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How To Transfer A Website to SiteGround: Made Easy

If you have been looking to change your hosting to something faster, then look no further than Siteground. Here I tell you how to transfer a website to Siteground much more easily than anticipated.

Siteground hosts wordpress websites. Many online advocated their hosting as one of the fastest – a key issue for me. There are certainly other hosting companies that might be faster but their cost is significantly higher than I was already paying. As one of the reasons for switching my hosting was to reduce costs (as well as increase the load time of my sites), they therefore had everything I wanted: reduced fees and much higher loading speeds.

Google uses loading speed as a ranking factor, and as I run an agency, I needed to have some high quality, fast hosting for my wordpress websites. I needed to have faster speed times and I was also looking for a cheaper option – well, who isn’t?

First website moved over for free

My first website was transferred over for free but then I saw that they charged around £24 per site after that. As I have around 20 sites, after doing the calculations, I needed to work out another way to move them.

There was some urgency so initially, those websites that I felt were being affected by rank (by their slow loading time), I had moved over by my developer. But he also needed paying on a per site basis.

For the remainder, I went back to Siteground and found that they had an installer. Fantastic!  Except, I could never get it to work. Long story short, after several months of procrastination and waiting for the Siteground installer to start working (which it never did), I resolved to work out how to transfer the remaining sites myself.

In all, I have transferred 14 sites successfully using this method. I’ve decided to write a blog post about it because each article I found prior to working this method out, seemed to miss a vital piece of information out. I also spent days (literally) hanging onto LiveChat trying to work out what I did wrong. This really is a step by step process to make your life easier. 

My Step By Step Method To Host My Websites On Siteground

So, to begin.

I am assuming that you have moved your first wordpress site over to siteground to make use of their free transfer offer. If you haven’t, skip reading this and go and get them to do it for you 🙂

So to transfer a website to Siteground, here is what you need to do (per site):

Go to the wordpress admin of the website you wish to move (domain.com/wp-admin) and check that everything is up to date. Check ALL of the following:

  • the version of wordpress – needs to be the most up to date,
  • check your theme and that it is up to date
  • check all the plugins.

You will thank me because if there is an issue, it is safer and straightforward to rectify now rather than having a broken theme uploaded to your new siteground hosting.

Remember pHp

I also go to the extend or cpanel of my current hosting and check that the version of pHp that is running suits the website. If you don’t understand what this is or why it is important, I’m afraid I can’t tell you but I do know certain things, it needs to be at least 7.0 or 7.2 is possible (if not more) – as high a figure as possible. Once you update, just refresh the admin page of your website and then view the website too to make sure that it all looks as it should. 

(Note: if you are concerned about this, ask for livechat help with your current hosting company just to check that by upgrading the pHp, you are not doing any harm. They might even upgrade it for you.)

At the top of your admin screen, you will see how many things need to be updated. I had wordpress, plugins and themes to update after I upgraded the version of php from 5.6 to 7.2. Sometimes, it is better to upgrade in stages rather than trying to be clever and do massive upgrades all at once. Many a wordpress site has been wrecked by doing this. Focus on making small steps over a longer period of time with a few cups of coffee to pass the time rather than rushing!

Finally, check that the site looks as it should and then go to plugins in admin (via the Dashboard).

Add All In One Migration Plugin

Go to Add New (plugin) and search for All In One Migration. In the main, just this plugin should be fine. There is a size restriction to the size of file that can be imported so it is wise to take a note of the size of the file that it creates in the next step.

transfer a website to SiteGround

Install and activate All In One Migration. Click Export and then select File. 

A big green button announces when it has exported AND the size of the file. Less than 128mb will be fine with this plugin alone. If your site is big then there is a workaround.

Once downloaded, check that you have a .wpress file. If so, all great. Click close.

Find the SQL Database

Move to your CURRENT hosting. I had an extend panel and within this, I needed to find my SQL database for this website.

Under Manage SQL, there is one database. This is what I need. I make a note of its name and password, just in case, and then I click “Backup” and a copy of it is downloaded on my computer.

If you go to your downloads, you should now have a file with the same name as your database and a .sql suffix, possibly a .sql.txt suffix. Either are fine.

Ready To Move Over To Siteground

Now you are ready to transfer your website to Siteground. So go to your Siteground hosting. You will need the “My Accounts” tab, and click the red button “Go to cpanel”.

In the Domains section, click “Addon Domains”. In the new domain box, add the name of the domain you want to move to Siteground (the one whose database and files you have just exported).

As you add the domain, some of the fields will be populated by the system. Don’t worry too much about these. Do chose a password and keep it safe. Click add domain.

You will then see it listed.

Softaculous in Siteground

Click the red “cpanel” button in the top right corner to return to the main cpanel screen. In the Autoinstallers section, click Softaculous. Click on WordPress and make sure that you are in the blue install page.

