Migrating WordPress Blog to New Hosting Provider Part 1 – Backing Up

I had to move three of my hosted wordpress blogs from my current hosting provider (Dreamhost) to a new hosting provider (Hostmonster). This is a large task for anyone who is thinking about changing hosting providers and porting over your wordpress blog. You have to remember to backup all the physical files (themes, plugins, images, uploads…) and export your wordpress SQL database to bring it over to your new hosting company.

Here are steps on how you can do a full backup of your existing WordPress blog so you have everything you need to bring it to the new hosting provider:

Step 1 – SQL Database Backup

You can’t rely on the WordPress XMR/XML “Export” inside the wp-admin, I have tried and it trips up and only takes a handful of posts because special characters used in posts, titles and such can break the XML data file so that it won’t truly grab all of your posts on the import. The only true way to backup your wordpress database is to backup the SQL database manually. It his highly recommended you do this by leveraging the “MyPHPAdmin” that your hosting provider has, almost all of them use this application to allow you access to your SQL Database.

You would log into your MyPHPAdmin and select your WordPress Database, then click the Export Option and make sure all of your tables are selected.

Then check mark “Save as File” and export your database.

This will create a .sql file that you can use to import into your new hosting provider, if you want to use compression go ahead and check mark “zip” output file so that you can have a compressed file.


This SQL file now contains all of your comments, admins, posts, tracebacks and any extra tables created by the plugins you installed for wordpress. Note: You should create no new content on your blog at this point, if you do you will need to create another SQL dump to include the latest posts/comments…etc.

Step 2 – Backup your WordPress Files

This step requires that you have either a file manager program in your existing hosting provider (if you have a hosting provider that provides CPanel you can use “Unlimited FTP” or another FTP type client they offer). Or else if you have ftp access to your website (and you can always try directly) download the WinSCP client and try connecting to “www.

You will want to backup the following files and all sub-directories:

  • wp-content/uploads (all subdirs, or you will lose your images, and media you insert into posts)
  • wp-content/themes/ (you only need to select the specific themes you want to keep under here)
  • wp-content/plugins/ (you will want to backup all active plug-ins because your SQL database includes the tables for them already)
  • (any other custom folders) this may include a /images or any other folders you may have manually created on your web server.

These files will need to be stored and transferred into the exact same file structure on your new hosting provider.


The above 2 steps should ensure that you have everything you need to port over your existing WordPress Blog to a new hosting provider. The next part of this installment will cover how to setup the wordpress blog on the new hosting provider and import all of your data.

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