How to move a Drupal website from one host to another

A guide on how to move a Drupal website from one host to another

Changing a web host is a task that any website owner may face sooner or later. In the world of lucrative hosting options with different pricing packages — shared, VPS, dedicated hosting, and so on — this is not surprising. A transfer to a new hosting server is among the most popular DevOps services. Today, we review the steps to move a Drupal website to another host.

When do you need to move a Drupal site to a new host?

Many customers want to move to another hosting provider (Acquia, Pantheon, GoDaddy, ABC, Digital Ocean, and many others), Linux or Windows servers, etc.

They often decide to transfer their website to a new host as a way to increase their website’s loading speed. They know that slow website speed can cost them money. Another disaster — repeated downtime — is a total reputation, conversion, and customer satisfaction killer.

The idea to migrate a Drupal site from one host to another is also often associated with expensive and non-flexible hosting packages, poor customer service, lack of web security, and other common hosting issues.

Because of this, customers often ask experts about the steps to move a Drupal website to another host. Well, of course, the task to migrate Drupal to another server should be performed by a technical expert, but we will also share the steps in our post.

Low-cost support services for moving to another host

By coming to this page, you are doubly lucky.

  1. First, our website support team can smoothly move a Drupal site to a new server, so you don’t have to worry about anything. Our priority today is to provide website owners with low-cost support services so we can relieve them of their issues and help their businesses fight the crisis and move forward by enhancing their digital presence.
  2. Second, you can also opt for our hosting services with flexible packages. They vary according to the amount of resources and fit every wallet — drop us a line to learn more. KVM technology, regular backups, uptime monitoring, free SSL certificates and handy remote control via cPanel are just some of the reasons to move to our hosting.

How to move a Drupal website to another host?

Remember a site transfer can be available to you with just one magic button (“Contact us”)! But if you want to know how it's done, we'll describe the steps to move a Drupal site from one server to another.

Roughly speaking, to move a Drupal site to another hosting server, you need to:

  • move the site’s files
  • move the site’s database
  • change a few settings

There are options for how to export a Drupal site to another server. Many developers also like using the Backup and Migrate module for this task. Here we will describe one of the options to move your site that uses phpMyAdmin and FTP, which is available with most hosting providers.

1. Turn the caching off

It is first recommended to turn off Drupal caching in order to avoid potential issues. On your Drupal 8 admin dashboard, click Configuration — Performance — Caching and select “No caching.” You should also uncheck the "Aggregate CSS files" and "Aggregate JavaScript files" in "Bandwidth optimization" and finally hit “clear all caches.”

2. Export your Drupal files

Prepare a folder on your local machine where you will put the files. Connect to your remote server via FTP, for which you will need to download an FTP program like FileZilla. Enter the connection credentials, then hit the QuickConnect button to connect to your remote server that hosts your site.

There you will see your main site’s folder. Download or drag-and-drop the folder’s contents to your local machine. Mind the name and the place of your local backup folder.

export your drupal files

3. Export your Drupal database

On your server’s control panel, go to the phpMyAdmin in the Databases section. Find your Drupal site’s database by name, click “Check all” for its entries, and then “Export” on top of the page. Choose the Export method and the SQL format.

4. Import your database to the new host

Now it’s time to restore your site on the new hosting from the backup. First, make a new MySQL database (in the "MySQL databases" section) on your target server in order to import your database backup there. Take a note of the “database,” “username,” “password,” and “host” — you'll need soon.

To make the import, open your new database, click "Import" at the top, click "Choose file," select your previously exported database, and hit “Go.”

5. Configure the settings.php

Now open your backup of your site’s files and folders made in step 2. Go to the /sites/default/ folder and open settings.php file. Find the lines for the “database,” “username,” “password,” and “host” and write the new ones there.

6. Import your files to the new host

Now it’s time to upload your site’s files from the backup to your target server. Again, this can be done via an FTP client. Connect there and find your site’s public folder. Open your backup folder and upload the contents to the public folder on the target server.

7. Configure the permissions

Give the “read only” permission to your settings.php for security reasons. Go to the settings.php file in the defaults folder via the FileZilla, right-click the file, select its permissions, and enter “444.”

Configure the permissions

8. Change the DNS settings

It’s now time to show your new hosting to your website’s domain. For this purpose, you need to update the domain's nameservers (the DNS “A” Record) using the control panel. Point your domain name to the new IP address. You will need to contact the new host and domain registrar.

9. Turn the caching back on

It may take some time for the nameservers to get updated and then do not forget to visit the Configuration — Performance of your Drupal admin dashboard and enable the caching again that you disabled in the beginning.

Congrats, the mission to move a site to another server should now be complete!

Let us help you move your Drupal site to another host at an affordable price

The above has been a brief guide of how to migrate a Drupal site to a new server. Considering a variety of possible accompanying issues, it’s clear that the steps are best entrusted to a technical expert.

Ask our Drupal experts to help you transfer a Drupal site to a new server successfully. You may also choose to move specifically to our hosting. Contact us with any questions, considerations, doubts, and ideas. We are ready to give your business a new boost!


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