If your website has a lot of large images, videos, audio, or data, making sure that these assets are highly optimized will ensure that your website loads faster for you and your clients. Check out our article on optimizing your WordPress website.

Think you’re ready to start your website migration? Our Site Migration Checklist is the perfect guide to assist you from start to finish.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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