Migrating Your Websites to WordPress Hosting

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  • Applies to: WordPress Hosting
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Time Needed: 60
    • Tools Required: FTP client, DNS Control


Moving your site to (mt) Media Temple involves a few simple but important steps:


This article assumes that you have access to your old host and are already using the latest version of WordPress. This article is provided solely as a courtesy to our customers. All custom configurations such as themes and plugins will need to be re-installed and re-configured. If you have a custom configuration, this guide may not be right for you and we recommend consulting your web developer or server admin for additional support. The publishing of this information does not imply support of this article. Please take a moment to review our Statement of Support.

Below, we will go into more detail.


CloudTech Can Help!
(mt) Media Temple offers assisted site migrations via CloudTech, our premium services division. To learn more, please click here.

Getting Started

Order the server

If you haven't already, order your new WordPress Hosting from the Account Center. See Managing/Ordering servers for details.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • The new server cannot have the same domain as an existing service at the time it is ordered; although this can be changed later, if desired.
  • Don't use a subdomain of a domain that is currently on another service. You could use something like new-example.com , or just a random string of characters like igw8aclrj2.net.

Lower Your TTL

Please lower your TTL for the domain. This will help to speed up the propagation process when you need to change your DNS. This makes switching over to the new host once your migration is complete a much smoother and easier process. Click the link for instructions and more information on DNS propagation.

Automated Migration

To migrate to the WordPress Hosting service, you'll want to utilize Media Temple's WordPress Hosting migration tool. To use this tool, you will need to have a working WordPress site online and available to migrate from. This automated migration will not work if:

  • Your old WordPress site is in maintenance mode
  • Your old host uses a custom login page
  • Your old site is hosted by WordPress.com

If your site does not meet the requirements for an automated migration, we can perform the migration for you through our CloudTech On-Demand Move a Site service. We have also included instructions for a manual migration. If none of these options meet your needs, you may need to contact your web developer or server admin for additional support.

Important: Before beginning the migration process, it is strongly recommended that you create backups of both your site's content files and associated databases.

This migration takes advantage of (mt) Media Temple's WordPress Hosting migration tool. Using this tool will allow you to migrate your site from another live server. You will need to have ready the following information:

  • FTP Server or IP Address
  • FTP Path to your WordPress site root (optional)
  • FTP Username & Password
  • WordPress Server Address (Your WordPress Site URL)
  • WordPress Username & Password

Please also be aware that all of the following will be overwritten on the WordPress Hosting site that you are migrating to:

  • Themes
  • Plugins
  • Pages
  • Posts
  • Comments


    1. Log into the Account Center.
    2. From the Overview tab, click on the Admin button for the WordPress Hosting service you would like to migrate your site to.
    3. From the WordPress Hosting control panel, select the site that you wish to migrate to.
    4. From the site menu, select Developer Tools.
    5. Next, select Migrate Here.
    6. Enter all required information about your old host. Below is a description of each line.
      • FTP Server or IP Address

In this field, enter the FTP server or IP address hosting your old WordPress installation.

      • FTP Username

Enter the FTP username for your old host.

      • FTP Password

Enter the password for your FTP user on your old host.

      • WordPress Server

This is the server address for your current wp-admin login. You may enter the full file path if applicable, e.g., domain.com/wp-admin/ or domain.com/wordpress/wp-admin/, etc.

      • WordPress Admin Username

This is your login user for the WordPress Admin Panel on your old host. The default is admin, but you may be using a custom username.

      • WordPress Admin Password

This is the password from the WordPress Admin user on your old host.Once you have entered this information into the migration tool, click the "YES, MIGRATE HERE" button.

Manual Migration

If you are unable to perform an automated migration, The following steps may be used to perform a manual migration. Please keep in mind that the following information is provided as a courtesy and is not supported by (mt) Media Temple. You will need the following to perform a manual migration.

  • WordPress content files
  • FTP username & password
  • WordPress database file
  • WordPress database prefix
  • Database username & password

Please also be aware that all of the following will be overwritten on the WordPress Hosting site that you are migrating to:

  • Themes
  • Plugins
  • Pages
  • Posts
  • Comments


WordPress Content Files

Make sure you have created the new site. This would have been done by adding a WordPress Hosting service and assigning a domain, or adding a domain for an existing WordPress Hosting service. Once this is complete, we will have a place to put the content. Next, upload the content from your downloaded /wp-content using SFTP to this new domain. You will want to replace all existing content within the existing /wp-content directory except the directory /mu-plugins. For more information on connecting to your service through SFTP, check out the following article: Using SFTP


Next, you'll need to import the .sql file that you downloaded when exporting your WordPress site from your old host. This is very similar to the export process.

