The Ultimate WordPress Site Migration Checklist

There are a variety of reasons you might want to migrate your WordPress site. You could be unhappy with your current hosting provider. Or you may be launching a new version of your website. Either way, Jetpack Backup makes it easy thanks to the website cloning feature.

We want the entire process to be as simple as possible, so this WordPress site migration checklist will walk you through all the considerations for a seamless move.

Before you migrate your WordPress site:

1. Consider your timing

When migrating your site, you always want to consider the best date and time for you. What does that look like? Typically, it’s the time that your website receives the least traffic.

Are you a B2B company that’s closed on weekends? Then Saturday or Sunday might be the perfect choice. Do most people visit your site between 3:00 and 8:00 PM? Consider migrating late at night or early in the morning. Are you launching a new product or hosting a sale? Plan your migration before or after that event.

If you’re not sure when your site is most popular, use a tool like Jetpack Stats or Google Analytics to find this information.

2. Put your site on hold 

When you back up your site prior to migrating, anything that happens after that backup won’t be moved over to your new host. So take the time to press “pause” on your site.

If you’re an eCommerce store, pause orders for the time being. If you’re a blog, wait to publish new content. Make sure to inform anyone working for you (employees, contractors, etc.) to do the same. You may even want to consider a popup or banner letting your site visitors and customers know that you’ll be temporarily down for maintenance.

3. Ensure you have a backup ready to go

Take a minute to make sure that you have a successful backup on hand:

  1. Log into your WordPress.com account.
  2. Go to Jetpack → Backup.
  3. There, you’ll see a confirmation of a successful backup.

During and after site migration:

1. Point your domain name to your new host 

The first thing you want to do is connect your domain name to your new hosting provider. The specific steps you take depend on your host, but they typically provide detailed documentation walking you through the process. You can also reach out to the customer support team for help, if needed.

It can take up to 48 hours for the connection to update across the world (a process called DNS propagation), but typically takes only a few hours. You can use tools like DNS checker to see if your domain name is fully connected.

Note: If you have a staging environment set up on your new host, you may want to migrate to the staging URL and check that the backup restored properly before pointing your domain name. This will prevent any downtime while migrating your site.

2. Migrate your site files and database

Thankfully, this process is a lot simpler with Jetpack Backup than with a manual migration! All you have to do is follow the steps in our cloning guide, and everything will be taken care of for you. There’s no need to hire a developer or understand code.

Getting Started window for cloning with Jetpack Backup

3. Make sure your SSL certificate is working

After migration is complete, make sure that your SSL certificate is working. You can do this by loading your site in an incognito window. If you don’t see a security warning and if there’s a lock icon displayed next to your URL in the browser, then you’re good to go. Make sure to check multiple pages, too, not just your homepage.

If it’s not working, double check that you’ve set up an SSL certificate through your host and reach out to their support team if you need help.

4. Check website functionality

Click through each of your pages and check that they all look great and are functioning as expected. Fill out contact forms to ensure that you receive submissions. If you own an eCommerce store, go through the entire checkout process and test payment functionality. If site visitors have accounts, make sure their dashboard and login work as expected. Check links throughout the site and see if they go to the right place.

5. Test backend functionality

Test all of your “hidden” site functionality as well. Is Jetpack Backup saving copies of your site? Are your security scans running? Are your social media feeds still connected? Are your email captures working? If not, you may need to reconnect plugins or extensions.

6. Check site speed

Use tools like GTMetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights to see how quickly (or slowly) your site loads. If it seems slower than before your migration, consider the differences in your hosting plans. Did your previous host include a CDN? You may want to implement Jetpack CDN to make up the difference. Did your previous plan include more resources? You may want to look into upgrading with your new host.

7. Make sure your site can be indexed by search engines

If search engines like Google can’t index your site, then you can’t show up in results. This shouldn’t have changed during site migration, but it’s always a good idea to double check.

If you have a Google Search Console account, you can quickly use the URL inspection tool to check any page you’d like. If there are any problems, Google will point out the issue and provide troubleshooting tips.

8. Monitor Google Search Console and Google Analytics over time

Continue to monitor your accounts and watch for any errors or changes in traffic that could indicate an issue. Again, when using a WordPress migration tool like Jetpack Backup, you shouldn’t encounter anything, but it’s always good to be aware of what’s happening so you can troubleshoot if necessary.

9. Close your old hosting account

Once everything’s working properly, you can cancel your old hosting plan and close your account. But be careful! If you have other services with that provider — like email accounts or domain names — don’t delete those without moving them elsewhere.

WordPress migration made easy

Jetpack Backup makes the website migration process simple, requiring no developers, experience, or coding knowledge. And if you run into any issues, the Jetpack support team is available to help. 

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