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WordPress Blogs: Changing Hosts the Easy Way

Have you been putting off the need to change hosting companies because of dreading the move of your WordPress database? For a static website a hosting change is no big deal, but things can be a little bit more involved for a database-driven site like a WordPress blog. Fortunately, WordPress has an easy solution that can make it a fast, painless process.

When I started my WordPress blog I had no intentions or thoughts of large spikes of traffic from sites like Digg. While our inexpensive hosting held up just fine under normal conditions, it wasn’t sufficient for days with high traffic. The obvious solution is to switch to a host that can handle higher volumes of traffic, but I wasn’t very eager to move the blog.

Within the WordPress dashboard there is an import/export feature that makes this situation pretty routine. The feature was created to help WordPress users migrate a blog from other platforms such as Blogger, Movable Type and TypePad, as well as to allow for moving from one WordPress blog to another. (And even if you’re not considering a move, it serves as a great backup option).

For moving from one host to another the process works like this:

  • When you are ready to make the switch, login to your current blog and go to Manage, Export (see the 1st picture below).
  • Click on Download Export File and WordPress will create an XML file that they call eXtended RSS (or WXR) that serves as your backup. Save this file somewhere on your hard drive.
  • Once your hosting has been switched and your site is on the new server, install WordPress in the same location as on your old server.
  • Login to WordPress and go to Manage, Import and choose WordPress. Then click on Browse and find the XML file that you exported (see the 2nd picture below).
  • Of course, you’ll also have to upload whatever theme and plugins you were using on the old server (and don’t forget to set your permalinks to the same setting used on the old blog).

Export:

Export screenshot

Import:

Import screenshot

The whole process for my recent switch took about 5 minutes. One additional step was needed with my new hosting company. I had to edit the php.ini file to allow for an import of this size, but this will vary from host to host. If you are having issues with this, the new hosting company should be able to help, although most hosts will provide little help for actually moving a database.

Another thing to consider is that the process is easier if you move to a host that offers a one-click WordPress installation. Most hosts now offer this, some of them through services like Fantastico. Otherwise the installation of WordPress will take a little bit more effort, but is still very feasible.


  1. By Matthew Griffin posted on November 29, 2007 at 10:17 am
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    It never seems to go exactly how you plan it and when it goes wrong, moving a dynamic web site to a new host can be extremely frustrating. Thanks for the step by step. I’m sure this will come in handy.

  2. By Steven Snell posted on November 29, 2007 at 7:42 pm
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    Hi Matthew. It worked very well for me. The only thing I found that it didn’t transfer was the custom excerpts, but that can be re-done if you even use that feature. Much easier than actually dealing with a database manually, in my opinion.

  3. By Mark Freeman posted on November 29, 2007 at 8:28 pm
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    I found this host itshosted.com & they moved my wordpress site for me. Their tech support took care of everything for me. They have one plan for $5.95 ther was no setup fee & it is month to month. You get to host 2 domains per account with several other blog programs pre-setup. So now I can try out some of the other blogs easy.

  4. By HART (1-800-HART) posted on November 30, 2007 at 4:36 am
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    This only works from switching blogs of the same domain among different host providers. I went one step further and not only moved blogs, but renamed them from individual domains to subdomains on a totally new domain. The major issues are that everything exported keeps all the same data of the original blog (image uploads, cross linking in your archives, etc). Keeping that in mind, if doing this step .. seeing what I did might help.

  5. By Steven Snell posted on December 5, 2007 at 11:23 pm
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    True. That’s a more difficult move.

  6. By Robin posted on November 13, 2009 at 8:06 pm
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    This post has everything I need to get going much thanks.

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