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change-hosting

This week was another web ‘first’ for me.  I moved this site to a new host!  It really wasn’t very complicated, but I ran into a few speed-bumps.  I’ll run through a few things I had to do.

There were 2 major obstacles for me.  First off, I’m running WordPress for this blog, and needed to move my posts, etc. to the new host.  Second, I needed to make the URL point to the new host, and not this old one.

Moving WordPress

First off – before you do anything else – back up EVERYTHING.  Back up the files on your host, your databases, settings… anything you can think of.  It’ll save you later if anything goes foul.

I had done some online research for ways of moving WordPress.  Some would have you create the exact database names, tables, etc. on your new host, but that seemed like a lot more work than I was interested in.  I decided to try the ‘easy’ way, first.  The easy way was simply to do an export from the WordPress Admin panel that can then be imported into a new WordPress installation.  You can do that by clicking Export under the Tools menu in your sidebar.  Once you’ve performed the export, you have a file that you can import in to a fresh WordPress installation that will restore all of your post content.  That covers your content, but you’ll also need to copy the folder with all of your media over.  You can find that at root/wp-content/uploads/.

That covers most of your content, but there are a couple additional things that’ll help you get your new install to match your old one.  First is plugins.  Back up all of your plugins to your local drive, then upload them to your new host.  Once they’re uploaded, you’ll just need to activate them from the admin panel.  Some of them will of course need some additional configuring.  Once your plugins are good to go, you have one last thing you may choose to do.  If you’ve used any Text widgets, you might want to copy the code out of them so you’ll have it for your new install.  This might include things like AdSense, graphics, etc.  I forgot to do this when moving my site, and it was a pain to recreate what I’d done previously…

Now that you’ve got all of your goods ready to use on your new install, you’ll need to install WordPress at your new location.  I’m switching from GoDaddy to Host Gator.  One of the best things about Host Gator is Fantastico De Luxe.  It’s kind of like cheating, it makes installing WordPress REALLY easy.  It handles the creation of a My SQL database and the process takes about a minute.  Now for the catch… you can’t get to your admin panel.  It’ll redirect to your current WordPress install on the old host.  It’s time to change the nameservers.

Changing Nameservers

There are probably ways to do this seamlessly, but I couldn’t find any — and I had the luxury of changing over a site that doesn’t get a ton of traffic.  A little down time was fine by me.

When you change the nameservers, you’re pointing your URL to the place where your website is hosted.  In my case I needed to point them to my new Host Gator installation.  You’ll find the nameserver addresses on your Host Gator control panel.  Once you have that info, go in to the GoDaddy Domain Manager.  Click on the domain you’re changing, and click Manage for the Nameservers section.  Add your two new Nameservers in the fields.  You’re done!  Now you wait.  This process can be quick… or it can take a while, up to 72 hours.  Check your site often to see if the change has taken place ( probably an hour or two ).  This is a good time to upload your Uploads folder, Plugins, and Theme so they’ll be ready.

Once you’re rerouted, get into your WordPress install and Import the file you Exported earlier.  Then install your theme and activate your plugins. Next check your settings – permalinks, blog address, number of posts shown, etc.  Check your site, you should be good to go!

I’ve read this method isn’t foolproof.  You can run into issues with links changing, etc.  If it doesn’t work, you may have to opt for one of the more complicated methods.  Cross your fingers, maybe you’ll get lucky like I was.

I’ll hit on it in the future, but if you need cheap, reliable hosting check out Host Gator.

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