If you work with WordPress, you must face a website migration challenge at some point. You might have to move or copy to a new domain or change web hosts. Or, if you’ve been developing your or a client’s website on a local server, you’d have to migrate it to a live website server for launching.
This is a delicate process, and doing it manually can be extremely tricky and time-consuming. Even some inexperienced professionals avoid undertaking this assignment for fear of losing some files or data along the way or getting a 404 error. The speed is here important for another reason – the downtime. The shorter the downtime is – the better, as there is less possibility that your users will face an unavailable site.
Luckily, there is a headache-free way of conducting your migration: using a migration plugin. It will simplify the process, especially if you are a WordPress novice.
We are listing below the five best free migration plugins. Pair them up with the WP Reset plugin, which is there to smoothen the procedure and make it more transparent. Voila! – your website’s migration is as effortless and quick as it gets.
Migrate Guru is a fairly new plugin which is completely free. It is applicable to any type of website as long it isn’t larger than 200GB. Additionally, it works with services from all hosting companies.
In short, all you have to do is enter the details and click the “migrate” button. The migration is processed on BlogVault servers – because they are the plugin’s creators – which don’t have import limitations as live servers do. Therefore, the migration is done in one go and without interruptions. In addition, the plugin automatically rewrites URLs, bypasses import-export scripts, and manages specialized data. Most importantly, you won’t have to deal with unpleasant timeouts.
MigrateGuru is great for the migration of big sites, website cloning, and pretty good with multi-site networks. Something you might have trouble with is migration from localhost to live website server or vice versa, as well as migrating sub-sites of a multi-site network.
All-in-One WP Migration
All-in-One WP Migration plugin has a free and a pro version. Still, the chargeless variant is good enough, especially if your website isn’t particularly large.
This plugin migrates everything from media files and databases to themes and plugins. The migration commands are as simple as it gets – you just drag and drop. The process is conducted in chunks of 2MB. This is a way of bypassing size restrictions some web hosting companies set for uploading files. Thus, your website migrates without crashing mid-process. It also has a find & replace feature, which enables you to pinpoint all problems which appeared during the migration and correct them.
All-in-One Migration plugin works with almost all hosting services. Also, it doesn’t require any PHP extensions and works with PHP v5.2 and up. It is functional on major operating systems and cloud services, and compatible with mobile platforms on WP 3.3 and later.
Some problems you may encounter while using it include elements of multi-site migration, as you will need a separate paid extension for conducting this process. And remember – this is not a backup plugin. It focuses solely on fulfilling migration needs.
This migration plugin has both free and premium versions. Duplicator helps you back up, clone, copy, and migrate your website. Also, it manages host to host migration and allows you to pull the website down to localhost for development.
It works by bundling up all plugins, themes, content, database parts, and WordPress files into a zip file. Packaged up like this, your site can easily migrate.
Unlike the previously mentioned plugins, navigating this one requires some technical knowledge. Namely, the details about hosting and database must be imported manually, while large websites need some tweaking before being backed up appropriately.
In addition, the free version does lack some features, such as save to cloud option, email notifications, scheduled backups, and connecting to cPanel.
Hence, although it is pretty simple to use and covers the migration needs of small and medium sites, Duplicator’s free version still isn’t the best solution for large site migrations and WordPress novices. If you fall under one of these groups, you should probably think about some other options.
WPvivid Backup is a free migration plugin that offers an all-encompassing service: backup, restore, and migration.
Regardless of the website’s size, it works in a simple way. First, you make a copy of your website, and then you transfer it to a new host with just one click. It is also available from a staging environment, which is great news for developers. This plugin also gives you control over what migrates – the whole website, the files, or the database.
Additionally, WPvivid Backup allows you to migrate your website to a subdirectory, domain to domain, developing environment to a new server or domain, or live server to another.
Several additional features include scheduled backups, one-click site restore options, and saving a copy and storing it offline on Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.
WP Staging is another migration and cloning plugin that has a free and a premium version. However, unlike the previous free plugin versions on this list, this one is quite limited in features.
The migration process is truly quick, and you will get an exact copy of your website for development or staging. This clone, together with an entire copy of the database, will be stored in a subfolder in your WordPress installation.
All copying processes are done in the background and copied, and migrated data will stay on your server. Small hosting servers can also support this plugin, and you shouldn’t expect any downtime, even with large websites.
Still, for any other more complex task, you’ll need to invest in the pro version. So, picking a different database and directory for cloning, or pushing or pulling form a staging website is not included in the basic service.
All in all, if you need more functions in an unpaid migration plugin, you should probably pick some of the more comprehensive options.
If you’re looking to cut at least some of your business expenses by going for a charge-free WordPress migration tool, these are some of your best choices. Narrowing down the selection is up to you, your needs, and your tech abilities. Consider the advice we have shared with you, and you should be able to make a wise choice, which should smoothen this delicate part of your website management process.