Mistakes to Avoid During WordPress Migration: A Comprehensive Guide

WordPress is an outstanding website development platform offering a wealth of benefits like customizability, a wide range of themes and plugins, scalability, and more. That’s why web development services recommend WordPress migration for anyone looking for outstanding results on their website.

WordPress migration can be tricky, with many potential issues that might disrupt your website’s design and functionality. To make the transition successful, it’s important to consider the common mistakes to avoid during WordPress migration. These mistakes can be with respect to the website backups, themes and plugins, permalinks, or something else.

In this blog, I have listed some common mistakes associated with WordPress migration and how you can avoid them. I have also shown how you can prepare for the migration and perform this process.

Let’s begin with why you should migrate to WordPress.

What are the Reasons for WordPress Migration?

Creating and launching a website on WordPress has some outstanding benefits, like ease of use, flexibility, scalability, security, SEO-friendliness, and much more. But what if you have already created your website on another platform? Why should you then opt for WordPress migration?

  • Outdated design: WordPress offers a wide range of themes, both free and premium, that can help you create a modern and professional-looking website. Even if you don’t have any coding experience, you can easily customize a WordPress theme (through a child theme) to match your brand and style.
  • Limited features: WordPress is a highly extensible platform, thanks to the thousands of plugins available. Plugins can help add new features and functionalities to your website, such as e-commerce capabilities, contact forms, social media integration, and more. If you need a feature that WordPress doesn’t have built-in, there’s a good chance there’s a plugin for it.
  • Poor performance: WordPress is a very scalable platform, meaning that it can handle websites of all sizes, from small blogs to small and large enterprise websites. If your current platform is struggling to keep up with your website’s traffic, WordPress is a good option to consider.
  • Inflexibility: WordPress is a very flexible platform, giving you a lot of control over the design and functionality of your website. If you need a platform that can accommodate your unique needs, WordPress is a good choice.
  • Lack of support: WordPress has a massive, active community of users and developers, which means that there’s a lot of support available if you need help. You can find support in the WordPress forums, on WordPress-related websites, and from WordPress developers.
  • SEO optimization: WordPress is a very SEO-friendly platform. There are a number of features and settings built into WordPress that can help you optimize your website for search engines. Working with well-defined WordPress SEO checklist can help you get better results with SERP rankings. There are also a number of SEO plugins (like Rank Math and Yoast SEO) available for WordPress that can help you further improve your website’s SEO.

Plus, WordPress offers smooth integration with third-party services like social media, email marketing, and e-commerce without any hassle. However, people often commit some common mistakes that should be avoided during WordPress migration.

That’s what we’ll see in the next section.

Common Mistakes to Avoid During WordPress Migration

WordPress migration, by itself, is somewhat of a complex process. But if you add mistakes to that mix, there will be some critical issues. So, you need to avoid the following mistakes to ensure a smooth and successful migration.

  • Not backing up your website. This is perhaps the most important mistake to avoid. Before you start the migration process, make sure to backup WordPress website entirely or all essential data. If something goes wrong, you’ll have a backup to restore your website.
  • Not testing your migrated website. Once you’ve migrated your website, it’s important to test it thoroughly to make sure that everything is working properly. That includes checking all of your links, images, and forms.
  • Not updating your DNS settings. Once your website has been migrated to the new server, you need to update your DNS settings so that your website points to the new server. That can take up to 48 hours to propagate, so be patient.
  • Not using a migration plugin. A migration plugin can automate many of the steps involved in the migration process, making it less time-consuming and error-prone. There are a number of different WordPress migration plugins available, such as Duplicator, All-in-One WP Migration, and Migrate Guru.
  • Not setting up redirects properly. If you have changed the URLs of any of your pages or posts during the migration, you need to set up redirects so that visitors to the old URLs are automatically redirected to the new URLs. That will help resolve 404 error (if any) and preserve your SEO rankings.
  • Not checking database compatibility. Before you migrate your database, make sure that the new server is running a compatible version of MySQL. If it is not, you may need to upgrade or downgrade the version of MySQL on the new server.
  • Not checking plugin compatibility. Make sure that all of the plugins that you are using on your site are compatible with the new version of WordPress that you are migrating to. If a plugin is not compatible, you may need to disable or uninstall it before migrating your website.

Plus, file permissions, image optimization, and updating URLs must be done correctly. For example, if URLs aren’t updated after migration, broken links, and decreased search engine visibility can occur.

If you’re not comfortable migrating your website yourself, you can always hire professionfal WordPress migration services. It’s a good option if you have a complex website or if you don’t have the time to migrate it yourself.

But if you want to go through with it yourself, let’s dive into the WordPress migration process.

