Knowledge Base

Move Your WordPress Site to A Small Orange

For this guide, we will demystify WordPress and show you how easy it is to move a WordPress installation from your current host to A Small Orange. You'll gain an understanding of the basic components of WordPress and see how moving the site is nothing more than a series of simple steps. Let's dig in! 

Note: This tutorial does not apply to sites hosted at WordPress.com. It only applies to sites that run on a standalone version of WordPress, as found at WordPress.org.

If your current host is a cPanel host, the easiest thing to do is to allow one of our talented Tech Support Ninjas to take care of it for you. Just open a ticket, and they'll get it moved over for you. 

WordPress is a collection of adequately placed files supported by a MySQL database. All we will do is move the files and the database and then tell WordPress where to find the database. For the guide, we will use a fictitious site with a domain name of 'yourdomain. tld', where 'yourdomain' is the beginning part of your site's URL and '.tld' is your '.com' or similar.

Tip! The below instructions detail how to manually move your WordPress website over. If you want to use the Softaculous plugin (Softaculous comes standard on all shared plans) to move it over, scroll down to the bottom to see those instructions.

Backing Up

To back up the site, we will use a WordPress plugin called 'WP-DB-Backup' to get a copy of the database and then use an FTP program to copy the site to your computer. To start backing up your site:

  1. Log in to your WordPress site at your current host at yourdomain.tld/wp-admin.

  2. Navigate to the Plugins menu on the left-hand side of the screen and then Add New.

  3. Search for WP-DB-Backup; the top result should be the correct one.

  4. Click Install Now, click OK, and then click Activate Plugin.

  5. In the Main menu, click Tools and then click Backup.

  6. In the Backup Options setting, click Save to Server and then click Backup Now! to start the backup process.

  7. Make a note of the directory in which the database backup is stored. In our case, it is 'wp-content/backup-220fb/'.

We'll need to know the directory path where the backup is stored when we restore the database.

FTPing the Files

We need to use FTP to download all the files, including the database backup, which is now stored in a file. A good FTP program is FileZilla, which you can download at https://filezilla-project.org.

Note: To learn more about how to FTP, where to get to your FTP, and more, check out our other Knowledgebase articles here.

To get started FTPin':

  1. Log into FTP on your account at your old web host.

  2. Navigate to the directory that contains all of your site files.
    Note: When you see 'wp-config.php,' you've hit the correct directory.

  3. Make sure you grab all of WordPress' files, including the .htaccess file, and download them into a folder on your Desktop.
    Note: .htaccess is often hidden (because it starts with a dot), so you may have to unhide it first. In FileZilla, click Server and then Force Showing Hidden Files.

Uploading to Your New cPanel Account

We're getting there! It's time to configure your FTP program for your new cPanel account and get logged in.

Note: If you run into a snag on this step, please open a ticket, and we'll gladly get you logged in. 

  1. Open your welcome email and grab your username and the IP of the server your account resides on.

  2. Use the IP from the welcome email as the hostname for the FTP and your cPanel username and password as the login info.

  3. Upload the entire contents of your WordPress site into the public_html directory via FTP (make sure that all files were uploaded, including .htaccess).

Creating and Importing the Database

We've got the WordPress files moved. Next, we must create a new cPanel database and import your WordPress database.

  1. Log in to cPanel (using the login details from your welcome email).
    Note: For this guide, we're assuming a username of "youruser". Be sure to use your actual username.

  2. In the Databases section, click MySQL® Database Wizard.

  3. In the New Database text field, type wordpress.
    Note: Your database name is youruser_wordpress. This is the 'DB_NAME' that you'll need later.

  4. Click Next Step.

  5. In the Create Database Users text field, type wpuser and then type in a password for your database (make one up)

  6. Write down your password (in this example, I used 'aso+rocks!!') and 'youruser_wpuser'; you will need these later for DB_USER and DB_PASSWORD.

  7. Click Create User.

  8. On the next screen, tick the box adjacent to ALL PRIVILEGES and click Next Step

    The database is ready, but it's empty. We need to import the database that we backed up. For this, we will use phpMyAdmin, which is built into cPanel.

  9. Click the Home icon in the top left corner of the cPanel screen.

  10. Scroll down to Databases again and click phpMyAdmin.

  11. When the phpMyAdmin screen pops up, click on your database in the left column where it says 'youruser_wordpress.' 

  12. Click Import, located near the top of the page, and then click Browse.

  13. Navigate to the same folder that you downloaded your WordPress files into earlier, into 'wp-content,' and then click on the Backup folder.

  14. Double-click on the file name 'yourwpdatabase_' and then click Go near the bottom of the page.

If it succeeded, great! Let's move to the next step. We're almost done. If not, open a ticket with our Tech Support Ninja, and they'll ha-cha! The database is in place for you.

Hooking It All Up Together

The last step is to tell your WordPress installation about the new database details. For that, we're going to use cPanel's File Manager.

  1. Go back to cPanel's main page and click File Manager.

  2. Web Root should already be selected (select it if it's not), so click Go.

  3. Right-click on 'wp-config.php'.

  4. Click Edit, then Edit again.

  5. Edit just the MySQL settings so that it matches the values that we wrote down when creating the MySQL database earlier.

  6. Click Save Changes and then Close in the top right corner.

/** The name of the database for WordPress */

define('DB_NAME', 'youruser_wordpress');


/** MySQL database username */

define('DB_USER', 'youruser_wpuser');


/** MySQL database password */

define('DB_PASSWORD', 'aso+rocks!!');


/** MySQL hostname */

define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');

You can also close the File Manager and any other cPanel windows. We're done! That's it. Your site is ready to go. Once you point your DNS at your account at A Small Orange, your site will be live. If you need a hand making any of this work, do not hesitate to contact our Tech Support Ninjas. We want to ensure that your move to A Small Orange is smooth. 

Moving it Over with Softaculous

You can quickly move your WordPress blog to us with Softaculous from within your cPanel dashboard.
Note: This move focuses on migrating your blog posts. It imports your posts, pages, and comments. It retains your tags, categories, and links for embedded media but does NOT migrate media files.

If you have uploaded images or videos on your WordPress blog, copy those files to your uploads folder at /wp-content/uploads. This way, those images show up on your newly imported site. Using the same process, you can also migrate your themes folder, wp-content/themes.

Moving Your WordPress Installation

  1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard, navigate the Tools menu, and click Export.

  2. Click All Content and then Download Export File and save it to your computer (noting the location).

  3. Log out of your WordPress dashboard.

  4. Log in to your cPanel account (login info was sent in your welcome email, and you can find more information about getting into cPanel here).

  5. From your cPanel dashboard, hover over WordPress in the Software and Services section and click Install.

  6. To the right of Choose Domain, select the domain you want to move from the dropdown menu.

  7. Remove the 'wp' from the In Directory section if you want your site to be found at http://yourdomain.com instead of http://yourdomain.com/wp.

  8. Finish filling out the applicable text fields and complete the installation by clicking the Install button at the bottom of the page.

  9. Log in to your WordPress dashboard again.

  10. In your WordPress dashboard, navigate to the Tools menu and click Import.

  11. Select WordPress from the available options
    Note: You must likely install the WordPress Importer Plugin to complete this. 

  12. Choose the file you downloaded earlier and click Upload File and Import

  13. Select the author to assign posts to (or assign posts to an existing user). 
    Note: Editing the posts can change this at any point.

You can also select Download and Import File Attachments to connect to your existing site and download images or videos, etc. This usually only works if your site is imported from a WordPress.com/Blogger/LiveJournal site and not another WordPress.org installation.

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