WordPress Migration? Why?

WordPress is the easiest way to create a website or blog. Migrating your site from one web host to another? Not so much.

An adequate migration will ensure that your website faces zero downtime. All links must remain working correctly on completion of migration procedure. No data must be lost. Automating WordPress migration is the best way to make sure that your site will be up and running quickly.

Moving your WordPress site on your own is a very tedious choice, since there are many steps that must be finished to enable an effective migration. If by any chance, you commit any error at any stage, you can end up with a fatally damaged site.

WordPress Migration Plugins

On the other hand, using a migration plugin is definitely a reasonable choice. Plugins are just so much easier to use. Most of them perform the required task without the manual migrations involved. Migration plugins are simpler to configure. In this way, WordPress migration plugins make WordPress website migration a better experience, overall.

Four WordPress Migration plugins have been put to the test. These are:

  1. Duplicator
  2. All-in-One WP Migration
  3. WP Migrate DB
  4. Migrate Guru

 

Duplicator

duplicator wordpres plugin

Duplicator plugin helps WordPress users to migrate, copy, move or clone a site from one location to another.

Duplicator creates a package that bundles all the site’s plugins, themes, content, database and WordPress files into a simple zip file called a package. This package can then be used to easily migrate a WordPress site to any location you wish.

backup a wordpress website

Characteristics:

  • Integrated transfer to cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Amazon S3 available
  • Filter only the directories, files, extensions and database tables you want to backup
  • Handles both serialized and base64 serialized string replacement.
  • Multithreaded for better functionality with large websites and databases
  • Database creation built into installer
  • You can connect to cPanel directly from installer
  • Additional developer support.

Benefits:

  • You can move on the same server, across servers or any location where a WordPress site can be hosted.
  • WordPress is not required for installation since the package contains all site files.
  • As installer handles database creation you do not need to create database at destination manually.
  • Duplicator lets you know the progress of the migration process, via emails, if not real time.
  • It pulls down a source site to localhost for development.
  • You can bundle up an entire WordPress site for easy reuse or distribution.
  • There are no messy import or export sql scripts.

Disadvantages:

  • It is a very hands on plugin, i.e. you need technical skills to upload the files via FTP.
  • You have to perform at least 12 steps involving processes like creating a package and filling up a form to get the URLs updated on your own.
  • Duplicator relies on your source site server, to move your site. Depending on your server resources and the size of your site, this process could prove fatal, even before the migration is complete.
  • There is a limit on the site size unless you purchase an expensive $119 or more plan. Similarly, the majority of the features are accessible only via these plans.
  • Since Duplicator uploads the archive file to your destination in chunks, there is no assurance that it can completely migrate a large WordPress site where some data might go missing.
  • Duplicator is a paid plugin. The more expensive Pro versions have majority of the features, so you cannot try them out for free.

Pricing: Free. The pro version starts from $39.

You can install Duplicator from here.

All-in-One WP Migration

all-in-one migration wordpress plugin

All-in-One Migration plugin exports your WordPress website. This includes database, media files, plugins and themes. Technical knowledge is not required for this plugin to be used.

You can upload your site to a different location with a drag and drop into WordPress.

There is an option to apply an unlimited number of find and replace operations on your database during the export process. The plugin will also fix any serialisation problems that occur during the Find Replace operation.

migrate a wordpress website

Characteristics:

  • It is the first plugin to offer true mobile experience on WordPress versions 3.3 and up.
  • No limitations on host or Operating System.
  • Constrained with upload size restrictions.
  • Zero dependencies.
  • The plugin supports MySQL and MySQLi.
  • You can migrate parts of a multisite to single sites.

Benefits:

  • The export compatibility is good for all major Cloud services like S3, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and Onedrive
  • The plugin does not have any dependencies, making it compatible with all PHP hosting providers
  • While it might be constrictive due to the price, the process is very easy.

