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Migrating your site to a new host with Jetpack VaultPress Backup

Cloning allows you to use Jetpack VaultPress Backup to migrate your site to a fresh WordPress installation on any host. This feature is a quick and easy way to migrate your site when you are moving your site to a new hosting provider.

Before you start

Your source site (the current live site) should be online and accessible, without any DNS changes made yet.

Your destination site (the site at your new host) should not yet be using the original site’s domain or have the DNS records changed yet. The destination site should use another URL or a temporary/staging URL, and the domain should be pointed to the new site only after the migration is done.

That said, you will not need to manually update any URLs in your WordPress database after cloning the site. The cloning process automatically updates all your site’s URLs, so manual updating is unnecessary.

How to start

Set up SSH/SFTP/FTP credentials on your current site

Cloning is only possible once you’ve added SSH, SFTP, or FTP credentials to Jetpack. For more information about finding and adding your server credentials to Jetpack, check out this guide.

Choose and set up your new hosting plan 

  1. Ensure your new host plan meets the minimum WordPress requirements.
  2. Ensure that your new host has adequate resources for your specific site, including disk space, bandwidth, memory, and CPU. Not sure what you need? This article can help you figure it out.
  3. You need a working WordPress install at the new host. Since we do not back up WordPress’s core files, you will need a working WordPress installation to perform a clone restore. While not necessary, a fresh WordPress installation is highly recommended. This is because the clone/migration process will not delete any files currently on the destination WordPress site.

Prepare for migration

When to migrate?

It’s important to migrate when you aren’t planning to publish any new content. You might lose that data if you create new content during the migration. It’s also a good idea to do the entire process when your site isn’t too busy, so there’s minimal interruption to visitors. If you use Jetpack Stats, the Insights Dashboard will give you information that can help you decide when to migrate.

Make a plan for email accounts

Jetpack’s clone feature transfers your WordPress site and its data to a new server, but will not transfer other services, such as email accounts. If you have email set up with your old hosting provider, now might be a good time to migrate this to a dedicated email host (like G Suite or Microsoft 365), which typically offers more features than standard hosting email. At the very least, make sure you have a plan for any email accounts you have set up.

Gather details about your site’s new home

Before you start, there are a few things you’ll need on hand:

  • SSH/SFTP/FTP credentials for your site at your new web host.
  • Your login credentials for your DNS host. This will usually be your domain registrar, but could also be a standalone DNS provider such as Cloudflare.
  • The DNS records for your new server. This will usually be the server IP address, which you can obtain from your new hosting provider.

If Jetpack won’t accept your server credentials or if you encounter problems entering your server credentials, pleae refer to this guide. If issues persist, please contact our support team.

Let’s get cloning

To start the cloning process, visit

  1. Click on VaultPress Backup in the left menu.
  2. Click on the button that says Copy this site.
  3. Click Enter credentials for a new destination site.
  4. Enter your destination site URL. This is the new host you’re cloning to — in most cases, you’ll need to enter your temporary/staging URL rather than your original site’s domain name. 
  5. Enter your new server credentials. Jetpack will use these to clone your site from your current host to your new host. If you’re unsure, check with your new host for the right information.
  6. Enter the destination WordPress path. This is where your site’s files are stored and is probably something like /public_html. If you’re unsure, your new host should be able to provide this information. Click Confirm credentials.
  7. Jetpack will test the credentials to confirm they work to connect to your new site. If there are any errors, you’ll see them on the next screen with some troubleshooting suggestions. If all tests pass, click Continue.
  8. Select Clone from latest point to clone using the most recent backup. To clone from an earlier backup, scroll down and find the backup in your Activity Log, then click Clone from here.
  9. You will see a confirmation screen where you can choose the content in the backup you want to clone. If you’re migrating your site to a new host, you will usually want to leave all the boxes checked. Select the items you wish to clone and click Confirm configuration.
  10.  A final confirmation message will appear to confirm you want to overwrite all content on the destination site with the content from your backup. Click Yes, Continue to begin the cloning process.
  11. You can follow the cloning progress from the Jetpack Cloud dashboard, or click Go to Activity Log to return to your site’s Activity Log.

If the clone restore starts but fails before finishing, or if you experience any restore problems, get in touch with our support team to help you troubleshoot the issue.

Test the cloned site

Once the clone is completed, the next step is to check your new website before pointing your domain name to the new host. Ensure that your content is loading as expected and all functionality works properly. This isn’t a step to rush. Be thorough and take your time. 

Point your domain name to your new host

Once satisfied that the migration was successful, you’ll need to change your DNS settings to point your domain name to your new server. The specific process for this depends on your provider, but here are the typical steps:

  1. Log in to your domain registrar or DNS provider and locate the area to update your DNS settings. Again, this will vary based on your provider, but they should supply clear documentation.
  2. Change the A record to your new server IP address. The exact steps depend on your provider. You can also ask your provider to make this change for you. Important: Don’t remove, edit, or delete any other DNS settings unless you are certain you no longer need them. 
  3. Once you’ve saved your settings, you must wait for the DNS changes to propagate. DNS changes can take up to 48 hours to update around the world. For this reason, it’s important not to immediately cancel your old hosting until you’re confident that propagation has finished. You can verify propagation with tools such as DNS Checker.

After migrating your site, you’ll be prompted to log in to your new site. For that, use the WP-Admin username and password for the site you copied from. The cloning process overwrites everything, including the WP Admin user information.

Important: After logging in to the new site, the Jetpack Safe Mode prompt will be shown everywhere in your WP Admin. More information about Safe mode is here.

Still need help?

Please contact support directly. We’re happy to advise.

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