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If you’re a website owner who runs their site on WordPress, it’s likely that you’ll have to migrate your website at some point. If your hosting plan expires and you decide to switch to another WordPress provider, you will have to migrate your website to another server. The same goes for when you’re experiencing issues with your provider or you’re simply not satisfied with the service you’re getting.

There are three ways you can migrate your WordPress site:

a) hire a professional company that will migrate the entire website for you

b) purchase a hosting plan that includes a migration service

c) do it yourself!

Obviously, the first option is the most reliable one but can end up costing you quite a lot. The same goes for the second option: you’ll end up paying much more for a plan that includes a migration service. Then, we come to the DIY option, and yes, it’s very much possible to fully migrate your WordPress site on your own, for free!

If this is something you’re doing for the first time, you need to be careful. If you have already established a stable site that gets traction, you need to make sure that your website stays on the same trajectory as before the migration. You need to avoid the common problems which can occur during WordPress migration.

Here are some of the main ones that you should be careful of:

Losing files

Losing files during WordPress site migration is more than just losing data. It costs a lot of time as the loss of files will revert the site to the older version. This loss can be avoided by keeping the backup of your website and reassuring before starting the site migration.

The website backups are mostly provided by the host but in case of non-availability of automatic backups, you can use a WordPress plugin that will help you make a backup of all your files.

The best-rated WordPress plugins used for website backup include VaultPress, BackupBuddy, and BoldGrid Backup. Some plugins only come with database backup options, so be watchful for the website backup option.

There is also an option of manual backup that requires a manual database and website management. For manual backup, you need to visit the host website. Search forpublic_html file in the home folder of the file manager on the host website.

The next step’s easy and you will get access to your backups in no time. Compress the public_html file as a zip file and save the file in the desired location. It can either be a hard drive or a server. To export your database, go to phpMyAdmin and save it in the desired location. For individuals with a beginner level of knowledge, it is better to go for automatic backup options.

Image source: WP Beginner

If you lose some files during the migration process, you’ll still have access to them in your backup. You can either upload that backup to your new website or upload it file by file if you’re looking to re-make your website.

Downtime During Migration/Error 404

The most common error of WordPress site migration is a high likelihood of downtime. This is something that’s completely unacceptable in today’s era. Not only will it be frowned upon by search engines (the more downtime your website experiences, the less likely you will be ranked on top results), but it will annoy your visitors and turn them away the next time they get a chance to visit your website. The website’s reputation is practically ruined when people search for it and do not find it.

The reason behind the downtime is the migration of files to the new host and the URLs that lead to old hosting. The old hosting has nothing to present the visitors except the 404 error. Many hosts offer internal addresses to offer constant uptime.

If your host is not offering this option, then there is a way to solve this issue. This mode requires modification of host files on your PC that will make the website work on it and the visitors will then be able to utilize the old host.

Let’s have a look at the methods you can use to point your visitors to the correct host and avoid downtime errors. Go to the host file on your PC, save it as Notepad file and run as administrator. Then add a line in host file to paste the shared IP address that you can find on the new host’s cPanel. After pasting the shared IP address add your website’s domain. The example of the result is 123.643.66.7 www.yourdomain.com.

The domain name can be used to test your website on a new host. After completion of migration, this line should be deleted from the host file.

phpMyAdmin Timing Out

A working website’s database is quite massive and it’s much larger than we usually imagine. This massive size cause issues during import and export. The most common issue is the timeout of phpMyAdmin. This platform can only handle so much data transfers at a time, and when you’re importing or exporting an entire website, timeouts are common.

To resolve this issue, you can use an open-source tool WP import command in WP-CLI. However, if you want to save your time on installation and learning about this tool, you can utilize SSH commands for database import and export.

If these solutions do not work for you then contact the support team. This type of error will not affect any of the files or databases on your website, but will just prolong the process of migration. If you work around it, you’ll get a perfect export result.

Image source: Some tips

500 Internal Server Error/ The Silent Error

The 500 internal error is silent, it does not explain its reasons. In other words, if this is shown on your WordPress site after a migration process, it can be due to many different reasons. This is why 500 Internal Server is one of the most time-consuming mistakes during migration. We sincerely hope that it won’t happen to you!