How to Prepare for WordPress Migration

To ensure a smooth WordPress migration and avoid common mistakes, prepare yourself by backing up your website, assessing plugins and themes compatibility, and selecting a new hosting provider.

Backup Your Website

Backing up your website is crucial for WordPress migration. It ensures the safety of your data and prevents potential loss or damage. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Note essential files and databases. It could be theme files, plugins, images, and custom code/configurations.
  2. Select a reliable backup method. Use a plugin or manually create backups with FTP/cPanel.
  3. Schedule regular backups. That minimizes the risk of data loss if something goes wrong during the migration.
  4. Store backups securely. Consider external hard drives, cloud storage, or offline physical storage options.
  5. Test backups by restoring them in a separate testing environment. Verify backup integrity periodically.

Taking a backup of your website ensures your data, as well as your visitors’ and customers’, is going to be safe during the WordPress migration process. So make sure you do the due diligence and perform the backup carefully.

Assess Plugins and Theme Compatibility

You have to ensure the best design and functionality of your website by assessing the compatibility with themes and plugins. It guarantees functioning well and stops any troubles or errors that can happen during or after the migration.

You can form a table to evaluate compatibility. Write down every plugin and theme installed on your current WordPress site. Include the name, version number, and whether it’s compatible with the latest WordPress version in each row. Utilize real data for an exact assessment.

There are extra details when assessing compatibility. See if there are any issues or clashes stated by other users for certain plugins or themes. Look for updates and support from the developers to ensure compatibility with WordPress updates.

Select a New Hosting Provider

At this point in the process, you have to select the best WordPress hosting provider. Consider performance, reliability, security, and customer support. Aim for a provider that can handle your site’s unique needs and facilitate a smooth transition. Below are key factors in picking a new hosting provider:

  1. Reputation: Look for providers with a solid record of good service and customer satisfaction. Check reviews from trustworthy sources.
  2. Performance: Check if they offer fast loading times and high uptime guarantees. Slow sites can hurt user experience and SEO rankings.
  3. Scalability: Ensure that the hosting provider can manage your website’s growth. Check if they have upgradable resources.
  4. Security: Protect your site from cyber threats. Look for providers with security features such as SSL certificates, firewalls, malware scanning, and backups.
  5. Technical Support: Reliable technical support is a must when issues occur. Check if they provide 24/7 support through various channels.
  6. Price: Evaluate different pricing structures offered by providers. Compare the features of each plan to get the best value.

Take these factors into account while selecting a new WordPress hosting provider to ensure a smooth transition and optimal performance in the long run.

How to Execute the Migration Process?

To seamlessly execute the migration process for WordPress, tackle the challenges of exporting and importing databases and transferring files and media. These subsections provide the solutions you need to navigate through the technical aspects of the migration process with confidence.

Execute and Import Database

To export data using your DBMS’s export function, such as SQL’s ‘EXPORT’ command, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open your DBMS and navigate to the export function.

Step 2: Select the data you want to export, such as specific tables or the entire database.

Step 3: Choose the export format, such as CSV, SQL, or XML.

Step 4: Specify the location where you want to save the exported database.

Step 5: Click on the export button to initiate the export process.

Next, you need to import the exported database by using the corresponding import function, i.e., SQL’s ‘IMPORT’ command:

Step 1: Open your DBMS and navigate to the import function.

Step 2: Select the import file or specify the location of the exported database.

Step 3: Choose the import options, such as whether to create new tables or replace existing data.

Step 4: Click on the import button to initiate the import process.

After importing, compare the two databases (i.e., the before and after) to verify and ensure all data has been transferred per the migration process.

As I mentioned earlier, make sure you back up your existing database before importing and exporting it for the migration process. That ensures that you have a copy of your data in case anything goes wrong.

You should also cleanse the data before exporting to avoid errors or duplicates. Review your data for inconsistencies, missing values, or any other issues that may affect the import process.

Additionally, optimize performance by reviewing indexes and query performance in the new database. That will help maintain data integrity and efficiency in the imported database.

Transfer Files and Media

There are two ways to transfer the files and media for WordPress migration. 

First, you can install a WordPress plugin like Duplicator and All-in-One WP Migration. These plugins help automate the process of transferring the files and media of your website. All you need to do is follow the instructions provided by the plugin, and the transfer process will be completed.

Second, you can perform the file transfer manually. Although this method is more time-confusing and error-prone, you can be more comprehensive about it. Let’s see how you do it:

Step 1: Download all of the files from your WordPress website. It includes the wp-content folder in the WordPress file and directory structure, which contains all of your media files.

Step 2: Upload the files to your new hosting provider.

