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Transferring a (WordPress) website or blog to another domain, environment or hosting party can be quite a tricky task for the inexperienced user.

This often requires some technical knowledge such as:

  • Knowledge of databases
  • MySQL & PHPMyAdmin
  • file and user rights on your server
  • FTP

The average WordPress user gives up at the very mention of MySQL. Fortunately, there are a huge number of extensions, also called plugins, available for WordPress on the market.

These plugins make it possible, without any technical knowledge, to still create a migration or website backup. This tutorial will focus on a specific plugin on the market called duplicator.

During this blog post, through a few simple steps, you will move your website from A to B.

What do you need to follow this guide:

  1. A website with the WordPress CMS
  2. A hosting environment/server you want to move the website to
  3. A database and user on that hosting environment
  4. The FTP details of this hosting environment
  5. 10 minutes of time ūüôā
  1. Installing the duplicator plugin
  2. Creating & saving the backup
  3. Create Database & User
  4. Uploading the files
  5. Installing the website

1. Installing the Duplicator plugin

The first step is to install the Duplicator plugin on the website you want to move / Backup from. You do this as follows:

Log in to your WordPress website management environment: www.domeinnaam.com/wp-admin

Go to Plugins - New Plugin in the sidebar of the management environment.

Add a new plugin in the wordpress admin panel

On the Add Plugins / New plugin page, there is a search field at the top right with the text Search plugins... This is where we enter the name of our plugin: Duplicator and press enter to start the search.

The search results of the duplicator plugin in the wordpress plugin add screen

Find the Duplicator plugin from the results and press Install Now to install the plugin on your WordPress website. Once the plugin has finished installing, click the activate button in the same screen. This causes the plugin to be activated and visible in the sidebar.

Now that we are done activating the plugin, we can start creating the backup in this WordPress plugin.

2. Creating & saving the backup

Click on the Duplicator name in the management system sidebar. This will automatically redirect you to the packages screen. In this screen, you will see an overview of all the packages that have been created.

But then what is a package?

A package is a composite file created by Duplicator. It contains the current state of the website at the time you create it. Which means that the package contains the website files and data of the website from the time of its creation.

So this means to backup your system (website) and use this backup. Or to move your website to one place.

At this time we have not created any packages so you will probably see the following screen.

There are currently no packages found in the Duplicator Plugin

Empty Package Screen

So it's time to create a new package. You do this by clicking on the  "Create New" button in the upper right corner. This will initiate the backup process with the following steps:

  1. Setup In the setup you specify the options and the name of the package
  2. Scan In the scan step, the plugin will scan your website and offer an overview of what was found. From files and formats to alerts.
  3. Create In the create step, the plugin creates the package with the found information and name you specified in step 1

Step 1 - Setup

In the first step, setup, you name your package. For beginners, I recommend leaving all the settings on this page.

The first setup step of the duplicator plugin shows the name of the package

Duplicator Package Step1

Go to step 2 by pressing the following button at the bottom right.

Step 2 - Scanning the website

 

Duplicator scans your wordpress website and displays its information

Duplicator Installation Step2 Database

In step 2, the plugin starts scanning your WordPress website. It retrieves the following data and after a short time shows it in a short overview and indicates whether something is critical, reportable or good:

  • ¬†Setup - Server information such as the PHP version, Open Base Dir and PHP Max Execution Time.
  • WordPress - Information related to your WordPress environment such as version, core and cache
  • Files - The file size of the files found
  • Size checks - Shows which files can be compressed
  • Addon Sites - Shows if addon Sites have been found
  • Name checks - Looks to see if all file names are correct
  • Database - Shows the database size
  • Overview - Shows detailed information of the database

After checking that everything is OK check the checkbox with Yes, Continue the creation process!  and click create to create the package.

The scan list of duplicator with information about your wordpress website and database

Duplicator Site Scan

Step 3 - Create the package

Step 3 prepares the package for you. This may take a few minutes. This depends entirely on the speed of server & the size of the website.

Duplicator builds the package with the previously indicated data

Duplicator builds the package with the previously indicated data

After the package has finished creating and everything has gone well, the files are ready to download. You will be presented with the following files:

  • Installer - Ensures that you can install the website in another place, so we need this one.
  • Archive - The package of website files. These in conjunction with the installer allow the website to be installed elsewhere.
  • One-Click Download - Download the above files in 1 click.

Building the duplicator package is complete and the files can be downloaded

So it is important that you have both the installer if it archive  download.

