I am pretty familiar with the WordPress blogging platform and really like it. However, I have never moved a WordPress (hereinafter referred to as WP) blog until now. It is not for the technologically faint of heart let me tell you. I want to show you what I ended up doing, perhaps it may be of help to you in the future.
Ways to Move a WP Blog
Basically, there are two ways to move a WP blog. You either do it manually, moving the files yourself or you do it using a WP plugin. There are tons and I mean tons of articles on the Web about how to move your WP blog manually, including some on the WP website. And, there are several WP plugins that you can install in your WP setup that will take your through a move as well.
After doing a bunch of research on both methods I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and chose the WP plugin route. I am assuming you have a moderate knowledge of the WP interface here. I just went to install Plugins and searched for one of the site move plugins. In this case it was a plugin called Duplicator from SnapCreek Software. It gets good reviews. This plugin worked well, but initially I ran into a problem.
If you wish to do this then I recommend installing the free version of Duplicator and giving it a try. I installed the free version but when I ran it I got errors stating that my WP site was too large. The remedy to this, if you run into it, is to either remove some files from your WP blog or buy the Duplicator Pro version. Yes, it is a bit expensive, but if you are serious about maintaining your blog website (in this case it was the Macessence website that I moved) then I highly recommend springing for the Pro version, it is worth it. Without further adieu then let me show you the way I proceeded, there is more than one way to go, as you will see.
After installing the Duplicator Pro plugin and entering the license code just click on “Packages”, you will be presented with this window:
OK, so I already have a “Package” created here, but initially it will say “No Packages”. Click on “Create New” in the upper right corner and you will get this screen:
Duplicator runs some tests on your WP install, if they all “Pass” then you can continue. If you look down on this screenshot you see some stuff like “Archive”, “Storage” etc. If you leave these settings alone Duplicator stores your site “Package” on the WP site itself, but you can choose to put it up on Dropbox or send it somewhere via FTP. I just left these settings alone because I planned on downloading the results to my Mac. After you click on the “Next” button Duplicator scans your WP install for any issues:
When it is finished scanning it presents a report:
In this case it singled out “Large Files”. I went ahead and created the “Package” despite this warning and it worked fine. But, the Duplicator people say you can remove the large files manually if the build does not work. If you need to do this you can get the path to the offending file by clicking the turn down arrow:
Either way you go, just click on the “Build” button when you are ready and Duplicator creates the “Package” for you:
My Macessence blog site is fairly large so this process took about 6-7 minutes. When it is completed (hopefully without errors) it presents the package to you:
You can see the “Package” listed there. This next step is very important. You need to click on the “Installer” button. This will download a PhP installer to your computer. Then, click on the “Archive” button and the “Package” of your WP site will also be downloaded to your computer. When you are finished you need to find those two files and save them to their own folder. They will look something like this:
So, why are you downloading these files? In my followup article I will explain that you need to upload these files to your new WP site (which is already created) to install your old site archive into the new site.
I know this seems complicated and it is. But, it is totally doable with the help of Duplicator Pro let me tell you. One advantage of having the “Pro” version of this plugin is Support. I had a question about something during this process and sent it to the SnapCreek Support people. They got back to me in a couple of hours with the answer.
One more thing about Duplicator Pro before I leave you. It is capable of scheduling backups of your WP site. Not going to cover that here, but if you need to backup your WP site on a regular basis (not a bad idea really) then Duplicator Pro will handle that for you.
If you are planning to move a WP site anytime soon I highly recommend using a third party WordPress plugin to assist you. Although still somewhat complicated, it makes the whole process pretty seamless.