Migrating your site from one platform to another is a huge task.
To begin with, you need to know the hosting service on which the new site will be deployed so that you can export data from the old server and import it on the new one. This is the most challenging part of the migration process.
However, there’s more to it than just logging in to your control panel and then manually carrying out the task.
To avoid such situations and to ensure that your website continues to run smoothly after migration, you need to be aware of all the possible issues and their solutions.
Here’s a list of some of the most common issues you can face during WordPress migration.
1. phpMyAdmin timing out
The phpMyAdmin tool timing-out is an issue you face while exporting your database to your new host. It occurs because the process is complicated. Your database is first exported to a dump file, transferred, and only then imported into an unfilled database on the new host.
You can solve this issue using WP-CLI and generic SSH commands. If you have WP-CLI preinstalled on all your servers, just type:
EXPORT: wp db export for-transfer.sql
IMPORT: wp db import for-transfer.sql
It will backup your database immediately. But if you don’t have WP-CLI installed, but have access to SSH, type these native commands:
EXPORT: mysqldump -uUSER -pPASSWORD DBName > for-transfer.sql
IMPORT: mysql –uUSER –pPASSWORD DBName < for-transfer.sql
If it fails, request the support team of your old hosting provider to create a backup of your database or request your new host to import the dump file.
2. Configuration issues after migration
After you transfer your database and files, you have to reconfigure your wp-config.php file to change the database settings. The name, user, and password in your new database will have to match with the old one.
After the reconfiguration process, alter your DNS settings for your domain to start opening your blog from the new location. It will open in a few hours.
Make sure to check if everything is working with your site on the new location prior to altering the DNS.
Most probably, your provider has direct URLs that can be used to access your account, though a domain name is not associated with it yet.
For instance, if your host provider is SiteGround, it would be something like: http://siteground123.com/~username/.
Add the following lines of codes to your theme’s functions.php file. It will configure WordPress to perform from the new location:
After you ensure that your site is performing well, alter those lines to your real domain name. Next, load your site from your actual domain name and remove the two lines.
3. Issues with file permissions
While transferring files from one host to another, their permissions are transferred as well. Several hosts let you have files with permissions, such as 777. In UNIX, it implies that everyone can have the file’s full access.
Such kinds of permissions pose security risks. And some hosts will not allow this. Thus, while transferring files, you may face an “Internal Server Error” page.
In such case, if you have SSH access to your server, type this command to change the files’ permissions:
chmod -R 644 /path/to/folder/
Some hosting providers also let you change your files’ permissions via an option in their Administration Panel.
4. Fix thumbnail sizes
While migrating your WordPress, you will want to redesign your theme or use a new one. If you are doing that, look at your featured images. All the new images that you upload after activating the new theme will look good. However, the old thumbnails will appear unattractive and unclear.
When an image is uploaded to WordPress, it creates duplicated images called thumbnails of different sizes. They are then saved in the uploads folder. Your themes define the thumbnail sizes. WordPress uses them to load the best image size when required.
However, the new image sizes are applied only to the images that have been uploaded after you activate the new theme. To fix this issue, you need to regenerate the thumbnails using plugins. The Regenerate Thumbnails plugin can help you achieve this task.
This plugin, however, will not delete the thumbnails created by old themes. You have to delete them manually.
To do that, find the images inside your wp-content/uploads folder and delete the old unused dimensions.
5. Lost files
You don’t want to lose all or some of your essential files in case something goes wrong.
One of the main difficulties faced by front-end developers during WordPress migration is that they are not able to find .php template files, JS files, images, etc. Most of the time, this occurs due to the fact that the ‘lost’ files are saved in unique paths unique to your host.
To avoid this issue, it’s essential to back up your site before you start the migrating process.
Many host providers offer automatic backups. However, if yours don’t provide that feature, you can make an automatic backup yourself or use the available WordPress plugins, such as UpdraftPlus, VaultPress, and BackupBuddy.
To go for a manual backup, create backup files for your website and database. On your host website file manager, navigate to your home folder, and locate the public_html file.
Compress the file to zip, and transfer it to your desired location to store it.
Next, visit phpMyAdmin and export your database. You can then transfer it to the desired location to store it.
You can always take the help of experienced WordPress migration services to see that you don’t face any issues during the migration and ensure website performance and security.
6. Slow download
While backing up your entire website, it usually takes some time for the download to complete depending on your website size. If it takes too long, you can use troubleshooting tips to speed up the process.
Instead of downloading the files to your computer, try downloading them directly to your new host. This process is much faster.
Simply create a compressed archive and download all your files as one big file.
7. Distorted or broken images
After you complete the migration process, sometimes the images will appear distorted or will not be seen in their proper places. They might not provide the right redirection link either. It may occur because the media file has not been correctly uploaded.
In such cases, you should upload all the files from the old server to the new host server again. Next, copy the images that you have previously uploaded. Repeat the process on the same spot.
If it does not solve the issue, navigate to the cPanel of your hosting server and find the SQL tab. You can swap the old and new URLs from there.
8. Website downtime after migration
One of the worst things to happen during the migration is facing significant website downtime.
After you have moved your files to the new web host, sometimes the URLs still lead the visitors to the old host leading to website downtime. The visitors see a 404 error.
The best tip to ensure steady uptime is using an internal address common among hosts.
If you are not in a position to do that, alter the host’s file on your computer. Your website will work only on your computer, and the visitors can use the old host.
To do that, search for the host’s file on your computer. Run it as an administrator in a Notepad. Next, navigate to your new host’s cPanel to locate the Shared IP Address. Include the new line in the host’s file. Then, paste the Shared IP Address and include your domain name.
Use your domain name to check your site at a new host. When the migration process is completed, delete the line from the host’s file.
9. 500 Internal Server Error
This error doesn’t tell you anything, so it is frustrating. However, you can use these tips to troubleshoot the problem.
At times a new host won’t have access to your entire file. In such cases, find the folder permissions and make your files available to the host.
If it does not solve your problem, check your .htaccess file. You can rename your .htaccess file and try reloading your site.
Another tip is to generate a new .htaccess file and try reloading your site.
You can also try deleting the new .htaccess file and restoring the old one. To do that, navigate to your PHP settings and boost the memory limit.
Next, deactivate all your plugins and troubleshoot each plugin one at a time. Find out which of them is the problem. In case your website loads once you have removed plugins, you can reinstall it.
10. Error Establishing a Database Connection
If you face trouble establishing a database connection, make sure to check your wp-config.php file first. There could be a typo in the database name or database username. It will deter your website from linking to the database.
If that is not the issue, navigate to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin. Your error page might show your site has to be repaired.
Fix this error by opening the wp-admin.php and enter the string:
Visit www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/maint/repair.php to solve the issue in your database. Once done, cancel the string that you entered from wp-admin.php.
You can take the help of the support team if nothing works.
11. Activity loss
The biggest menace, so to say, is to transfer your content manually. If you’ve got a busy site with a lot of members, activity loss is definitely a grave concern. “Activity” means comments, uploads, and all your other stats – bulk migration makes you lose all of it.
To prevent activity loss, you will have to reduce the propagation time.
On the old host, work with the DNS Zone to direct each record to the new one.
That’s a Wrap!
As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.” While these are highly trivial but still worth attention, there are still possible pitfalls when dealing with WordPress migrations. It’s important to consider all these issues mentioned above thoroughly before migrating your site and even making a decision on your WordPress hosting platform.