If you’re like most people, you’ve probably moved homes at least once in your life. And I bet that you’ll agree with me when I say that it’s a grueling few days, to say the least.
You have to pack everything up, put it in the truck, drive it to your new house, and then reverse the whole process!
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just click a button and have someone handle all of that for you for free?
Well, you can’t quite do that in real life yet (sorry!), but you can do that when it comes time to move your WordPress site to its new home.
All the WordPress migration plugins on this list condense the migration process down to just a few simple clicks. Whether you’re just cloning your site to a new host or you’re changing your domain name, these plugins make the process simple.
And while not all of them are free, none of them are likely to make your wallet scream out in pain.
Important notes (read this before choosing a WordPress migration plugin):
If you run a content heavy site, or an ecommerce site, we recommend that you use an off-site migration/backup tool, rather than a plugin. VaultPress (now part of Jetpack) is a good option because it’s operated by the folks behind WordPress. And it won’t slow down your server because it uses external servers.
And to ensure a smooth migration, keep the following in mind:
- Test the backup file first – try opening the backup file before you get started to ensure it’s not corrupt. It’s rare this will happen but it’s well worth doing.
- Keep the original WordPress install live – you probably won’t need it, but if there are any issues you can prepare a new back up of the site.
- Update your DNS only when the migration is complete – any migration should be done in a way that causes as little down time as possible. This is why we recommend that you keep the original site live, and migrate to the new server by changing the hosts file on your computer to the new server IP address. Once the migration is complete, you can run any additional checks to ensure everything is working as it should & then update DNS (similar to the process described in this post.)
When it comes to migrating your website, or running backups in general – it’s best to err on the side of caution.
The best WordPress migration plugins for your website
Keep reading to check out the best WordPress migration plugins out there. Then, at the end of the post, I’ll break down my plugin picks for a few different scenarios.
Let’s jump straight into the list…
Duplicator is my personal plugin of choice for WordPress migrations because of its flexibility and versatility.
Not only does it handle standard migrations, it can also help you clone your site to a new domain name, set up staging versions of your site, or just back up your site to protect from data loss.
Here’s how Duplicator works:
You create a “Package” based on your current WordPress site. This package contains every element of your existing site, as well as an installer file to help you move all of that data to its new location.
If you’re just backing up your site, all you need to do is keep those files in a safe location. But if you want to migrate your site (which I’m guessing you do!), you just have to upload both files to your new server and follow a simple installation process.
Duplicator automatically sets everything up on your new server. You can even change your domain name and have Duplicator update all of the URLs!
The free version of Duplicator is great for small to medium sites. But if you’ve got a massive site, you may need to purchase the Pro version because it’s set up to handle especially large sites. The Pro version also adds some other handy features like automatic backups.
There’s just one caveat – you’ll need a little technical knowledge. If acronyms like FTP make you tremble in fear – I’d stick with one of the more user-friendly plugins further down this list.
Price: Free with a pro version that unlocks extra features, starting at $59.
2. VaultPress (part of Jetpack)
VaultPress comes straight from Automattic, the company behind WordPress. That’s a major plus in my book because I assume they’re more familiar with WordPress than the average developer!
VaultPress backs up and secures every part of your WordPress site.
And once you have a backup, it’s quite easy to clone your site to a new location with VaultPress’ Restore to a Different Site tool.
All you need to do is enter your FTP details and domain name (if you’re changing domain names), and VaultPress will handle the rest.
The only downside with VaultPress is that it’s a subscription service. BUT, it is part of Jetpack. So that subscription payment will actually get you access to all of the other premium Jetpack features as well.
If you’ve been eyeing up Jetpack already, then VaultPress is a no-brainer. Otherwise, you might want to go with a one-time payment or free solution.
And if you ever get stuck, their support team will be able to help you out.
Price: £8 per month or £85 per year
3. WP Migrate DB
WP Migrate DB isn’t a self-contained migration plugin like Duplicator and BackupBuddy. As you might be able to glean from the name, it’s focused entirely on your WordPress database.
With that being said, if you’ve ever tried to manually migrate a WordPress site, you know that the database is the most frustrating part. Moving your other files is basically a matter of copying and pasting.
Moving the database…that can get tricky, though.
WP Migrate DB simplifies the process by finding and replacing URLs and file paths. This is essential if you’re migrating to a new URL. For example, if you’re migrating a production version of your site to your localhost for testing, you’ll need to update all of the URL paths to match your localhost.
WP Migrate DB does that for you.