Step 3: Import your database into the new hosting provider. You can do this using a database management tool such as phpMyAdmin.

Step 4: Update your website’s DNS settings so that it points to the new hosting provider.

Once you have transferred the files and media to your new hosting provider, it is important to test your website thoroughly to make sure that everything is working properly. That includes checking all of your links, images, and forms.

If you are not comfortable transferring the files and media for WordPress migration yourself, you can always hire professional WordPress experts to do it for you.

What are the Post Migration Steps?

At this point of the process, you need to look for the common mistakes to avoid during the WordPress migration. You need to see if there has been a smooth transition after the migration. Test and verify website functionality, update domain name and DNS settings, and resolve common issues and errors.

Test and Verify Website Functionality

To guarantee a flawless user experience, all features, links, forms, and databases need to be checked.

  1. Check links: Internal and external links must be directed to the right pages with no errors or broken links.
  2. Forms: Contact forms and sign-up forms must be tested to ensure data is submitted and received accurately.
  3. Responsive Design: Test the website on different devices and screen resolutions to make sure it adapts well.
  4. Cross-Browser Compatibility: Test the website on various browsers for consistent performance and appearance.
  5. Performance Testing: Measure page load speed using tools like PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix. Optimize images and scripts for faster loading.

Plus, check any unique features like shopping carts or login systems. Make sure these work properly. This part of the process is crucial for protecting your online presence.

Update Domain Name and DNS Settings

This step ensures your website is accessible with the new domain and all the required alterations to DNS configuration are done. Here’s how you proceed.

Step 1: Log into your domain registrar account. That is where you get or manage your domain.

Step 2: Search for an option like “DNS Management” or “Domain Settings”. That is where you’ll make changes to DNS records.

Step 3: Locate the section to alter name servers associated with your domain. Enter the new nameserver info from your web hosting provider.

Step 4: Find the area to modify DNS records like A, CNAME, MX, or TXT. Update these records based on instructions from your web hosting provider or any other services you’re using.

Step 5: Save the changes and give it time to propagate across the internet. Use online tools or commands like nslookup to check if the changes have taken effect.

Remember that propagation of DNS can take a few minutes to 48 hours, depending on factors like TTL (Time To Live) settings & caching by internet service providers.

Here’s a Pro Tip. Reduce the TTL value of DNS records before making changes to potentially ensure a lower downtime during DNS propagation. That will help speed up the propagation process & reduce inconsistencies across different networks.

Resolve Common Issues and Errors

Dealing with obstacles during migration is essential for a smooth transition. From config issues to compatibility hiccups, fixing them quickly and efficiently can save time and resources. Here’s what you should do:

  • Find the root cause of the issue
  • Examine logs and error messages
  • Stay updated with the latest patches and updates to address the known problems and improve performance
  • Configure security settings properly to avoid vulnerabilities

Fixing common issues and errors takes diligence, experience, and patience. Proactive measures, such as keeping up with updates and having effective communication with support communities, will make it easier to overcome any post-migration issues.

If you would like to steer clear of any issues after the WordPress migration, an excellent option would be to opt for our WordPress website maintenance services. Our experts will ensure your website doesn’t encounter any issues and fix the ones that do occur (in little to no time) after the migration.

FAQs on Common Mistakes to Avoid During WordPress Migration

Why is it important to ensure compatibility with the new hosting environment?
Ensuring compatibility with the new hosting environment is crucial because different hosting providers may have different server configurations and requirements. Neglecting compatibility can lead to issues such as website downtime or functionality problems.
How can data loss be avoided during WordPress migration?
To avoid data loss, it is important to perform a thorough backup of the website, including the database. Additionally, it is essential to double-check all migration settings and ensure a successful transfer of all files and content to the new hosting environment.
What can I do if I encounter errors or issues during WordPress migration?
If you encounter errors or issues during migration, the first step is to stay calm and not panic. Double-check the migration steps and settings for any mistakes. If the problem persists, reaching out to your hosting provider or seeking assistance from a WordPress expert can help resolve the issues.

To Conclude

Migrating a website to WordPress can be a complex process. There are several common mistakes to avoid during WordPress migration. These include:

  • Not backing up your website
  • Not testing your migrated website
  • Not updating your DNS settings
  • Not using a migration plugin.
  • Not setting up redirects properly
  • Not checking database compatibility
  • Not checking plugin compatibility

But you can avoid them if you follow the migration process and tips I have mentioned in this blog. Still, if you encounter any issues or have any queries about WordPress migration, have a chat with our experts today!

Mehul Patel is a seasoned IT Engineer with expertise as a WordPress Developer. With a strong background in Core PHP and WordPress, he has excelled in website development, theme customization, and plugin development.

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