Choose http:// first (its easier than transferring https:// as this is a whole other step – keep things simple) and then select the name of the domain you wish to transfer over. Complete the fields below, trying to match the information that you added on your site when you first set it up.

I always use the username and password that I am using to access wp-admin here. Scroll down and click install and wordpress will be added to your domain in siteground.

Feeling prepared to transfer your site to Siteground?

So, now you should have your old site prepped and ready to move. You would also have two files,

  • one a database (sql) file and
  • another which is the backup of your website (.wpress file).

Here in Siteground, you now have a “home” for those files to be moved to and a script (wordpress) to enable the files to be accepted.

All good.

Now, return to cpanel in Siteground via the red ”cp” top right of the page and you will find yourself back in the main screen of cpanel.

Scroll down to “Databases” and you will find “MySQLDatabase Wizard” button. Click on this and you will be asked to create a database. I try and use an abbreviation of the website (that I am transferring) here as this will be part of that website here on Siteground.

Make a note of this. It’s important.

The very next screen will ask you for a username. Again, I add my initials with the abbreviation I have just created for the database name. It will help you later.

Make a note of this too. It’s very important.

Finally, choose a password. And make a note of it! 

Click create user.

You will be taken to the next screen that asks you for privileges. Click “All privileges”.

Click “cpanel Home”.

Avoid “Error Establishing Database”

Scroll back down to MySQLDatabases and scroll down the page to “Add a User to a Database”. You have already done this but what you are doing there is linking your username to the database. For some reason, if this step is not completed, your website will have an “Error establishing database connection” when you transfer it over. Best avoided 😉

So click the user box and select the user name for this website’s database. Ensure that your database for this website is selected and then click Add. Then another Priviliges screen appears, click ‘Make Changes”. A lovely green notice should appear saying you have successfully granted privileges.

So now that there is a place for the database, let’s add it! 

Add your database to Siteground

Click “cpanel Home”. In Databases, you now need phpMyAdmin. This is next to the wizard we used earlier. Click on phpMyAdmin.

On the left, you should have the database name of your website that you want to transfer over. Find it and double click on it. You should see a minus sign in the tiny left hand box.

Then click on Import. In the section called “File to import” you can choose your file. Click this and select the .sql or .sql.txt file of the database that you downloaded earlier. Click go, don’t change anything else on this page. This should work first time. If it doesn’t don’t panic, just ensure that you have selected the database name in the left column and selected the correct file in the Import section. You will receive a “Import has been successfully finished” message.

So now you have your database primed and ready to use.

Link it all up on Siteground

Next, we need to make sure that the correct pathway is being given to WordPress. This is done as follows. 

Go back to cpanel. Scroll down to File Manager. Click on this and check that the reference for your website is loading in the pop up box that appears – (look at Document Root and click on the arrows to locate your site). Once you have found it, click ‘Go’.

The next screen used to scare me until I understood very clearly exactly what I needed to do. 

So here we go.

Ignore the left column with the yellow folders. Look at the blue files listed and find wp-config.php. Click on it to select it and then go to Edit in the middle of the menu above. Again, a pop-up box appears and this should confirm the name of your website with wp-config.php at the end. Click cancel to close the box. If wp-config.php is present for your website, then this is correct and you next select “Edit”

You need the MySQL settings in the middle of the page. 

Referring back to the records of the database, username and password that you made before, add them all here in the correct places within the speech marks. Click save in the top right hand corner (tiny button).

transfer a website to siteground

Close that tab, and the one listing all the files too. 

Changing The NameServers

Now go to your domain provider, where you purchased your domain and go to the Manage area of that domain. You need to find the name servers area. In namecheap (which I use) there is a custom area for nameservers. Into the first two fields, you need to copy and paste the names of the nameservers. They are found on the cpanel page of Siteground, in the box called Account Information on the left hand side of the page.

Click save and note the time. It can take about half an hour for the nameservers to propogate. I go back to the wp-admin part of my site (that I am moving) and refresh the page every few minutes. 

And then suddenly, you have an new wordpress install page. It will take a few moments to upload your site, don’t worry.

Click your language of choice and continue.

Add your Site Title.

Now, for the username and password, I use those that I have always used for this website. So add them here along with the email address that you use for that account. And click Install.

The next screen is login, just click “Log In”. And again, and then you will be in a bare admin section of your website. Don’t panic! 

Back to All In One Migration Plugin

Go to plugins. Add All in One Migration just as before. Click Install now and then activate.

From the left hand men, scroll to All in One Migration and click Import.

Click import from file. Select the .wpress file by either clicking on it or drag it over to the Drop & Drag box. 

Import starts immediately. Click Proceed. Then click on Permalink settings. Then all should be loaded and you have you old website in its brand new location.

Well done. You will have successfully managed to transfer a website to siteground 🙂

Learn:

  • how to move a website to Siteground hosting in small actionable steps
  • learn a skill that you will not have to pay a developer 🙂
transfer a website to siteground

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