iThemes Hosting is a simple yet smarter approach to WordPress hosting, using the easy but powerful iThemes Sync dashboard to manage your website.
In this post, we’ll walk through all the steps for how to move your website to iThemes Hosting, including a live demo video tutorial and written instructions.
In this video, Mike Mortimer, support lead for iThemes Hosting, demonstrates how to move your existing website to iThemes Hosting. He walks through each step of the process, including how to use BackupBuddy’s ImportBuddy feature to backup your current site and migrate it to the iThemes Hosting servers.
How to Move Your Website to iThemes Hosting
Before you begin this process, create your iThemes Hosting account. You should also be familiar with how to use SFTP. To perform the migration, you’re going to use BackupBuddy and ImportBuddy to get your site from your original hosting service to iThemes Hosting.
- 1. Create your iThemes Hosting site. Check out this creating your hosting site article from the iThemes Help Desk for more details.
- 2. Install BackupBuddy on your current website using the following instructions.
With the purchase of your iThemes Hosting account, you will be given a copy of BackupBuddy that you can use for backing up your existing site and migrating it to iThemes Hosting. After installing BackupBuddy, generate a complete backup of your site on the old hosting service. (If you already have BackupBuddy installed on your site, you can skip the following instructions.)
Downloading & Installing BackupBuddy
- To download BackupBuddy, log in to the iThemes Sync dashboard and navigate to the Hosting menu item.
- Expand your iThemes Hosting site using the drop-down arrow.
- Under Site Information, you will find BackupBuddy Migration.
- Click the Download Now link to download the current version of BackupBuddy.
- Save the BackupBuddy zip file to your local computer.
- Login to your website’s wp-admin area and navigate to the Plugins > Add New Plugins section. From here, you will select the Upload Plugin option.
- You will then be given the option to upload a new plugin by using a .zip file. Choose the file option and then navigate to the folder where you saved your BackupBuddy zip file from the previous step.
- Once you locate and select that file, you will then choose the Install Now option.
- BackupBuddy will now be installed. Once complete, select the Activate Plugin option. Once activated, you should find BackupBuddy showing in the left-hand panel of your WordPress admin dashboard.
- Navigate to BackupBuddy > Backups and ignore the quick setup wizard. (Since we are only going to be simply generating a backup and then moving the site, we don’t need to go through this step at this time.) Scroll to the bottom of that page and select the Skip Setup Wizard for Now option.
Generate a BackupBuddy Backup File & Download ImportBuddy
- 3. Generate a complete backup of your website on your original host.
Now that BackupBuddy is running on your site, you can generate the backup file that will be used to move your site from the current hosting location to your iThemes Hosting account. Navigate to BackupBuddy > Backups page.
In order to migrate your site, you will need a complete backup of your site. A complete backup includes all the files in your WordPress installation, including the database, all media library files, plugins and theme files. Select the complete backup option and BackupBuddy will begin generating the backup file. Once the process completes, select the Download Backup file option.
- 4. Download the ImportBuddy file.
Once you’ve downloaded and saved your complete backup file, you’ll need to download the ImportBuddy file to import your backup file into your iThemes Hosting account. Select the Restore/Migrate option from BackupBuddy > Restore/Migrate in your WordPress dashboard. From there, select the Download importbuddy.php option.
Enter a password for your importbuddy.php file. (Use any password you want, but make sure that you remember the password that you set.) Download the importbuddy file which you can use to restore your site on iThemes Hosting.
Site Migration with ImportBuddy
- 5. Gather your database information and set the DB password.
Login to the iThemes Sync dashboard to access your iThemes hosting account. Navigate to the Hosting menu and select your hosting site. Set your database password and retrieve the rest of your database information including the database name, database user, and database server. All of this can be found in the same place under the Database Information.
To set your Database password, simply select the Edit DB Password option and enter the password you wish to use. This should be a unique password that is exclusive to the database.
- 6. Upload the backup file and the ImportBuddy file to your iThemes Hosting account using SFTP.