Disadvantages:

  • It is a hands-on product that requires setup and configuration. Migrating a site requires you to export a copy of it first, and then you must import it to your destination.
  • You have to know your source and destination site path so as to perform Find and Replace functions. Selecting strings to replace is sometimes not easy for all users
  • All-in-One Migration plugin makes the use of your source site’s resources to move the copy to the new destination. Depending on your server resources and the size of your site, this process could make your site malfunction even before the migration is complete.
  • For larger sites, i.e. sites more than 512MB, you have to use the paid version.
  • WordPress must be installed on the source and destination server.

Pricing: Free. Extensions are paid, starts from $69.

You can install All-in-One WP Migration from here.

WP Migrate DB

wp db migrate wordpress plugin

WP Migrate DB allows you to copy your database from one WordPress, and install to another in your dashboard. It’s a useful plugin for syncing a local development database with a site.

This plugin is for those developers who build client sites locally.

As well as handling content, widgets, and menus to a new site’s URL and it can handle serialised data.

Characteristics:

  • WP Migrate DB can be used for migrating the database when moving sites between servers, or when you are ready to launch a site and move the database from your local environment to the source server.
  • WP Migrate DB has three main functions. You can export your database, pull your database from a location, and push your database to a different location.
  • This plugin is constantly being updated and getting help is very simple, with the support team.
  • With the option to pause or resume and cancel your migration while it’s running, you are in complete control of your website migration
  • WP Migrate DB also allows you to exclude certain post types from the backup according to your preferences.

Benefits:

  • You can backup your website before running a migration and your database will first be backed up before running the migration and replacing it.
  • WP Migrate DB detects serialized data and runs a special Find and Replace on it to ensure that the data is not corrupted.
  • With WP Migrate DB installed on both sites, you can simply pull the source database down and replace your local database, even if your local database isn’t publicly accessible.

Disadvantages:

  • WP Migrate DB is a very hands-on product that needs you set it up and configure it. Moreover, it only creates a copy of your site’s database, while importing it is left up to you.
  • It creates backup of database on source site but you are left to handle it. In the free version, it does not move other files – only the database.
  • Even in the paid versions, To import the file which contains all of your data, you need to use a third-party database management tool like phpMyAdmin. This might be a hard thing for many who are not as experienced in WordPress related procedures.
  • You need a Pro account to gain access to most of the added features, like being able to push and pull your databases, exclude useless data and save migration profiles.
  • You will have only limited site(s) within WP Migrate DB, unless you go for the more expensive options.

Pricing: Free. Pro version starts from $99

You can install WP Migrate DB from here.

Migrate Guru

migrate guru wordpress plugin

Migrate Guru is extremely easy to use and just eliminates a huge chunk of the manual steps in a flash. Migrate Guru is from the creators of BlogVault, the trusty backup plugin that took the world up by storm five years ago. In fact, the Migrate Guru plugin was built using BlogVault insights from over 500,000 successful migrations. It has an outstanding success rate as well.

Migrate Guru user Jim Carroll who says,”(As a global futurist,) I’m often moving my websites on various platforms. I’ve used Migrate Guru to do this of late, and I gotta say — it just works, is easy, and does a site migration completely, without errors or fuss. The migrated site was a perfect clone of the original site!”

migrate wordpress website

Characteristics:

  • It has a three step – one click migration model.
  • The plugin contacts Migrate Guru servers, and uses those server resources to move a copy of your site to the destination you choose due to which, your servers are not used at all.
  • With Migrate Guru, you can move your WordPress site to any destination host in the world, without any issues whatsoever. You need your destination’s cPanel or FTP details.
  • It supports seamless multi-site network migration
  • Capable of handling large sites; even migrations of sites even larger than 200 GB are a breeze with Migrate Guru.
  • No technical expertise needed at all! Migrate Guru helps you migrate your site, you just need your destination site details. Simply input these in the plugin form, and click Migrate.
  • It makes the use of off-site servers, i.e. it copies the site to be migrated onto its own servers and uses the resources on these servers to move the site. This eliminates possibilities of any mishaps and puts WordPress migration just one click away; essentially it is the dream.
  • It needs to be installed only on the source site. Installation on destination site is not necessary.
  • Compatible with all web hosts such as WP Engine, Flywheel, Pantheon, Liquid Web, and many others.

