Changing Web Hosting for WordPress: Step-by-Step Guide

Easily switch your WordPress site to a new hosting provider with these simple steps

1. Introduction: The Web Hosting Conundrum 🌐

Choosing the right web hosting provider is like finding a trusty sidekick for your WordPress site. It’s the foundation that keeps your site up and running, so it’s crucial to pick one that aligns with your needs.

But sometimes, it’s time to switch things up. Maybe your current provider isn’t giving you the performance you crave, or perhaps their support team leaves you hanging. Whatever the reason, changing web hosting can be a daunting task.

Fear not, intrepid site owner! This step-by-step guide will hold your hand through the process, making it as smooth as a river flowing into a tranquil lake.

how to change web hosting wordpress

© Photographer Tobias Dziuba

Choosing a New Web Hosting Provider 🌐

When it comes to choosing a new web hosting provider for your WordPress site, it’s like finding a new home for your digital baby. You want a place that’s reliable, supportive, and has the right features to help your site thrive.

Consider factors like performance (how fast your site loads), reliability (how often it’s up and running), and support (who you can turn to when things go wrong). Research different providers, read reviews, and compare their offerings to find the one that best suits your needs. Remember, it’s not just about the price tag; it’s about finding the right fit for your site’s specific requirements.


3. Setting Up a Staging Site (Optional)

Before making any changes to your live site, it’s a good idea to create a staging site. This is a copy of your live site where you can test changes without affecting your visitors. It’s like having a safe space to experiment before you make any big moves!

Creating a staging site is a bit more involved than the other steps, but it’s worth it if you want to minimize the risk of breaking your live site. Here’s a quick overview of how to do it:

  1. Create a subdomain: You’ll need to create a subdomain for your staging site, such as
  2. Install WordPress: Install WordPress on your subdomain.
  3. Clone your live site: Use a plugin like Duplicator to clone your live site to your staging site.
  4. Test your changes: Make any changes you want to your staging site and test them thoroughly.
  5. Push changes to live site: Once you’re happy with the changes, you can push them to your live site.

Setting up a staging site is a great way to ensure that your migration goes smoothly. It’s like having a safety net in place, giving you peace of mind and the freedom to experiment without fear of breaking your live site.

SECTION FOUR: Exporting Your WordPress Site 🌐

4. Downloading the XML File 📥

Once you’ve exported your WordPress site, you’ll have an XML file containing all your content, settings, and media. This file is like a digital blueprint of your site, ready to be imported into your new hosting home.

To download the XML file:

  • Click on the “Download Export File” button.
  • Save the file to your computer in a safe location.

Now you’ve got a portable copy of your WordPress site, ready to embark on its new hosting adventure! 🗺️

FIVE. Importing Your WordPress Site

5. Give Your Site a New Home

Now, it’s time to bring your WordPress site to its new home. Just like moving into a new apartment, you’ll need to set up a few things first.

  • Create a Database: On your new hosting provider, create a new database for your WordPress site. It’s like a virtual filing cabinet where your site’s content will live.
  • Import the XML File: Use the WordPress import tool to upload the XML file you downloaded earlier. This is like unpacking all your boxes and putting everything in its place.


Updating DNS Settings 🌐

DNS, or Domain Name System, is like the address book of the internet. It translates human-readable domain names (like “”) into machine-readable IP addresses (like “”). When you change web hosting, you need to update your DNS settings to point to the new server.

Changing Nameservers 🔩

Your domain registrar (the company you bought your domain name from) will have a control panel where you can manage your DNS settings. Look for a section called “Nameservers” or “DNS Management.” You’ll need to replace the existing nameservers with the ones provided by your new hosting provider.

Propagating Changes ⌛

Once you’ve updated your nameservers, it takes some time for the changes to propagate throughout the internet. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on your registrar and the DNS settings.


  • Make sure you update your DNS settings accurately, or your site won’t be accessible.
  • Be patient while the changes propagate. Your site may not be immediately available after updating the nameservers.

7. Testing Your Site 🌐

“The proof is in the pudding!” Once you’ve migrated your site, it’s time to give it a whirl. Visit your site and navigate around to make sure everything’s working as it should. Check for any errors or broken links. It’s like giving your car a test drive after a tune-up! 🚗

Optimizing Your Site for the New Hosting 🏠

Once your site is up and running on the new hosting, it’s time to give it a little TLC to make sure it’s performing at its best. Think of it like moving into a new house – you want to unpack, arrange the furniture, and make it your own.

Start by updating your plugins and themes to ensure compatibility with the new hosting environment. Just like software updates on your phone, these updates can fix bugs, improve performance, and enhance security.

Next, consider installing caching plugins to speed up your site’s loading time. Caching is like having a shortcut to your favorite websites – it stores frequently accessed data so that it can be retrieved quickly when needed.

Finally, don’t forget to configure security settings to protect your site from potential threats. Think of it as putting locks on your new home – you want to keep the bad guys out!

Troubleshooting Common Issues 🔧

9. Dealing with Image Upload Issues 🖼️

If you’re having trouble uploading images to your WordPress site after the migration, it’s likely due to file permissions. Make sure the “uploads” folder and its subfolders have the correct permissions set. Typically, they should be set to 755 for folders and 644 for files.

You can use an FTP client or the File Manager in your hosting control panel to change the permissions. Just right-click on the folder or file, select “Properties,” and adjust the permissions accordingly.

Here’s a quick checklist to help you troubleshoot image upload issues:

  • Check the file permissions of the “uploads” folder and its subfolders.
  • Make sure your server meets the minimum PHP requirements for WordPress.
  • Check your PHP memory limit. It should be set to at least 64MB.
  • Disable any security plugins that may be blocking image uploads.
  • Contact your hosting provider for assistance if you’re still having issues.


🎉 Congratulations! 🎉 You’ve successfully navigated the journey of changing web hosting for your WordPress site. Just like moving to a new home, it can be a bit of a hassle, but the rewards are worth it.

Remember, the key to a seamless migration is preparation and planning. 📝 Back up your site regularly, gather your credentials, and set up a staging site if you can. By following these steps and staying vigilant, you’ll ensure a smooth transition and minimize downtime.

Don’t forget to give your site a little TLC after the move. Update your plugins, install caching plugins, and configure security settings to optimize performance and protect your site.

As you settle into your new hosting home, keep an eye on your site’s performance and make adjustments as needed. Just like a well-maintained home, a well-maintained website will serve you well for years to come. 🏠

About David Damstra

Business Leader and Business Developer, Project Manager and Full Stack Developer & Designer Creative Director, Brand Guardian, Minister of Company Culture Co-Author of Professional WordPress. Currently in Third Edition. Seasoned web developer using practical technology to rapidly create standards compliant dynamic websites. Experienced with web development, software development and systems and network management and consulting.