3. Database & user creation

In this step, we are going to create a database and database user on new environment. Since there are many different hosting environments, such as cPanel and DirectAdmin, I can explain this step with difficulty. For DirectAdmin, it can be done as follows:

Create a database in the directadmin interface

If you can't figure it out, ask your hosting party for help or leave a comment on this post and I'll try to get you started!

4. Uploading the files (moving website).

In this step, we will use an FTP connection to transfer the files to our new hosting environment.

Place the Installer.php and the website package you generated at the new location. This can be done directly in the public_html or www folder, or in a subfolder of it. In the example below, I FTP connected to a hosting environment via the program winSCP.

Here I created a folder called test environment where I want to install the website. This will result in the website at: forgedpixel.co.uk/testenvironment

connect FTP to the new host environment and place your files

5. Website installation

In the last step, it is time to install the website on the new environment. In step 4, I created the test environment folder on forgedpixel.co.uk and placed the files in this folder.

To start the installation you need to invoke the installer through the browser. You do this by typing /installer.php after the url of the location where you placed the package.

Using the example above, I can do that by visiting the following URL: forgedpixel.co.uk/test environment/installer.php

If the file is called correctly the duplicator menu will show up and it is time to install

connect FTP to the new host environment and place your filesThe installation will consist of 4 small steps:

  1. Deployment
  2. Install Database

Agree to the terms and conditions and proceed to step 2 of 4 on entering the database information from main step 3.

Duplicator asks for the database data

NOTICE: At Action, execute consciously. Connect and Remove All Data ensures that all information in the specified database is deleted.

At Database, enter the database name. At User, enter the created database user and at password the corresponding password. Then test your data by clicking on the Test Database button (bottom right) press.

if you entered your information incorrectly, you will see a fail.

Incorrectly entered data in duplicator step 2 causes fail

Incorrectly entered data in duplicator step 2 causes fail

if you have entered your data correctly, you will see a success after which you can proceed to step 3

Entering the host, database, user and password correctly in step 2 results in success

Entering the host, database, user and password correctly in step 2 results in success

Confirm the data the installation and it will start installing the website on the new environment.

In step 3 of the 4 update your data.

We're almost there! In this step you check the URL, Paths and title of the website.

Under Options you have the option to create a new administrator account. You do this by entering the username and password in the input fields.

Adjust the data to your liking and proceed to step 4 to complete the installation.

In this step you check the data of your website and can create a new admin account

In this step you check the data of your website and can create a new admin account

Step 4 - Testing & Cleaning Up!

Once you reach step 4, your website will already be installed and working on the new environment. You can test this by pressing the site Login button and cleaning up the installation files left by Duplicator ūüôā .

The site is installed on the new environment! congratulations.

The site is installed on the new environment! congratulations.

Log in with the known credentials to the new environment and you will receive a message that the migration is almost complete. Go to the link provided and clean up the site.

We're almost there! Please clean your installation first

Duplicator data cleanup

Click Saved Data and select both Remove installation Files as Empty the Cache.

We're almost there! Please clean your installation first

We're almost there! Please clean your installation first

And you have successfully moved your first website

Congratulations, you have successfully moved and backed up your first domain. As you do this more often it will go a lot faster and become like . breathing ;-).

Are you getting stuck somewhere in this process? Feel free to let me know so I can help you get started.

4 Comments

  • Jeltje Cals says:

    Thank you very much for these clear steps for using duplicator. It succeeded with this.
    But ... the site is now installed on two domain names. The old domain points to the new one with a redirect.
    Can I delete everything from the old domain? (That's a very creepy action). Also, should I leave anything in place?
    old= villaschoutenhoeck.nl new= culturelestichtingvoorne.nl

    • Dylan de Jonge says:

      Hi Jeltje,

      in principle, yes! For SEO purposes, it is wise to keep the old domain for now and have it redirected to the new environment.
      Also, be sure to save Duplicator's installation files somewhere (Google drive, dropbox, hard drive, etc.).

  • Anne says:

    Hi - thanks for the helpful explanation.
    I only get stuck when I look up mydomain.com/installer.php in my browser.
    I then get the message: Error establishing a database connection

    Any idea what I'm doing wrong?
    Greetings!

    • Dylan de Jonge says:

      Hi Anne,

      Has it worked out in the meantime?
      This, as the error message indicates, indicates an incorrect connection to the database.
      Did you put the installer.php in an empty folder on your server or in an existing wordpress folder? (it sounds like the latter)

      Greetings,

      Dylan

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