Benefits:

  • The migration process is fully automatic.
  • Migrate Guru is a very speedy plugin. It claims to be 80% faster than other migration solutions.
  • No storage space required. Migrate Guru resources are used, so that yours are not depleted.
  • Similarly, no overload on site since Migrate Guru servers are used for all the processes.
  • If you have an eCommerce site or even a multimedia heavy site, you can migrate any site of any size with this migration plugin.
  • Multisite installations are easily possible in the plugin and do not require add ons.
  • Most of the other plugins need to be installed on both ends of the migration. When you use Migrate Guru, you need to install it only on the source site.
  • You’re notified on the progress of the migration through email alerts, and a real-time migration progress screen.

Disadvantages:

  • Unfortunately, only 5 site migrations per month are possible as of now.
  • Migration of a site to a subdivision of a multisite network is not possible.

Pricing: Free!

You can download Migrate Guru from here.

Comparison chart

This table will give you an overview of all that you’ve learnt about all the WordPress migration plugins above:

Migrate Guru

All-in-One WP Migration

Duplicator

WP Migrate DB

Automatic or Manual MigrationAutomatic One click migrationManual work requiredManual work requiredManual work required
Minimum No. of Steps RequiredThree steps onlyAt least Twelve stepsAt least Twelve stepsFive steps
Crash Proof MigrationAbsolutely crash proofDepends on source site serverDepends on source site serverDepends on source site server
Source Server UsageUser servers are not used at all.HighHighHigh
Technical knowledge required No. Truly meant for anyone with minimum tech expertiseYes. It requires above average technical skill.Yes. Comes with a disclaimer that it needs technical expertise.Yes. Mid-level technical knowledge makes it easier to use.
To and from any Web Host Yes. Can migrate to any host in the worldYes. Over 25 web hosts compatible.No. Only a few popular ones can be used.Unknown
Real time or Email AlertsYes. Both features are conveniently available.No.Email alerts are possible only in pro versions.No.
Real time Progress Display   Yes. Access real-time progress page at any time.No.Yes, with pro versions onlyNo.
Zero Downtime Migrations  Yes. Guaranteed because of off site server usage.NoNoNo
Manual Find and Replace in databaseNo. Migrate Guru handles string functions.Yes. User has to select string to be replacedYes. User has to select string to be replacedYes. User has to select string to be replaced
Manual package/

zip upload

No. Migrate Guru can handle packaging and upload.Yes. User has to manually import FTP packageYes. User has to manually import FTP packageYes. User has to select the cloud services to upload.
Multi-site network migration supportYes. FreeOnly with paid versionFor better multisite migration, paid plan is recommendedOnly with paid version
Average Migration Time<12 minutes

(for 500 MB)

Few HoursFew HoursFew hours
Site Size capacityNo limit. Even >200 GBLimited to 512 MB for free version.LimitedUnknown
CostFree. Always and forever.Free/ Starts from $59Starts from $39Starts from $99

 

Results

Duplicator requires some high level technical expertise, so you need to be confident about your technical skills. 10% to 20% chance of failure might be scary though. All-in-One WP Migration claims mobile friendliness but it is available as a premium account only. The same regarding the paid premium features goes for WP Migrate DB.

Migrate Guru, however, is the new kid on the block. It is free and comes from the reliable folks who created BlogVault, which in itself is popular backup plugin garnering a lot of acclaim since the past 5 years. It ticks all the requirements boxes spectacularly well.

That said, one of these plugins may suit you over than the others depending on your technical knowledge and precise needs.

Have chosen your WordPress migration plugin to use for now?

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