One reason might be the inaccessibility of all the files on your website by the new host. So, it is better to try resolving this issue by finding the permissions folder and allow a new host to access all the files.

Another solution is checking and renaming your .htaccess file. After renaming this file reload the website and if it does not work generate .htaccess file again.

If the above solutions are not working for you, then after deleting the renamed .htaccess file, restore the old one as this file is not causing the issue. Now, set the memory limit by default and deactivate all WP plugins. Troubleshooting of plugins one-by-one will lead you to find the root of the issue and you can reinstall that plugin.

If you have tried all of these options and your website is still displaying an internal server error (a silent error), try consulting with IT experts who will know exactly where to look for the issue.

Image source: If-Koubou

Error Establishing a Database Connection

This error can be solved by trying different solutions. The first solution is to solve the error by establishing a database connection when you check wp-config.php file. A typing mistake in the database name or username might be behind the error.

If the mentioned file is error-free than try to load www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin to check for the error that says “website has to be repaired”. If it is there, you should type the string WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’,True in your wp-admin.php file. Then check www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/maint/repair.php. It will most likely fix the database error. After confirmation that the issue has been resolved, delete this string from the wp-admin-PHP file. If nothing works for you, contact the support team.

Your hosting provider or WordPress will usually provide you with a new set of credentials that you can use to enter your WP admin area.

Image source: WP White Security

Losing Blog Posts Ranking

Some website owners notice that their blog posts are not ranking as well after migration. There can be many reasons for this, but it’s best to consult with SEO experts who can tell you exactly what went wrong during migration.

Search engine traffic and organic visitors are among your most important assets if you’re running a blog via WordPress. Check out online writing websites that can help you source content that will rank well and help your WordPress site get discovered.

If you migrate your entire website to another provider, they might automatically assign page and post links to your backup files. In most cases, the URLs will be exactly the same as in the original, but some providers will change the name and make it unable for users to find your website using old links.

This is especially harmful if you’re promoting your content on social media, as all of the posts you publish will be connected to those particular URLs. You will need to find a way to restore all the URLs back to what they were before and re-assume your Google ranking.

SSL Certificate issues

Every WordPress site benefits from having an SSL certificate. For eCommerce websites, SSL certificates are crucial because they make the payment process secure and protected from third-party attacks. If you have an online store without an SSL certificate, it’s highly unlikely that your website will be displayed in Google’s search results. So, if you lose your SSL certificate or encounter errors during the migration process, it can be quite an issue.

The following scenarios are just some of the possible issues SSLs can have during the migration.

You missed a domain name change in the SSL certificate. This is in case you’re getting NET::ERR_CERT_INVALID error. The SSL certificates are issued to specific domain names and a change in domain name won’t make them work. That’s why after changing the domain name manual reinstallation of certificate is crucial to resolve this issue.

On the other hand, the mixed content errors are because of some URLs of websites that stayed linked to the HTTP version. Such URLs can be fixed manually or by using a plugin like SSL Insecure content fixer.

Image source: WebSetNet

Image Issues

After a WordPress site migration, issues related to the image location, image quality, and linking can be observed across your website. These issues pop up because there was an error or an inconsistency during the upload process.

The broken images, the image orientations, and the linking can be fixed by reuploading the media file from the computer or old server. To do this, you need to have a solid backup of all the files you have uploaded to your website.

Community/Visitors Activity Loss

This one is also connected to the loss of rankings for your blog posts and pages. The DNS servers update the domain name records during the propagation period. During this period the visitor activities can be lost because they are not recorded. To avoid this loss, one needs to eliminate the propagation time.

To do that, you need to move the record from the old to the new host by using the DNS Zone. This will lead the visitors from the old server to the new IP address with the new content.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many things that can go wrong during a WordPress site migration process, so you need to be careful if you’re thinking of doing it yourself. Before you even start the process, make sure you back up all your files and create a copy of your WordPress site. You can do this easily with the help of plugins.

If you’re not sure whether you’re prepared for the possibility of all of these errors and ways to handle them, consider getting a hosting plan that includes a migration service. This way, you’ll be guaranteed that everything crosses over correctly and none of your files get stuck in the transition.

Bio: Daniela McVicker is an editor at Essayguard. She is passionate about technology and is always excited to share the latest information available on the market. Daniela is fascinated by technology evolution and is constantly keeping an eye on tech industry.