How To Use Duplicator WordPress Plugin to Migrate WordPress Hosting: DIY Guide

Migrate WordPress Hosting
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Earlier I have shared a guide on moving WordPress site manually and it was one of the most read tutorials of ShoutMeLoud. Today, I’m extending the series by adding an alternative way to migrate WordPress site to new server and this time; it will be easier than the last time.

I have tried and tested this method on few of my sites, and migration happened within few minutes and with no problem.

In this guide, I will take help of a free WordPress plugin call Duplicator, which let you migrate WordPress site in few easy steps. You can use this plugin to:

  • Migrate WordPress site from one server to another
  • Migrate locally developer WordPress to live server
  • Clone live server WordPress site on your local desktop server

For this tutorial, I will take example of moving the site from one live server to another.

It was unplanned move, as for long I wanted to move away from HostGator and wanted to try SiteGround hosting. Since Siteground is a non-EIG hosting and I heard only ravishing thing about them in recent time. Today, I got an email from HostGator regarding payment due, and I decided to move my site from HostGator to SiteGround. So I purchased their 2-year hosting of the GrowBig plan and started with the migration.

In this tutorial, I have mentioned all the steps to migrate the site and few challenges which I faced. Using WordPress Duplicator plugin is easy, but I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, as a little bit of technical expertise is required to use this plugin. Rest, read the tutorial and you can decide yourself if you want to do the WordPress hosting migration yourself or need professional help.

How to prepare for migrating WordPress site to a new hosting Server?

If you have read the basic guide to move WordPress, you would know that there are a few basic steps required:

  • Move files (WP-content folder, WP-config, .htaccess, robots.txt) from old server to new server
  • Move Database from old server to new server
  • Change nameserver of the domain from old server to new server

These are the only steps which are required to get things done, and you can either do it manually, or you can take advantage of a free plugin like WP Duplicator.

WP Duplicator plugin creates an archive of your existing WordPress files and Database, and on the new server, it let you quickly unpack and install everything. Now, since you are clear about the steps, let me walk you through the step by step guide below.

Prepare the existing WordPress site for migration:

Login to your WordPress dashboard, install and activate Duplicator plugin. The very first step is to create a package which contains all the essential files that is required on the new server.

Click on Duplicator > Packages > Create new package:

Create WordPress Duplicator Package
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You can click on Archive and deselect certain tables from Database, or any directory to be included in the archive. What I recommend you is; before creating the Duplicator package, delete all cache files from your cache plugin and also optimize your WordPress database (Take help of this guide).

Rest, click on Next and Duplicator plugin will scan your WordPress site and will show you stuff like:

  • Extra-large files (Tip: You can use Duplicator plugin to large files in your WordPress media directory)
  • Any other warnings

If you see any error, fix it and click on rerun scan to let Duplicator plugin scan your site again. From my experience, I ended up deleting a few extra-large files which I have added two years back, and that reduced the overall size of my package. (See the below screenshot for my scan result)

Duplicator plugin scan results
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Click on Build and Duplicator plugin will create a package which contains an installer file and an archive file. Depending on the size of your WordPress site, it may take a few seconds to minutes.

Duplicator plugin package created
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You need to download both Installer and Archive file, and these are the only files which you need to move to new server. Once you are done downloading both the file, let’s move to the new server where we will be doing few things to complete our WordPress server migration.

Preparing new Hosting Server for Migration:

One good thing about Duplicator plugin is; you need not install WordPress on the new server. This plugin will do everything & you just need to create a new database and user.

In this scenario, I’m keeping the same domain name and just changing my hosting server.

You can use the same step (Just change the domain name) to change hosting and your WordPress site domain name.

On your new hosting server you need to do the following things:

  • Create a Database, Add a user to the database with full privilege. Note down the database name, Database user and password locally. We will need it in the next step. If your new server is typical cPanel hosting, you can read this guide to learn to create the database manually.
  • Upload both installer and Archive file (.zip format): Access your new hosting server via FTP and upload the installer and archive file at the root location of your domain on the new server.

Once you are done with this, you need to open your new server I.P. with installer.php at the end. What I did here is, I edited my local computer hosts file to map the domain name to new I.P, this made working easier. If you are on Mac System, you can read this guide to edit the hosts file, and Windows users can use this guide.

In this case, I simply accessed, and this is what my screen looked like:

migrate using Duplicator plugin
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The important thing here is:

You need to add your new database details and click on Test connection to see if everything is working fine or not. In a majority of the cases, your host would be localhost and rest database detail will be from the database you just created on the new server.

Click on next, and you will see a screen like this:

WordPress duplicator final URL
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In the above screen, I just changed the URL field. As this plugin was picking up the temporary URL, so I changed it to the domain name (, and that’s it! Click on next, and if you are done everything right way, your existing WordPress site is migrated to a new server.

Duplicator plugin success
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You should also keep your FTP login handy to check if everything is at proper place or not. If for any reason, this step failed to migrate the site, you can repeat the process on the new server and make it work. (Since I was doing it for the first time, it took me two attempts to make the successful migration).