  1. Log into your Account Center.
  2. Click the Admin button for your WordPress Hosting service.
  3. Select the site you wish to import to.
  4. Click on phpMyAdmin in the site menu.
  5. Inside phpMyAdmin, select the WordPress database from the list to the left.  In this case we're importing into a7462067706243.
  6. Click the Import tab.
  7. Click the Choose File button. 
  8. Find the .sql file that you downloaded from your old host and select it.
  9. Click the Go button to begin the import.

Now that your database is imported you will need to change the WordPress prefix for your tables that the Wordpress is looking for. This is done by editing the wp-config file that exists in your site root. You will need to look for a line that looks similar to the following and modify it.<

$table_prefix = 'wp_xxxxxxxxxxxx_'; 

You will need to replace the existing table prefix in the wp-config.php file with the one from your previous host. In this example, it becomes:

$table_prefix = 'wp_ary2vyj2rw_'; 

Once the content is uploaded, the database is imported, and the database table prefix in the wp-conf file is updated, your site should be migrated.

Site Paths and Previews

If you try to preview your website using access domain you may experience display problems. For this case, you'd need to temporarily change a setting which makes your access domain the site URL. For help previewing your site before switching over your DNS, please refer to this article

Change DNS Settings

Before you change your DNS settings, verify that you have:

  • Moved your website content.
  • Re-created your email users.
  • Previewed your site.

If you think you're ready to go, now is the time to switch your DNS! Go to your registrar and set your nameserver records to:


If you lowered your TTL and waited the original time interval, then the DNS propagation should be about 5 minutes. If you haven't, then you will need to wait for about 24-48 hours for DNS propagation to complete.

Double-check migration accuracy & cancel old service

If you used a temporary domain name for your new service, you may now update the primary domain.

At this point, all of the actual migration steps should be complete. You will want to double-check to make sure there were no issues with your migration at this point. With any transfer, there's always the possibility for an issue to arise during this process, It's important to double-check everything before closing your old service.

Once you have fully tested your new server, and have confirmed that your DNS changes have propagated, you may close your old server. If you are migrating from another hosting service here at (mt) Media Temple and need to close it once the migration is complete, these directions will help you close your old service.

Backing up From Your Old Host

Create a Database Backup

If you are going to be migrating manually, you will need to make a backup of your database. If you are using the automated migrator tool, we still recommend creating a backup of your site before proceeding with any move. With WordPress there are two components to your website. The content files (html, images, php, etc.) and your database. Both of these components will need to be backed up separately. We'll start with the database. You can use any number of different methods to export your WordPress database from your old host. We're going to use phpMyAdmin for this example. The main goal is to export a .sql copy of the database to your local computer that you can later upload to your new WordPress Hosting service.

  1. Connect to your database on your old host using phpMyAdmin.
  2. Select the database that you want to export from the left. In this case we're exporting a database named a7462067706243
  3. Click the Export tab at the top of this panel.
  4. Click Select All in the Export box to choose to export all tables.
  5. At this stage make note of the WordPress prefix. It will be needed when you are adding the database to your new WordPress Hosting service. In this example it is wp_ary2vyj2rw_.
  6. Select the check box, Add DROP TABLE / VIEW / PROCEDURE / FUNCTION.
  7. Select the Save as file check box. 
  8. Click Go. 
  9. This will export your database content in the form of an .sql file to your local computer.  

WordPress Content Files

To make sure all of your images, themes and plugins are backed up, you will want to also back up your /wp-content folder located in the site root on your old host. You can do this by connecting to your old host using FTP or SFTP and copying the /wp-content folder to your local computer.


If you are hosting email on your old host and plan on migrating your email to (mt) Media Temple, you will want to make a backup of these. This article walks you through the steps needed to backup and migrate your email using IMAP.

Troubleshooting & Error Messages

You may receive an error message alerting you to a problem in the migration process. These error messages indicate additional action may be required on your part to complete the migration.


If you receive this error message, this means that we were not able to complete the first step in the migration process, where we install a plugin on your existing WordPress installation. There are a few ways you can fix this.

  • Disable any custom login pages
  • Remove your site from maintenance or setup mode
  • Make sure your WordPress directory has the correct permissions for FTP/SFTP

This message means that we were not able to get the WordPress migration plugin we use to find the files on your account. Here are some solutions for this error.

  • Disable any security plugins that would prevent our plugin from accessing your site
  • Log out of your WordPress control panel and terminate any FTP connections
  • Perform only one Managed WordPress migration at a time
  • Contact your current host and see if there are any known issues on your account

We were not able to copy the files from your existing account and move them to your new Managed WordPress account. There are a few ways to fix this.

  • Move any old or unneeded uploads off of your hosting account
  • Move any backup directories or cache storages off of your hosting account
  • Log out of your WordPress control panel and terminate any FTP connections
  • Perform only one Managed WordPress migration at a time
  • Contact your current host and make sure there are not any issues with a plugin downloading files from your account