Once you have all of your database information and set the database password, you’ll need to access your iThemes Hosting account via SFTP. (If you have never used SFTP before, you can find instructions for using SFTP here).
Upload the two files that you saved onto your computer: your backup file and importbuddy.php file, to the /web/content.
- 7. Restore the backup using ImportBuddy.
Once the backup file and ImportBuddy completes uploading, you can disconnect from SFTP and open your web browser. Navigate to the temporary site URL which you can do by clicking on it from your iThemes Hosting Sync dashboard.
Once the default WordPress site loads, add /importbuddy.php to the end of that URL. (Do not delete any of the URL that is already there, just add /importbuddy.php to the end of it.)
Load the page and you should see the ImportBuddy screen which will ask for your ImportBuddy password which you set earlier in step 4. (Please don’t confuse this password with the database password. The database password will be used later in this process). Enter your ImportBuddy password and begin the process of restoring the backup to your iThemes Hosting account. You’ll then see the following screen:
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select the Restore Backup option. ImportBuddy will then perform the restore process and then bring you to the screen where you will need to enter your database information gathered at step 5. You will copy all the database information you retrieved into the ImportBuddy fields.
Once you’ve finished setting the parameters, choose the next step. This step will perform the database import. From the next screen, you’ll be able to update the old and new URL through ImportBuddy. By default, ImportBuddy will use the URL that you are connected to for the new URL. Change the URL to match your old site or to the domain you wish to use for your iThemes Hosting account.
Select Next Step and the database migration will complete. You will be presented with the opportunity to “Verify site before proceeding to cleanup,” and this will provide you with the current URL of the site restore so you can test and make sure everything looks correct.
If all looks good, choose your Site Search Engine Visibility (we recommend leaving this as No change) as well as the different ImportBuddy Cleanup options (leave this as the default). If everything is working, go ahead and select the Finish Cleanup option.
Once you finish the cleanup, you’ll come to the restore finished page which will once again provide you with the link to your site. You can follow the link and close the page. At this point, you are going to want to do some extensive testing in order to ensure that everything is working properly and that there are no gremlins hiding anywhere.
Site Cleanup & Final Steps
- 8. Finish old site cleanup.
The last step is to perform some additional clean up of your old site. This is to ensure that all of your iThemes Licenses are being used by the correct accounts. Prior to shutting down your old hosting account, make sure to unlicense all of your iThemes products so that those licenses can be used for your current site. To do this, sign into your wp-admin area on the old hosting provider and navigate to Settings > iThemes Licensing.
From this page, you will first check to ensure that it is showing Licensed Products with a list of the products you are using that are licensed. Under that, you should see the option to enter your iThemes Username and Password which will then allow you to remove the license and free it up to be used on another site.
Once you remove the license, you will want to delete the BackupBuddy plugin from the old site, or you can delete the entire hosting account if you’re ready to do so, and use the license to activate the BackupBuddy plugin on your new iThemes Hosting account.
- 9. Update your DNS to point to iThemes Hosting.
If you’re using the same domain name, this is an important step. Your DNS records will need to be updated to point to the iThemes Hosting server.
We recommend that you take a look at CloudFlare and their offerings (including the free plan). They also provide a number of added benefits such as DDoS protection and caching. You can find detailed information on how to set up your iThemes Hosting site to use CloudFlare for DNS.
- 10. Set your Domain name.
Now that you’ve gone through the migration process, you’ll need to update the domain name for your account from the large gibberish looking URL that’s used to set up the account and test your site.
- 11. Connect your site to Sync.
Now that your site has been migrated and domain has been updated, you’ll want to make sure your site is connected to iThemes Sync to take advantage of all the Sync features.
That’s it! You’ve now successfully oved your site to iThemes Hosting. Have questions or need help? Our iThemes Hosting 24/7 support team is standing by. Open a support ticket now.
More iThemes Hosting Tutorials
Check out the full list of documentation and tutorial articles in the iThemes Hosting Help docs.
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