Once you are satisfied, update your domain name server to point to your new hosting server. When you will login to your new server WordPress dashboard, Duplicator plugin will also ask you to remove all existing dump files which we used to migrate WordPress site from old hosting to new hosting.

remove installer file
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Additionally, you should check your FTP and if you notice any dump file, get rid of it. While performing this migration, I got few errors and here is how I fixed them:

Error connecting database:

  • In the first attempt somehow my database was not uploaded and I had to repeat the process to fix it. If you get this error, you might like to check if tables are added into the new database and if WP-config.php file has correct database credential or not. You can repeat the process from beginning to fix this.
  • ionCube Encoder for PHP 5: This is the most common error which you might face when changing the WordPress server. I simply disabled the plugin for time-being to move ahead with the process. You can ask your new hosting company or plugin developer for the solution.

Here is a video tutorial for using the Duplicator plugin:

Conclusion: Duplicator plugin makes it easy to migrate WordPress

After using the Duplicator plugin, I’m quite impressed with it, as it’s free and make the migration process easy. Your experience may differ depending on the size of your database and WordPress files, but overall as a free option, this solves migrate WordPress Website to the new server.

I haven’t yet tried the same process to move a live server to a local server or vice versa, but you can try the same as the process is easy and recommended by many professional of WordPress field.

Let me know how’s your experience with Duplicator WordPress plugin, and if you would like to suggest an alternative way for migrating the site from one server to another?

Don’t forget to share this guide to others on your social networking site.

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

16 thoughts on “How To Use Duplicator WordPress Plugin to Migrate WordPress Hosting: DIY Guide”

  1. Mahendra

    Thanks for the article, i just migrated my site to a new server, without any error. The best thing is, i generally tried to avoid site migration earlier because i was scared of any error or blunder but today i finally tried and successfully migrated it to a new server.

  2. Suraj

    Hi Harsh,

    Thanks for the article, i just migrated my site to a new server, without any error. The best thing is, i generally tried to avoid site migration earlier because i was scared of any error or blunder but today i finally tried and successfully migrated it to a new server.

  3. Harsh Sultania

    Hi Harsh,

    I have a downloaded version of the wordpress dashboard from my developer. It was handed over to us almost 40 days back. Now i am actually looking for a guidance to setup this downloaded version on my host. I am getting some errors & failure messages with the same. Is there a way i can connect with you & discuss on the same.

    My developer failed to deliver the website on time & missed 5 deadlines. Post we had to go ahead with another agency, so the previous one handed over the incomplete work in progress downloaded version of wordpress database & removed the same from his host. Now since then i have been trying to figure out a solution on the same.

    Would really appreciate if you can help with some guidance on the same.

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      Do you mean you have the package with you or something else??

      1. Harsh Sultania

        My developer sent me a zip file of the database of the work he was doing. He mentioned few steps related to duplicator plugin to install the zip file to the current host. I am a total blank. Tried some other agencies too but they too dont seem to have much idea of how to do this.

  4. Pratham Shekhari

    Nice article keep up the good work.

  5. Raj

    Great Step by Step Article about migrating a wordpress site to another hosting provider ,works out cool

  6. Todd

    This guide is great. thank you.

    One question. Can you install this on the new server with out the domain being pointed? We want to move a site from one host to another but want to make sure it is set up on the new server before we point the domain.

    Do I have to do anything different?

  7. Surendar

    Thanks Harsh, this is very useful plugin and well explained in your way. Thanks for sharing this guide.

  8. Chandrakant

    Hi Harsh,
    Thanks for sharing this method to move wp site. I used it very and really its very simple to move wp site. I used it to move site from shared hosting package to other server.

    I would lkke to share that, if we have to move from 1 vps (virtual private server) or dedicated server to other vps or dedicated server its very simple 1-2 click to move each and every thing from pne place to other. Only required things are you should have root or SSH access of the source server and both server having cPanel/WHM installed. In whm there is a utility cp move by using that we have to enter the ip address or domain name and click on move or copy. It will backup your complete site data, db and emails etc. this is very commonly used method used by sstem admins or dc technitians. After migration just change the ns in domain cp thats it.
    Your same website on new server is ready without any data loss.

  9. Istiak Rayhan

    Duplicator seems like an awesome plugin. Few months back, I moved my WordPress blog from HostGator to Bluehost using ManageWP. I found ManageWP very useful for migrating WordPress site. The only downside is that it requires premium plan for downloading the backup.

    Next time I’ll use Duplicator plugin. Thanks for sharing this guide.

  10. Rahul Sadarangani

    Hey Harsh,

    Thanks for such a great tutorial but the above plugin does not work if you are migrating to a cloud hosting as when I tried transferring my Client Aide it was unsuccessful but Backupbuddy Work perfectly to migrate.

  11. Cathy

    Thanks Harsh, this is gem of an article. It was a bit tiresome and manual exercise to move my website from local server to the web-server, this tool will definitely make my life a lot easier.

  12. Tanmoy Das

    A few months ago I migrated my blog from Bluehost to Inmotion host and believe me it was really tough job for me. But after reading this article it seems that there is a easier way to migrate. Thanks for this guide. If next time i need to migrate I will try this.

  13. VickyG

    If you have to change ‘table prefix’ during migration, you should remember to avoid having capital letters in it.

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