Listen audio version
Need to migrate your WordPress site to a new host or domain name? WordPress migration plugins make the process a lot simpler and can save you a lot of time.
Instead of needing to manually migrate your site’s files and database, you can use a plugin so that you just need to upload a file or two. Or, with some plugins, you can even move your site just by entering the server details at your new host, which is especially effective for large sites.
In this post, I’ll share six of the best WordPress migration plugins, most of which are free to use.
In choosing a WordPress migration plugin, one important thing to keep in mind is the size of your site. For small sites (~under 500 MB), virtually any plugin will work. However, some plugins are better than others at moving large sites. As I describe each plugin, I’ll explain how they work and whether they do a good job of moving large sites.
Let’s get started…
Six Best WordPress Migration Plugins
1. Migrate Guru
Migrate Guru has a very unique approach to WordPress migration, which makes it an especially good option for moving large WordPress sites.
Most of the other plugins work by exporting your site to one or two files and then having you upload those files to your new server. Migrate Guru doesn’t do that. Instead, all you need to do is install the plugin on the site that you want to migrate and enter the credentials at your new server. Migrate Guru has built-in integrations with many popular WordPress hosts, but there’s also a catch-all FTP option that will work with any host.
Once Migrate Guru verifies the connection with your new host, Migrate Guru’s servers will handle the work of moving all of your site’s files to the new destination. You never need to manually upload any files.
You can also have Migrate Guru run a search/replace on your database, which lets you also change domain names as part of the migration process.
Because there’s no manual uploading of files, you can avoid the problems that a lot of people encounter when trying to move large sites. Migrate Guru claims to work for sites up to 200 GB in size, though I’ve never tested a site that large.
Overall, if you want something that won’t get overloaded by a large site, Migrate Guru is definitely one of the best options.
All-in-One WP Migration is the most popular WordPress migration plugin at WordPress.org, where it’s been downloaded over 44 million times. You can use it for migration, cloning, backups, and more.
The plugin works by letting you export your existing WordPress site as a single file. You can either download the file to your local computer. Or, the plugin also includes paid integrations with a number of cloud storage locations including Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and many more.
There’s also an FTP option that lets you copy the file to any server via FTP, which lets you move it directly to your destination server:
Once you’ve exported your existing site, all you need to do is create a fresh install at your destination and install the plugin again. Then, you can import the single file that is your site and you’ll have migrated everything.
You can also run a find/replace on your database as part of the migration process, which is helpful if you’re changing domain names.
The core All-in-One WP Migration is available for free at WordPress.org. However, the free version only lets you move sites by downloading the file to your local computer and then uploading it to the new site. This approach is fine for smaller sites, but you’ll often run into issues trying to move large sites this way because the upload might fail.
For that reason, you’ll probably want to purchase one of the premium integrations for large sites. For example, you could export your site to Google Drive and then import it directly from Google Drive, which eliminates the need to download/upload files yourself.
These premium add-ons vary in price from $29-$99, depending on the storage location.
After All-in-One WP Migration, Duplicator is the next most popular WordPress migration plugin at WordPress.org.
It uses a similar approach to All-in-One WP Migration. You install the plugin on your existing site and it lets you export your entire site as two files (called a “Package”). Then, all you need to do is upload those files to your new server and the migrate wizard handles the rest (you don’t even need to install WordPress at your new location).
As part of the migration process, you can also run a find/replace on your database, which helps you change domain names.
One thing to keep in mind with Duplicator is that the free version is only a good option for small-to-medium WordPress sites. If you have a large WordPress site, you’ll want to purchase the premium version as it offers better support for large sites (or you might want to consider using Migrate Guru instead).
With Duplicator Pro, you can also export your site to cloud storage locations or FTP, which is also useful for moving large sites.
Duplicator is available for free at WordPress.org. If you need the premium version, that will cost you $69.
I also wrote a tutorial on how to migrate WordPress using Duplicator that you can follow.
4. Your Host’s Migration Plugin
Lately, there’s been a trend of popular WordPress hosts offering their own dedicated migration plugins to simplify the process of moving to their platform. If you are moving to a host that offers such a plugin, using the dedicated plugin typically offers the simplest process because it’s tailor-made to that host.
Here are some popular WordPress hosts that offer their own migration plugins:
- Bluehost – use the Bluehost Site Migrator plugin.
- Cloudways – use the Cloudways WordPress Migrator plugin.
- SiteGround – use the SiteGround Migrator plugin.
- WP Engine – use the WP Engine Automated Migration plugin.
- Flywheel – use the Flywheel Migrations plugin.
- DreamHost – use the DreamHost Automated Migration plugin.
- Liquid Web/Nexcess – use the Migrate To Liquid Web & Nexcess plugin.
- Pantheon – use the Pantheon Migrations plugin.
- Pressable – use the Pressable Automated Migration plugin.
If you’re moving to a different host, you also might want to check if that host offers a dedicated migration plugin as a lot of hosts do now.
WP Migrate DB is a unique option on this list in that it’s not a full WordPress migration plugin with the free version. Instead, as the name suggests, the free version is only focused on moving one part of your site – the database.
However, the database is the most complicated part of moving a WordPress site, so this is still a very useful tool to have. With your site’s files, literally all you need to do is move them to the new server. You can’t just copy your database, though, because you might run into database serialization issues.
When you use WP Migrate DB, though, it handles all those issues for you to make migrating your WordPress site’s database as simple as clicking a button.
If you’re willing to upgrade to the premium version, WP Migrate DB will also let you move all your site’s files, which makes it more of a complete migration plugin.
It also lets you push/pull your database between different locations. This feature is especially useful if you want to create a WordPress staging site, rather than migrating your production site.
Overall, WP Migrate DB markets itself more towards WordPress developers, but casual users can benefit from it too.
The basic version is available for free at WordPress.org – just remember that the free version only works for your site’s database. If you want the premium version, WP Migrate DB Pro starts at just $49.
UpdraftPlus is a popular free WordPress backup plugin. The free version is one of the best options out there for backing up your site. But with the premium version, you can also use UpdraftPlus to migrate your site to a new location.
Essentially, you’ll create a “backup” of your existing site and import that backup to a fresh WordPress install at your destination. Then, the UpdraftPlus Migrator component will help you change your database if needed during the migration process.
Other than that, it works just like restoring your site from a backup.
UpdraftPlus is available for free at WordPress.org. However, to access the migration component, you’ll need to purchase UpdraftPlus Premium, which starts at $70.
Which Is the Best WordPress Migration Plugin For You?
To finish things out, here are my thoughts on which plugin you should choose.
First off, for a small site, pretty much any plugin will get the job done. All-in-One WP Migration and Duplicator are probably the simplest options because all you need to do is export your site and then upload those files to your new destination. Migrate Guru is also quite simple, though some people might find entering the FTP credentials a little complicated.
For large sites, Migrate Guru is definitely the best free option. All the other plugins require you to purchase a premium version to effectively move a large site.
Finally, remember that your new host also might offer its own dedicated migration plugin. In that case, the simplest option is usually to use that dedicated plugin.
Still have any questions about choosing a WordPress migration plugin? Ask in the comments!
Subscribe on YouTube