If you’re hands-on (or a WordPress developer) and don’t mind copying your other files manually, WP Migrate DB is a good option. If you’re looking for a solution that handles everything for you, turn elsewhere.
Price: Free. Pro version starts at $99.
4. UpdraftPlus Migrator Extension
UpdraftPlus is one of the most popular backup solutions out there. While the free version of the plugin lacks a built-in migration function, UpdraftPlus has a $30 Migrator add-on that adds easy migration/cloning.
It lets you easily swap out URLs and fixes any potential database serialization issues.
Best of all, everything can be done directly from your WordPress dashboard.
If you’re just moving hosts while keeping the same URL, you can probably get away with the free version of UpdraftPlus. Just do a backup and restore to your new server.
But if you need to change URLs or move to a local environment, then you need the paid Migrator add-on.
Price: Base plugin is free. Premium from £54 for 2 sites.
5. All-in-One WP Migration
All-in-One WP Migration is a free plugin with premium extensions that’s focused entirely on migrating your site to a new server or domain name.
It covers moving both your database and your files, which means it handles all aspects of migration.
All-in-One WP Migration employs some nifty tricks to ensure that it works on all hosting providers. First, it exports/imports data in 3 second time chunks, which allows it to bypass any restrictions placed by your host. It does something similar with upload sizes, so even if your host restricts uploads to a certain max, All-in-One WP Migration will still be able to migrate your site.
If you need to change your domain name, All-in-One WP Migration lets you do unlimited find/replace operations on your database and will fix any potential serialization issues to ensure that everything works smoothly.
The free version of the plugin supports moving sites up to 512MB in size. If your site is any larger, you’ll need to go with the unlimited version, which removes the size limit.
They also have extensions which can help migrate your site to cloud storage providers like Dropbox or Google Drive.
Price: Free. Unlimited extension costs $59. Other extensions vary in price.
6. Super Backup & Clone
Super Backup & Clone comes from azzaroco, an Envato Elite author with over 20,000 sales.
Beyond heaps of tools to make backing up your WordPress site easy, Super Backup & Clone also includes a dedicated feature to import any of your backups to a new install.
One nifty feature is that beyond offering regular Multisite to Multisite migrations, Super Backup & Clone also lets you migrate part of a WordPress Multisite install to a single site install.
You can also go in reverse, and migrate multiple single site installs into a single Multisite install.
While those are definitely niche uses, if you ever find yourself needing to blend the lines between Multisite and single site installs, then Super Backup & Clone is for you.
7. WP Clone by WP Academy
WP Clone is a nifty migration plugin with one major differentiating factor:
You don’t have to muck around your FTP program to handle your migration.
Instead, all you need to do is create a fresh WordPress install at the location where you want to clone your WordPress site.
Then, you just need to install the WP Clone plugin on your fresh install and it will handle the migration for you.
That sounds great, right? Unfortunately, there is one major caveat:
The developers fully admit that this process will fail on 10-20% of WordPress installs.
That’s the reason WP Clone isn’t higher on this list. If you’re willing to take the small gamble, WP Clone is one of the easiest ways to migrate your site. Just be sure you have a full backup before starting anything.
Also, if your site is especially large, you should go with a different migration plugin. Smaller sites (under 250MB) are more likely to successfully migrate via WP Clone.
All in all, a 10-20% failure rate isn’t huge. But it’s absolutely something to keep in mind.
Note: This migration plugin hasn’t been updated in sometime so I’d recommend choosing another plugin from this list.
Which WordPress migration plugin should you choose?
Depending on your tech-savviness and exact needs, one of these plugins may suit you more than the others. I’ll try to break down a few different scenarios and which migration plugin you should pick for each.
If you’re confident enough to upload two files via FTP, then my overall top recommendation is Duplicator. Duplicator is the WordPress migration plugin I personally use to migrate all of my sites.
If you’re more concerned with migrating just your database between production and development environments, then WP Migrate DB Pro is the perfect migration plugin for you.
If you don’t feel confident using FTP, then VaultPress or WP Clone will let you migrate without needing an FTP program. Just remember that VaultPress is a small monthly subscription and the caveat that 10-20% of WP Clone migrations end up failing.
If you need to migrate parts of a Multisite install to single site installs (or vice versa), then you should definitely give Super Backup & Clone a look.
And finally, it’s always worth double checking whether you actually need a migration plugin at all! Many WordPress hosts offer free migration services. So if all you’re doing is switching hosts, you definitely should check if they’ll handle it for free.